How do we measure performance? How do we report it? For universities, performance can be measured in a variety of ways - the number of students enrolled, the number of graduates, theses completions, research grant funding obtained, research outputs in the form of publications, prestige attained by staff and the institution as a whole, and reputation. Some of these performance measures are easily quantifiable, others less so, e.g. prestige and reputation. And of course performance measurement regimes change with time, such that what was considered an appropriate measure at one time may be deemed no longer relevant or even desirable. For example, publication of conference papers in proceedings is now deemed less desirable than publication in A* journals, largely as a result of issues arising from the ERA process. This changing dynamic could also be said to apply to the current effort in Australia to measure performance in regards to research grants and related published research outputs, arising from the introduction of federally-supported mandates. It is a swiftly changing landscape, requiring transformative thinking and process change. The case of the University of Wollongong and its efforts to implement a new grants reporting and performance management regime may be typical, if not representative.
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