Professional Learning Day – Session #5

How Benchmarking is making a difference

Presenter: Louise McDonald, Benchmarking Co-ordinator, Office of Quality Initiatives, Carleton University


At Carleton University, the Finance and Administrative division has a goal of continuously improving our customer services and internal processes to enhance the student experience and achieve our academic mission.  Rather than undertake one-off projects, we have initiated a comprehensive, consistent, long-term and sustainable approach to Quality Improvement through benchmarking. The presentation will focus on outlining how benchmarking can be used as a process improvement tool, and how staff in the Office of Quality Initiatives work with cross-functional teams of managers, staff, faculty, and customers (students) to collect and analyze internal and external data, conduct focus groups, identify benchmarking partner(s) to determine best practices, develop recommendations for change to our existing practices, and establish strategies to implement improvements to the way we deliver services to our customers.  Participants will be invited to share best practices in benchmarking from their institutions.  


 Louise McDonald is the Benchmarking Co-ordinator in the Office of Quality Initiatives (OQI).  She is responsible for planning and executing benchmarking projects for selected processes, policies, or services at the University.  She implemented a model for benchmarking and was responsible for developing the Carleton University Benchmarking Manual which is based on the work of H. James Harrington, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, in The Complete Benchmarking Implementation Guide: Total Benchmarking Management, McGraw-Hill, Toronto, 1996.  Louise has worked on many benchmarking projects and a number of other quality improvement assignments with departments across campus, and helped to establish the OQI in 2004.  She also has extensive experience as a Human Resources professional.