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Measuring the Unmeasurable in Higher Education: Taking a Page From Health Care


“Measure what can be measured, and make measurable what cannot be measured.”
I recently gave a lecture on “Vision Setting and Strategy” to a mix of middle managers and faculty leaders at the university where I am president. I commented that while setting strategy, it is critical to simultaneously develop metrics, as one cannot improve, certainly not in a planful and deliberate manner, that which cannot be measured.
In short order, I was challenged by a member of our humanities faculty, who argued that we can improve conditions for the better without being able to measure them. He gave critical thinking and civic engagement as examples.
Taking up the challenge, I suggested there are many examples of parameters that initially appear unmeasurable, but with purposeful reflection are found to be measurable … including those in the liberal arts.


Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA

A educator-scientist-executive with over 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, research, and healthcare, Dr. Azziz currently serves as Regents’ Professor, Augusta University; Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Visiting Scholar, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California; and former founding CEO, Georgia Regents Health System.