Programs of similar size and structure often provide the best basis for comparison, although OPA recognizes that every program is unique. Internal peers can include departments with which there is similarity in the research culture, teaching methods, governance and administration, service course burden, significant curricular overlap or sharing, or which reside in the same disciplinary group. Data available for the Campus as well as the relevant College and Division are also provided.

In general, external peers can be selected based on rankings or other characteristics (i.e., faculty reputation, research activities or curricular innovation) which may prove valuable for making comparisons used in strategic planning.

Department chairs may wish to confer with their colleagues or OPA before selecting external and internal peers. The use of comparative analysis is intended to determine if trends are relevant to the department only or are broadly based.

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