In January 2010, the President charged the Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning to "put the Research back into Institutional Research." The resulting strategic plan enables Institutional Research to forge a five-year plan that identifies short-term and long-term goals in accordance with the office's mission, vision, and values, while maintaining a strong tie to the framework of the University's strategic plan, The Pathway to Success.
With new leadership at all levels, a reduction in staff from eight to four, an increase in federal and state mandatory reporting, and lack of capacity, it was determined that a new course of action and purpose of place needed to be defined and put into action for the office. The plan aims to strengthen Institutional Research's ability to provide university administrators, faculty, and students with meaningful services and information in direct support of the strategic plan and data-driven decision-making.
The Vision, Mission, and Values in this plan provide a pathway toward strengthening and focusing the role of Institutional Research (IR) at ISU, emphasizing a commitment to accumulating data, analysis, and necessary research in a timely, ethical, and efficient manner. Accumulating and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data for campus use and for submission to regional and national accrediting bodies are key components in IR's role on campus.
Institutional Research originally generated general student information and produced general reports. In 1993, the office merged with University Testing, and two years later broadened its services to include special reports, studies, surveys, and profiles. Strategic planning became the office focus in 2001, as the Office of Strategic Planning, Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
To re-establish Institutional Research's role as the official gatekeeper of University data, this plan identifies administrative and academic units already dedicated to general assessment and institutional research. Supporting these campus units allows IR to focus on specific student data and highly valued contemporary and executive-level analyses, reports, and surveys.
Current projects include a new work-request form and a new website, making communication with the university and access to data more efficient. Newly-added associates, consultants, and interns, as well as a new advisory board, provide the support needed to implement the new vision while still performing the research and analysis necessary for ISU's success.
The proposed organizational structure in this plan will amplify IR's ability to coordinate research with faculty and staff associates, affiliates, and consultants, adding graduate interns and student workers with backgrounds in institutional research-related disciplines to provide the manpower necessary to manage the office workload while pursuing the five-year plan to refine the office's function.
The immediate obstacle the office faces in realizing this plan is the lack of personnel: a Reporting Analyst position and a Business Intelligence Analyst position. The first position is crucial in performing in-depth analyses, enrollment projects, and market analyses, as well as short-term analysis on reports currently available, thus allowing current staff to work on larger, campus-wide initiatives, such as Argos, iStrategy, and executive dashboards. The search for a Reporting Analyst has been approved by the President and is moving forward to fill the position.
We are also proposing to add a Business Intelligence Analyst position to move us out of the Phase I data warehouse/dashboard start-up into a continuous, interactive mode with users that will include maintenance, growth, and adoption of the process. These positions add to the workforce necessary for providing the university with the timely and relevant data and tools ISU needs, as the current administrative team relies on data and technology to inform decisions and strengthen the university.
This plan includes 14 strategic goals and a five-year guide to ensure those goals are reached. The ensuing pages include a definition of institutional research, a brief history of the office, its current status, and proposed reorganization. The remainder of the document shares the office's operational, tactical, and strategic plans for the next five years, work plan, benchmarks, and obstacles, as well as a system for the assessment and dissemination of the plan.