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Institutional research at EHE

Andy Zircher
May 16, 2019

Data resources are vast at Ohio State and at times daunting to navigate; however, utilizing a broad variety of data sources to generate information is key to guiding decisions that impact the college’s mission and goals. Institutional research (IR) departments play a vital role in decision-making. The key functions of an IR department include identifying information needs; collecting, analyzing and interpreting data; and supporting evaluation and accreditation activities. IR also provides training to build the capacity of information producers, users and consumers of data.

Under Dean Pope-Davis’s leadership, a new IR function has been established in the Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration’s (ORIC) Data Access and Analysis Core (DAAC). As the new IR Manager for the College of EHE, I will be serving as the primary contact for institutional research data and reports. I will be supported in my work by a network of data experts embedded in offices and departments throughout the College of EHE. Working in teams, we will tap into the abilities of EHE’s most skilled and creative data analysts to develop reports, dashboards and research studies which assist the college leadership in guiding us toward the fulfillment of our mission.

What exactly are IR Data? Like academic research, high-quality institutional research begins with important and well-defined research questions. Based on these questions, IR offices work with academic and non-academic offices, departments and data users throughout the organization to identify existing data sources or, if needed, to build new ones to support our College’s information needs. This means that the IR in EHE will be working with data on personnel, programs, processes, finances, facilities, research and the environment. Some of these data are publicly available, but in many cases users and analysts must request permission to obtain access.

IR Data and Reports Across Campus

At Ohio State, the work of institutional research can be observed everywhere. From the Office of the Registrar, to academic program websites, data and information generated by IR professionals is used to tell the story of how education happens on campus. Check out the sites below for some examples.

The University Registrar publishes many of the institution’s critical public-standard reports, including student enrollment, course enrollment and credit hours, degrees conferred, retention and graduation rates, time to degree and admissions reports.

The Office of Institutional Research and Planning coordinates IR activities at the university level, maintains a database and calendar for surveys conducted at Ohio State, and manages several institution-wide surveys. More information is available on the Office of Institutional Research and Planning website.

The IR team supports the work of the Center for the Study of Student Life in the Office of Student Life which hosts an annual Student Affairs Assessment and Research Conference and is responsible for administration of many research projects such as the Graduation Survey and the First-Generation Student Study.

If you are interested in learning more about institutional research and want help in identifying your data needs or want to build your skills with managing data, please contact Andy Zirker or stop by our offices in 341 Ramseyer Hall.

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