Assessing the Efficiency of Canadian Universities – Dr. Leslie J. Wardley

Dr. Leslie J. Wardley, Marketing Professor in CBU’s Shannon School of Business, says she is proud to work at a university with goals that align not only with her research and work experience but also her personal beliefs. “CBU has come to be known as a university that strives to inspire multicultural, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking; personal growth and a passion for lifelong learning, these areas resonated with me,” says Dr. Wardley.
The word research often calls to mind images of labs and test tubes, but CBU educators are conducting research across countless fields. “Business research is traditionally geared to community development through fostering growth and/or improving efficiencies in organizations,” says Dr. Wardley, who has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant of $38,274 for her research, Assessment of Efficiency in Ontario Universities Using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA).
“This project will help to identify strategies for excellence at leading universities that can be utilized by other universities and policymakers,” says Dr. Wardley.
The work, a collaboration with Ryerson University professor, Dr. Hassanzadeh Amin, aims to develop a process that can adequately assess the efficiency of Canadian Universities. The first step is gaining the perspective of university administrators in Ontario as well as federal and provincial policy-makers. Ontario universities currently represent 45 per cent of Canada’s full-time student population.
Capturing these insights will help to identify the most relevant inputs and outputs for universities in Ontario, through DEA, a tactic that Canadian universities have not traditionally used to measure efficiency. This gap in the current literature motivated Dr. Wardley’s research, as she believes key stakeholders would have invaluable insights into the administration of universities.
Some of Dr. Wardley’s other research ventures explore social enterprises and cultural tourism as ways to improve the societal and economic outcomes of various communities. Dr. Wardley says there is no “typical research day” for those conducting research in business and there are always new methods and techniques to explore.
The outcomes of this project will be published in two peer-reviewed international journals, allowing researchers from other provinces and countries to benefit. Dr. Wardley says, “The results will provide a synthesis of information for dissemination to key university, government and community stakeholders across Canada.”
Congratulations, Dr. Wardley!