Please note this is an early and partial history written by Joel A. Cohen, Ph. D. (February 8, 2015) and edited by the AJCU-CITM history project team.  Additional information and contributors are welcome.


The senior IT administrators in the AJCU Conference on Information Technology Management (CITM) believed there could be value in sharing data from their campus IT organizations.  Survey items could be used to stimulate discussion at the annual meeting (e.g. list the three most important items that you will face this year).  Some of the IT administrators believed that a comparison with other AJCU institutions might be used to leverage resource improvements on their own campus. Toward the impending Year 2000 and its predicted IT problems, several institutions were purchasing administrative software systems, and a census of what institutions were using for administrative software was useful. Similarly, institutions were implementing different email systems, instructional management systems, and telecommunication systems. It was helpful to know what others were trying, and having this information could lead to subsequent communication and problem solving among AJCU schools.

Joel Cohen recalls that through the AJCU-CITM listserve, there were a number of ad-hoc surveys conducted around specific issues. At some point the CITM group decided to conduct a standardized survey for which Joel became responsible.

The first standardized Benchmarking Survey was completed in 1998. Data were collected via an MS-Word document and entered into Excel. In 1999, at the meeting hosted by Holy Cross, Joel presented a PowerPoint report  and shared detailed data with the respondents.

For a variety of reasons, Joel Cohen had difficulty obtaining or interpreting some responses. In some instances it was difficult to find the right person to complete the survey. At times the difference in budget categories among institutions made response difficult. But typically, there was response from over 20 institutions. The instrument was adopted from the CLAC ( survey that was already being completed by a number of AJCU institutions.

By 2003, Joel Cohen stopped doing the survey, and Bob Clapp from LeMoyne College took it over. After Bob left LeMoyne, a committee was formed chaired by Louise Finn from Loyola Maryland and much of the heavy lifting was completed by Loyola Chicago staff.  One improvement that was made in the early 2000s was the use of web-based survey tools.