Creativity Index

Profile of a Campus Project

A research project to profile the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

About the Project

The Profile of a Campus Project is a research experiment to examine ways in which an academic institution can be profiled through a variety of techniques and data sources. The proper selection, preparation, processing, and unification of these data sources allows a comprehensive picture of a university campus to be painted, enabling administrators and scholars alike to explore the complex interrelationships inherent in the academic microcosm.

This project was a student research project by Kalev Leetaru, as a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, designed to test the application of different techniques and theories to the academic environment and some of the methodologies and data sources it employs may introduce specific biases or data accuracy issues. The results presented in this report are NOT ACTIONABLE DATA and should be considered only as suggestions of actual patterns in the data that should be explored further. Some datasets are used outside the scope of their intial creation and the accuracy levels within the data may affect the results presented here. In particular, this is an ongoing research project, and the findings presented here represent only the initial stage of that project. This site has been produced so that the findings of this project may be readily dissiminated as a means of discussion and ongoing refinement of the techniques and data used.

While the current results of this project are are strictly in the "initial research" stage and are not yet "actionable," many of the goals of this project fall within the scope of current University Strategic Planning activities. The driving force of this project is to offer insights into possible avenues for exploring an academic institution in such a process and to assist in the exploration of possible areas of shared interest on campus and promote interdisciplinary collaboration. It is hoped that campus may choose to offer additional support for this project, such as access to additional data sources. Please contact the author at with questions, comments, and suggestions regarding this report.

The Profile of a Campus report is broken into a number of "focus sections" that provide in-depth reporting on a specific area of interest. Please read the Project Methodology section for more information about the accuracy and potential biases of each section.

Insights on Units

Insights on Units is an in-depth profile of each unit on campus, providing information on physical dispersion of employees, titles, appointments, and related and correlating units. Direct links are also provided to a unit's Inside Campus, Focus on Engineering, Emphasis on Education, and Campus Concept Network profiles, summarizing all available information on that unit in a single page. Campus-wide statistics on cross-appointments are also provided.

Focus on Engineering

Focus on Engineering uses the College of Engineering Research Summaries (courtesy of the College of Engineering) from reporting years 2001-2004 to provide an extremely detailed examination of the research, education, and faculty of the College. Indicators such as the top categories of journal articles, top conferences, and top faculty awards are provided in both College-wide totals and individual departmental rankings. To assist with the nuanced task of examining relationships between departments, a number of metrics are provided, including coauthorship of journal articles, coattendance at conferences, shared research sponsors, and coadvising. The incredible richness of the COE Research Summary offers an unparalleled source of information for examining unit relationships and presents a model that other campus colleges should consider following.

Emphasis on Education

Emphasis on Education uses the NCES IPES and HEGIS graduation datasets to profile the University's educational fabric from internal and external standpoints. Individual instructional lines and line groups may be traced across a 40-year period, with indicators such as graduate and undergraduate gender, race breakdowns, and percentage of minority students available. Two cohorts, Size and Carnegie Classification, are used to create peer groups for comparision in numerous categories. A special profile section is included on foreign students enrolled at the UIUC campus. For the most recent year, a ranked list of all lines awarded under by UIUC is provided by category (such a total female graduate students or percent minority undergraduates), along with comparative tables for UIUC's peer groups. Finally, a ranked list of all lines under which UIUC awarded degrees each year from 1966 to 2004 is provided to show overall trends in the core competencies of the University through time.

Quick Graphs

Quick Graphs offer an at-a-glance view of the performance of each academic unit against the campus 10-year median in 28 different categories.

Inside Campus

Inside Campus examines campus from financial, educational, operations, and many other standpoints, using data courtesy of the Division of Management Information. This section covers 244 campus units across 440 indicators with 9 years of reporting data. Yearly totals and medians are computed for all indicators and all units are ranked across all indicators in all years, allowing users to examine which departments have ranked highest and lowest in a given indicator across all reporting years.

Campus Concept Network

Campus Concept Network is an experimental project to mine the Web presence of the University to explore ways in which this traditionally untapped data source can be used as a profiling mechanism and help suggest shared research areas as possible avenues for cross-campus collaboration. The initial stage of this project involved crawling the top 100 most popular pages from the 307 units with web sites listed by the Division of Management Information, of which one or more pages were successfully downloaded from 272 sites. These pages were processed using computer text mining techniques to extract a list of names and concepts on all pages. The resulting list of 109,253 unique names and concepts were used to construct a single massive "connectivity network" with 637,971 links relating units on campus through shared names and concepts.

This is an ongoing research project, and we would love to hear your questions, suggestions, and comments on this work. Please contact Kalev Leetaru.