Research Project: Measurable Impact of Commissioners on Unit Health and JTE Attainment

In 2014, I conducted a quantitative research project in support of my Doctorate in Commissioner Science in regard to the “Measurable Impact of Unit Commissioners in support of their units’ program effectiveness and their Journey to Excellence (JTE) Attainment

CLICK HERE to download the final Research Report


Even a small amount of time provided in unit service by a Commissioner, directly equates to a quantifiable impact in JTE attainment and overall unit health, as measured by enrollment/retention metrics.  New Commissioners (or potential commissioner candidates) often underestimate their impact due to humility or lack of perceived value creation — particularly when only periodically attending meetings or functions in what is presumed “healthy” unit.  However, the author of this thesis believes that such engagements can be quantifiably measured with the following results:

· Mathematical correlation of Unit and District JTE achievement to commissioner engagement

· Suggested measurement of how little (or much) time is required to help a unit be successful, through the use of quantitative surveys of participation

Research method

The thesis author has vocational experience with developing and analyzing quantitative survey data, and intends to create three interconnected multiple-choice surveys, with 10-20 topical questions per survey:

SURVEY 1 — For one DC/ADC per district: gathering top-line numbers, JTE metrics, qualitative assessment of participation and staff health — along with request for a UC roster

SURVEY 2 — For Unit Commissioners and ADCs directly serving units: gathering anecdotal unit participation measurements, unit assignments, subjective value creation, etc.

SURVEY 3 — For Unit Leaders: to gain current/previous year’s membership measures and JTE ratings, as well as perceived Commissioner participation and subjective value, etc.


It is important to note that individual unit and commissioner responses will NOT be shared, however correlations such as when a UC states their perceived value creation to their units, versus what a unit leader states as received value from their Commissioner, will be mathematically aggregated — particularly when confidential data both sides of a relationship have been gathered.  Each survey will include at least one free form field for anonymous unstructured feedback or other response/suggestion.

The scope of the research findings will be Circle Ten Council (C10), serving the North Texas and southern Oklahoma region – however non-C10 participants will be engaged twice during the process; during survey formation to learn from potential similar research work and during the survey itself. Survey responses from outside the C10 council will be used for comparative discussions of the data, while the report’s findings will be focused on actionable insights within C10 council.

Also notable is that the research is not dependent on a majority of C10 units or Commissioners responding (goal is 20% of Council, with 10% being considered a minimum for data validity).  However, the survey is dependent on DC/ADC (one per district) to reply, in order to provide top level data and initial roster for aggregating down.  Some level of aggregated UVTS data export may also be meaningful during data correlation, at the discretion of Council Commissioner Staff.

Final Thesis Deliverables

The final result of this research will come in three assets:

  • PPT / XLS of aggregated data from the three surveys, with C10 and C10+ variations
  • DOC report summarizing the findings from the C10 data
  • Optional, in-person discussion of findings among Council Commissioners and Thesis Author



  1. Jason Buffington, I am not any kind of computer guru. First time I have ever “subscribed to blog.” Help me when I mess up.


  2. Terry Chapman says:


    would be interested in getting a copy of your Thesis when completed. I am on the faculty at Philmont we are looking for examples to use.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks Terry – will send the report afterwards. Had hoped to finally do PTC this year, but couldn’t make Week-2 (Commissioner Week) work in my schedule this year.

  3. Hey Jason. I admire your commitment to helping BSA via Unit Comms. I was hoping you would correct a couple of errors and omissions. Specifically there is no such unit or member in BSA as a Venture Scout or a Venture Crew. Correctly referred to as Venturer and Venturing Crew. You also omitted the Sea Scouts which are active in your Council. (Ship 1000 especially.) I will complete your survey (as unit leader and Unit comm). Hope that the research is a success. Thank you for volunteering with BSA. Fair winds. Thom Harrison.

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