Stanford University belongs to two major data-sharing consortia, COFHE and AAUDE. In this issue, I’ll describe AAUDE and talk about what AAUDE has to offer. COFHE will be covered in a later issue of the newsletter.
The Association of American Universities Data Exchange – also known as AAUDE (pronounced like Audi, the car) – was organized in January 1974 by the institutional research officers of a handful of public AAU institutions. AAUDE is comprised of AAU institutions that want to participate in the exchange of data and information to support decision-making at their respective institutions. Today, AAUDE encompasses all 61 AAU institutions with the exception of the University of Chicago, but they may join soon.
The primary purpose of AAUDE is the annual exchange of data/information agreed upon by institutional representatives. These representatives, typically Institutional Researchers, work closely together to gather data that is consistent across the many varied universities in the AAU. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to get 60 universities to agree upon what “enrollment” means.
AAUDE has a great website, http://www.pb.uillinois.edu/aaude. The public section is available to anyone, and it has a restricted section for members only. The public section includes a range of information including public reports on topics from gender equity to economic impact and compilations of links to financial reports, fact books, etc. at AAUDE institutions.
A strength of AAUDE is that it maintains a secure data warehouse that is housed at and administered by staff at MIT. The data, which can be accessed by a variety of query tools, includes a wide range of content including salaries, enrollments, faculty counts, research expenditures, university finances, and teaching activity. The structure of the warehouse allows users to relate data by institution, year, and, in some cases, discipline.
AAUDE has also built a ReportMart1-like interface that allows easier access to the data and the ability to provide access to selected information to a wider range of people.
If you receive the External Statistics Book each year, you will notice that some of the tables are sourced from data collected by AAUDE. DSS also distributes a yearly report entitled “Current Developments Summary for AAU Institutions”. This report is composed entirely of AAUDE data, including tuition, fundraising campaigns, enrollment, total compensation, endowments, and computing systems. This report also contains summaries of current events on campuses. Stanford’s Deans and Vice-Presidents receive these reports each year in late spring. AAUDE data has also been very useful for gender equity studies for faculty, faculty salary studies, and comparisons of graduate student stipends.
One strength of AAUDE is also a weakness—it is self-run. While being self-run means it has very low overhead (it only costs Stanford $3000 per year to belong), it also means that there is no “watchdog” to prod universities into submitting their data on time. So sometimes we need to wait longer than we would like for a peer school to submit their data. While we are always trying to improve “participation”, the voluntary nature of data submission means working with AAUDE data can require patience! Keep AAUDE in mind if you need comparative data for research universities.