Document Type

Closed Project

Publication Date

Fall 2003


Timothy Anderson

Course Title

Operations Research

Course Number

EMGT 540/640


Everyone knows the expression "bang for the (or your) buck," a Google search for those phrases yields over a quarter of a million hits. It means, of course, to increase (or even maximize) the return you get for an investment—loosely used, it can mean any kind of investment, even one not strictly monetary like time or energy.

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the analytical technique known as Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) can be used to determine how much bang for the buck a university is getting for investments in its programs, whether these are individual departments, schools or colleges, co-curricular activities—anything at all. In particular, we are interested in the applicability to Portland State University (PSU), and its participation in a process call course redesign. This interest arises both out of our participation in the Operations Research class and, in two of our cases, out of personal and professional research interests. A further contributing factor to this choice of topic is Dr. Anderson's appointment to serve as PSU's Faculty- in-Residence for technology. The redesign model used is one propounded by the Center for Academic Transformation (CAT), established in 1999 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts.


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