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
  • 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 across numerous countries to share information.

How does UniForum work?

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

One of the key components is how UniForum 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, Ireland, and then Canada, the services and activities have proven to be fairly consistent, while still allowing for some localization to reflect a country's experience.

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

  • Dalhousie University
  • McMaster University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Toronto
  • York University

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

How long does the data collection process take?

The University of Alberta typically participates in the Service Satisfaction Survey every two years, in November. The survey is conducted in two concurrent parts, and remains open for one month. Staff and faculty that meet certain criteria (for example, that they have been employed at the institution for at least six months) are all eligible to participate in the survey.

The activity data collection phases (examining both professional staff activity and work contracted out to external suppliers) occur concurrently from May to August each year. The University of Alberta typically receives results in December of every year.

How has the UniForum program led to administrative efficiencies at 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 if you have any further questions.

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