Things are only impossible until they’re not.
– Jean-Luc Picard
Volume 73 | Issue 2
March 2005

Association unveils benchmarking database

This month ACUI rolled out a new database that has been several years in the making. ACUInfo is a free, searchable data system containing information on such topics as facilities, programming, human resources, and budgetary data that members can submit online.

ACUInfo was created through a collaborative effort of ACUI volunteers and staff. It provides ACUI members with critical information to assist in making sound management decisions on individual campuses. The data collection tool allows members to provide vital information about their union and activities operations directly into a central database. From there, the data is verified for use by the membership through an online Web interface.

Standard queries are available to benchmark operations against other institutions from across the United States and around the world. Need to know how many square feet a typical union ballroom at a school of your size is? Wondering what the common staffing level for activities is? Seeking information about amounts other institutions set aside for capital improvements? ACUInfo can help. ACUI members will have the ability to use reliable data in making judgments and comparisons to assist with a variety of challenges on individual campuses.

The data collection tool is easy to understand and combines directions, descriptions, and help menus to assist users with data entry. ACUInfo seeks information that is broad in nature, yet pertinent to as many members as possible, as well as being standardized to the greatest extent so that comparisons can be made between “apples and apples.” This standardization will mean that members will occasionally have to make informed decisions about how to best represent the data if they do not fit neatly into the system.

Additionally, members can access standard reports and create and save unique reports. Ratios can be employed to allow for comparison among institutions of different missions, size, and scope. ACUInfo will continue to expand and improve as more institutions enter their information so that eventually it will become members' first resource for benchmarking data.

ACUInfo will continue to serve the college unions and campus activities profession for many years to come as the power of the data exponentially builds over time. Data archived each year can be used to report general trends and even for individual institutions. There is also a possibility of crossing the database with other databases that use the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System.