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"I know of no other tool as comprehensive and mission-focused as" CIMA.

— Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., former assistant to the president for mission integration, Benedictine University

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Catholic Identity Mission Assessment project here.


• What is the CIMA program?  • Does the CIMA program rank institutions?
• Why should my institution participate in CIMA?   
• How much does the survey cost?
• What does CIMA measure?
• What is the process to participate?
• Who is CIMA for?
• What is the timeline for the Spring Graduating Student Survey launch?



1. What is the CIMA program?

The project consists of a set of four instruments with benchmarks that assess perceptions about Catholic campus identity by students and alumni at several stages: (1) entering new students; (2) graduating students (3) alumni (recommended for the 5th and 10th years out); and (4) graduate and professional students. Participating institutions also will receive a Principles for Institutional Assessment of Catholic Identity and Mission Achievement Best Practice Guide. The CIMA instruments and the guide will add value in strategic planning and in the accreditation processes.


2. Why should my institution participate in CIMA?

Catholic identity lies at the heart of your institution’s mission. Yet determining how effectively a Catholic college or university conveys that mission can be difficult — and until now, no tools have existed to facilitate that assessment.

The new Catholic Identity Mission Assessment (CIMA) is a tool that will aid senior leadership at Catholic colleges and universities in their efforts to demonstrate mission effectiveness. CIMA focuses on issues unique to Catholic institutions and that closely reflect the unique mission statements of Catholic institutions, and so will be invaluable in your efforts in demonstrating mission effectiveness in your institution’s accreditation process.


3. What does CIMA measure?

No single approach to the Catholic mission is assumed by this project . CIMA allows you to measure what you consider the most vital indicators of your institution’s mission. Assessment topics fall into several categories:

  • Catholic Social Teaching
  • Catholic Intellectual Tradition
  • Moral and Ethical Development
  • Climate for Non-Catholics
  • Inter-religious Dialogue
  • Leadership, Service, and Vocation
  • Religious Beliefs and Values
  • Religious Practices


4. Who is CIMA for?

Presidents, mission officers, administrators, institutional researchers, and faculty will find CIMA a unique tool to help them measure and document institutional commitments to their Catholic mission.


5. Does the CIMA program rank institutions?

CIMA is also not intended to compare individual institutions or aggregated reporting groups to pre-defined standards of Catholicity. Collecting, analyzing, and discussing the evidence are enhanced by a collective effort shared across Catholic higher education. While clearly bringing benefits to individual campuses, the collective nature of this shared effort also entails responsibilities for the participating campuses, including a commitment to uphold the common good while maximizing their own assessment endeavors. CIMA data and reports, therefore, are not intended for comparing individual institutions to one another in any form of ranking. Any use of the data that intentionally or unintentionally presents such comparisons to any audience is unacceptable. The focus on improvement efforts, therefore, should be emphasized in marketing.


6. How much does the survey cost?

The cost for administering the surveys is comparable to other national student surveys, based on full-time equivalent enrollment ranges, as shown in the chart above.  In addition, a consortium fee of $1,000 will be applied when your institutions administers its first CIMA survey, with campuses having the option of spreading this one-time fee over two survey administration periods.

















 7. What is the process to participate?

  1. Click the Register Now button on the ACCU website to pay for the one-time initial consortium fee and download the CIMA Registration Form.

  2. Complete the CIMA Registration Form and submit to ACCU via email to

  3. Receive an invoice from ACCU in order to pay survey fee based on institutional FTE.

  4. Once the registration fees are paid, receive notification from ACCU that registration has been activated, which includes:
           a.      Login instructions to your institution’s CIMA Transaction Directory in Google Drive.
           b.      The IP addresses that will be used to send invitations and reminders.

  5. Login to the Transaction Directory and download the Panel Template for the CIMA survey for which you have registered.

a.      Complete the Participation tab in the Panel Template, carefully following required formats for each field and ensuring that all required fields are completed.

b.      If exercising the Supplemental Questions option, read the Supplemental_Qs_Info tab and complete the Supplemental_Qs tab in the Panel Template.

c.       Read the Panel_Info tab for instructions related to uploading your Panel data.

d.      Upload data to the Panel tab for this population for this survey.

e.      Review Panel tab for completeness and for compliance with applicable requirements. 

             6.     Rename your Panel Template so that the Institution Short Name is in the file name. 

7.     Upload the completed Panel Template to your institution’s Transaction Directory.

8.     Notify the necessary personnel on your campus which IP addresses will be used to send invitations and reminders so that they can ensure that those addresses are not blocked from student email accounts.

9.     If your institution employs any incentives for participation, notify ACCU via e-mail at

10.   Receive confirmation that your Panel Template has been accepted. If there were any loading errors, the primary contact person will be notified by DRC with specifications for which error were triggered.

11.   If submitting the Supplemental Questions, receive confirmation from ACCU that they have been accepted. If there were any problems, the primary contact person will be notified by ACCU as to the nature of the problems.

12.   In the week prior to the initial invitation being sent to students to participate in the survey, conduct a communications campaign with your target population to increase awareness and to encourage participation.

a.       Monitor response rates through your Transaction Directory.

b.      Take additional steps to encourage participation as needed.

13.   Approximately two months after close of the survey, receive notification that your institution’s results have been processed and are available for download.

14.   Login to the Transaction Directory.

a.       Download your data file.

b.      Download your reports.

15.   Refer to the CIMA Data User’s Guide for appropriate uses of your data and for suggestions related to best practices in applying survey results to assessment efforts.


8.  What is the timeline for the Spring Graduating Student Survey launch?

January 15

Registration opens (Sample File and Participation Form open)

March 1

Panels (templates) due to DRC – two weeks before launch

March 15

Earliest survey open date

June 15

Latest survey open date


Reports are processed

August 1

Reports are available for institutions