The Good Practice (GP) project aims at fostering sustainability in the higher education context, characterized by limited public funding, continuous innovation and increased competition. This goal is achieved through a participative research project with a network of universities, which voluntary benchmark the performances of their support services. The research team has developed collaboratively an evaluation model for their support services, which enhances both internal and external accountability.
The project started in 1999 and it is now (2018) at its 14th cycle. In 1999 10 state universities were involved; now 40 state universities are participating voluntarily and self-financing the benchmarking.
The GP project has to date impacted at different levels:
- At the societal level, it has contributed improving the quality of the higher education system, thanks to the diffusion of a measurement-based culture. By leveraging on the importance to measure and discuss best practices, we have contributed supporting the system in deciding where to allocate the limited resources.
- At the university network level, it has stimulated cooperation and dialogue in a highly competitive field, usually characterized by the desire to retain costs information.
- At individual university level, it has fostered internal accountability facilitating universities in identifying feasible target for support services, which have now become an element of attraction for universities.
- At the academic level, the project contributed to improve performance management in universities, covering both the technical aspects (performance indicators and benchmarking) and relational aspects linked to the use of the instruments and the impact on universities performance.