Re-Imagining Benchmarking as Stewards of Place: Identifying Peers in the Context of Communities
What constitutes a “peer” for institutions that consider themselves to be Stewards of Place and who want to understand their impacts within the context of their community partnerships? This concept paper introduces the idea of Placemarking, which radically reorients the institution as a member of the communities it serves rather than identifying it as a separate entity beyond the boundaries of its community. It enhances traditional benchmarking methodologies and metrics (e.g., IPEDS) to also include the community context in which institutions reside (socioeconomic and demographic indicators) as well as how institutions work in partnership with their communities (e.g., its people, organizations, issues, and assets). Placemarking allows institutions to better align their identity and image, advocate on behalf of both institutional and community priorities, and foster collaborative planning.