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Ohio University Peer University Study

In 2012, at the request of Ohio University's president and executive vice president & provost, the Office of Institutional Research conducted a study to update the University's set of peer universities.

A list of available data elements to use as selection criteria was developed. The primary sources of these variables were data collected by US News & World Report's annual college rankings survey and the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Seventy-two variables were selected from the following categories:

            US News Peer Assessment

            Freshman Admissions Selectivity

            Retention and Graduation Rates

            Student Experience

            Institutional Finances

            Faculty Salary/Compensation

            Institutional Characteristics

            Student Body Race/Ethnicity

            Tuition & Financial Aid

The president's executive staff and the provost's academic deans leadership group (N=24) were given an opportunity to rate the relative importance of each of the 72 variables on a three-point scale (very important=3, somewhat important=2, not important=1) in winter 2012. The ratings were compiled anonymously and tallied. Response means and frequencies were calculated, and the variables were sorted in order from most important to least important.

The most recently-available data sets on individual universities were obtained from US News and IPEDS. Beginning with the 2011-12 US News data set, National University Tier 1 and Tier 2 public universities (N=172) were identified, along with data collected by US News. Additional IPEDS data for these 172 universities were acquired. Faculty compensation data for the 2011-12 year were obtained from AAUP.

Initially, 21 variables with a high degree of importance were retained. Selection variables were further refined from this list to include six "academic" variables: graduation rate, average ACT score, freshman retention, freshmen in top 10% of high school class, freshman acceptance rate, and undergraduate and graduate FTE.  Lists of universities whose scores were within +/- 1 standard deviation from Ohio University's scores on each of these variables were created and then matched. A normalized academic criterion variable was created by converting each of the six different academic variables to a common scale. The list was then sorted from high to low on this one score, which resulted in an ordinal list of those 28 universities most closely matching Ohio University.

The president's executive staff and the provost's academic deans leadership group reviewed the list and suggested further refinements. The president's executive staff recommended that 10 peers be selected, with five aspirational peers, spread out between more extreme and less extreme aspirational peers, and five peers more similar to, but not below Ohio University. Ten university peers were identified because they matched most closely on as many as possible of  six academic variables, according to the final selection recommendation, to produce a range of actual and aspirational peers.

The data for all of the universities will be updated annually.  If needed, additional measures may be added as they become available to assist the strategic planning effort.



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