Institutional research has been defined as “research conducted within an institution of higher education in order to provide information which supports planning, policy formation, and decision making." (1)
Areas of interest and analysis include admissions, financial aid, enrollment management, student outcomes, staffing, student life, finance, facilities, alumni relations and athletics. For the purposes of comparison, data relative to these areas is routinely collected and analyzed from peer institutions.
Data is also collected for the purposes of mandatory and voluntary reporting to agencies including:
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS),
- Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS),
- American Association of University Professors (AAUP),
- Higher Education Research Institute (HERI),
- Tennessee Independent College and University Association (TICUA),
- US News, The Princeton Review, Peterson’s and several other external surveys.
Survey research is conducted and supported including:
- Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s (CIRP) Freshman Survey (each fall)
- CIRP Your First College Year Survey (in the spring)
- CIRP College Senior Survey (in the spring)
- National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) (each year, to freshmen and seniors)
- Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) (to faculty on a periodic basis)
- Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) Alumni Survey
(1) 1Saupe, J. (1981). The Functions of Institutional Research. Tallahassee.