UniForum Program

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The UniForum program is a benchmarking initiative designed to provide data and information on the effectiveness and efficiency of university support services. Services are organized into functions such as finance, human resources, facilities management, 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, beginning in the autumn of 2018, the University of Alberta (U of A) 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 on an annual basis in a way that allows for comparisons of our results with other member institutions from Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Results are scaled and adjusted for regional differences using numerous metrics, to enable like-to-like evaluations. UniForum was founded in 2009 and has had 61 universities participate in the program (including ten current Canadian members, including the U of A). UniForum is owned and operated by Cubane Consulting.

UniForum results and information help our institution identify what we are doing well, where we can work to improve services, and what we can learn from other institutions. UniForum results have shone a light in areas where the institution previously had no insights into. This gives us a better picture of what is happening on the ground, and has enabled more informed decision-making.


The UniForum program has two primary data collection components. The first is a satisfaction survey, and the second is Activity Data Collection. This second collection collects resource expenditure data from across the university in terms of time and dollars spent on all relevant university services/functions (including both staff activity, and services contracted out to external third parties).

Satisfaction Survey

The satisfaction survey is conducted every two years in two parts run concurrently, typically in November.

The survey:

  • covers a total of 70 services - approximately half of these are covered during each part
  • 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/functions
  • gathers feedback in a structured and consistent manner to help identify improvement opportunities in systems, processes, and people capabilities

Activity Data Collection

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

Completion of this exercise allows us to know, on an annual basis:

  • how much professional services capacity the university employs in-house and how much is outsourced
  • how much these services cost, in both absolute and relative efficiency terms
  • where each activity/service happens or is undertaken

Ultimately, combining information gathered through both components, we can see what we are doing well, areas in which we can work to improve services, and where we can learn from other institutions.

December 2023
U of A Receives Results
January-March 2024
U of A Analyzes Results
April-June 2024
Activity Data Collection
July 2024
U of A Reviews Data
August 2024
Data Submitted to Cubane Consulting
December 2024
U of A Receives Results


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