UniForum Program

Main Quad, North Campus, University of Alberta

The UniForum program is a benchmarking initiative designed specifically for reviewing university support services or functions such as finance, purchasing, human resources, communications, and information technology.


In its institutional strategic plan, For the Public Good, the university committed to encouraging continuous improvement in administrative, governance, planning and stewardship systems, procedures and policies that enable students, faculty, staff, and the institution as a whole to achieve shared strategic goals.

Building on that commitment, the U of A has embarked on a multi-year exercise to better understand our current distribution of administrative services and activities, in support of the university's mission and goals. Through UniForum, we are gathering and analyzing data in a way that allows comparisons of our results with those of other participating universities from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. Ultimately, we expect that the data collected will help our institution to identify what we are doing well, areas in which we can work to improve services, and where we can learn from other institutions.

UniForum is the property of Cubane Consulting (Canada) and has helped more than 50 universities gain deep insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of their support services/functions.

How It Works

The UniForum program has two data collection components that enable our institution to understand how effective and efficient our support services/functions are. The first is a satisfaction survey, and the second is Activity Data Collection—an activity which collects resource expenditure data from across the university in terms of time and dollars spent on these services/functions.

Satisfaction Survey

The satisfaction survey, which is the first part of the exercise, is conducted annually in two phases: one in fall, and another in spring.

The survey:

  • Covers a total of 65 services - approximately half of these are covered during each phase
  • Allows for sector-wide comparisons to be made by service so as to understand the relative performance of each service
  • Is designed to listen to academic and non-academic staff by gauging importance of and satisfaction with support services or functions
  • Gathers feedback in a structured and consistent manner to help identify improvement opportunities in systems, processes and people capabilities

Activity Data Collection

Activity Data Collection occurs annually in spring. This component is designed to capture data on how support services are delivered across the university.

Once this exercise has been completed we will know:

  • How much professional services capacity the university employs in-house, and how much is outsourced
  • How much these services cost
  • Where each activity/service happens or is undertaken

Ultimately, with the combination of information gathered through both of these components, we will be able to see what we are doing well, areas in which we can work to improve services, and where we can learn from other institutions.




For more information, view the FAQ or contact uniforum@ualberta.ca.