Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the UniForum program?

The goals are to help universities:

  • Understand how efficient and effective their support services are;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the underlying, end-to-end processes; and
  • Understand where investments may be required.

What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking studies are widely used to collect and compare information about similar organizations. UniForum offers a unique opportunity for participating universities to share information.

How does UniForum work?

UniForum collects both satisfaction and resource effort data. So for all of the administrative services that we are looking at across the university, it looks at: How satisfied are people with those services? And what are the resources we expend on delivering them?

One of the key things is how it looks at services: it's about the end-to-end service. It's not the evaluation of a particular unit - it's an evaluation of how services are provided across the entire university.

UniForum is an international study. How does it reflect our Canadian experience?

UniForum was designed with and for research-intensive universities in Australia. As it has expanded to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and now Canada, the services and activities have proven to be fairly consistent, allowing for some localization to reflect a country's experience.

In addition to the University of Alberta, other participating universities in Canada include:

  • University of British Columbia
  • McMaster University
  • University of Toronto
  • York University

As our Canadian chapter grows, our participation will continue to inform and expand our collective influence.

How long will the process take?

The University of Alberta first participated in Part I of the Service Satisfaction Survey in November 2018. Part II of the survey will occur in May 2019, followed up by the Activity (June 2019) and Supplier Collections (June to August 2019). It's expected that initial findings following the upcoming collection phases will be received by the University of Alberta by the end of 2019, after which the data will be analyzed internally. Activity and Supplier Activity Coding Collections will occur yearly for at least the next few years, while the Service Effectiveness Surveys will be conducted every two to three years.

How has the UniForum program led to administrative efficiencies within other universities?

UniForum was founded in 2009 and has been running since then in Australia and New Zealand, where universities use the resulting information in different ways depending on their individual circumstances and objectives. Examples of recent outcomes include: programs for the continuous improvement of service delivery; business case support for investment in systems; and upgrading the skills of service delivery teams.

What can I do if I have a question that is not addressed here?

Please send an email to uniforum@ualberta.ca if you have any further questions.

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