Annual Examination of Unit Stability Metrics

Each year the FSBC examines the Unit Stability Metrics of all Units and Flags Units outside the normal distribution.

The FSBC has been charged with examining instructional costs across units with a focus on long-term stability.  The FSBC recognizes that some fields of study are more expensive than others and that simple comparisons across units can be misleading.  Therefore, we examined all the Monitored Metrics provided as part of the proposed Unit Stability Report

The committee examined the distribution of the metrics class size, cost per student credit hour, cost of graduate offerings, the proportion of low-enrolled sections.  Units that fall outside of the normal distribution are flagged for further evaluation.  The criteria identified are (you can access the metrics for your unit directly at

  • When the average lower level course size was below 20;
  • When the average upper level course size was below 15;
  • When the average graduate level course size was below 10;
  • When the percentage increase in cost per student credit hour (SCH) delivered over the past 6 years was in the top 25% of all units at the University;
  • When the cost per (SCH) was more than 15% higher than benchmark units;
  • When the estimated graduate cost per SCH increased by more than 25% over the past 6 years; and
  • When the number of low-enrolled sections was greater than 25% of all sections.

During the process the names of the unit were removed.  The full committee reviewed all of the metrics available for each unit to determine whether or not an outlier in any of the selected metrics might be explained and justified by the larger context. 

cartoon of flag

As a result of this process FSBC identifies two groups of units that warrant further attention. 

  • The first group are units in which the data were not robust enough for FSBC to evaluate,  including new units (lacking enough years of information to properly evaluate), small units (with small sample sizes), or programs within a unit (again with small sample sizes). 
  • The second group are units that in which the metrics fall outside the typical distribution of other units. 

The FSBC provides the Provost’s Office and the Deans with the list of flagged units.  We recognize that there are many reasonable explanations for metrics that fall outside the normal distribution. 

Every unit in the second group will be asked to comment on why its metrics fall outside the norm in the Unit Stability Report and what steps, if necessary, are being taken to address the situation.  Units are encourage to comment on any trend they consider noteworthy regardless of whether or not it was flagged.    

It is our hope that this process initiates a healthy conversation at the college and unit level and that this information is used in the budget allocation process. 

Page last modified February 21, 2020