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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







Assessment Principles



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 fall New Student Survey?


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:

  • 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.

The survey toolkit consists of four different surveys targeted to four different populations:

  • Mission Identity New Student Survey - Runs every fall
  • Mission Identity Graduating Student Survey - Runs every spring
  • Alumni/ae Survey - Will launch in early winter 2021!
  • Graduate and Professional Student Survey - Coming in fall 2022


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?

For the 2021-2022 academic year, ACCU is excited to offer the opportunity to launch CIMA 2.0 surveys at no cost to your institution.  We understand this year continues to be a challenging time for many institutions, and we hope this small gesture will allow your campus to participate without any additional financial stress.  Once you pay the initial, one-time consortium fee, the survey is free to administer on your campus if you launch before August 31, 2021.

During normal times, 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. To administer any of the surveys, your institution must join CIMA. To begin, pay the one-time initial consortium fee.
  2. Then, download the CIMA Registration Form. Complete the form and submit via e-mail to
  3. Once the consortium fee is paid, you will receive notification from ACCU that registration has been activated and all other relevant information needed to get you started.


8.  What is the timeline for the fall New Student Survey?

July - August

Panels (templates) due to DRC – two weeks before open date

July 1

Earliest survey open date

August 31

Latest date to launch for no cost


Survey closes


Reports are processed


Reports are available for institutions