Vision and Voice for Catholic Higher Education      Learn More




"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 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:


  • 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 - Fall 2018

Mission Identity Graduating Student Survey - Spring 2019

Graduate and Professional Student Survey - Fall 2019

Alumni/ae - Fall 2021


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 Pay Your One Time Consortium Fee button on the ACCU website to pay the one-time initial consortium fee and then click the Register Now button to 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 (full-time equivalent) enrollment.
  4. Once the registration fees are 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 launch?

July 1

Registration opens (Sample File and Participation Form open)

July 23

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

August 6

Earliest survey open date

October 17

Latest survey open date


Reports are processed

January 1

Reports are available for institutions