Cases on Institutional Research Systems

Cases on Institutional Research Systems

Hansel Burley (Texas Tech University, USA)
Release Date: October, 2011|Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 429
ISBN13: 9781609608576|ISBN10: 1609608577|EISBN13: 9781609608583|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-857-6


Institutional research (IR) is a growing, applied, and interdisciplinary area that attracts people from a variety of fields, including computer programmers, statisticians, and administrators and faculty from every discipline to work in archiving, analyzing, and reporting on all aspects of higher education information systems.

Cases on Institutional Research Systems is a reference book for institutional research, appealing to novice and expert IR professionals and the administrators and policymakers that rely on their data. By presenting a variety of institutional perspectives, the book depicts the challenges and solutions to those in higher education administration, and state, federal, and even international accreditation.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessment of Analysis
  • Collegiate Administrative Systems
  • Data Gathering Techniques
  • Packaging and Framing Data
  • Policymakers and Decision-Making Based on Institutional Research
  • Statistical Analysis of Data
  • Systems for Accreditation
  • Technology and Software Used
  • Uses of Assessments and Analysis
  • Ways of Reporting Data

Reviews and Testimonials

I can safely say that my interest in and knowledge of the great diversity of IR increased immensely while developing this text. Not all of the contributors have terminal degrees, as is common in IR. Nevertheless, all of the contributors help expand the boundaries and rich diversity of effective IR practice. The reader will find the recounting of using enterprise resource planning systems, to using geospatial information systems, and even a discussion of moral codes and their impact on institutional culture—all of this is within the purview of IR. [...] At the end of the day, IR practitioners use everything at their disposal to solve problems.

– Hansel Burley, Texas Tech University, USA

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
John A. Williams
Hansel Burley
Chapter 1
Hansel Burley
The author focuses on the institutional researcher as an institutional leader, over and above providing traditional reporting and support. IR... Sample PDF
The Dean of Information: A Theoretical Framework for Institutional Research Leadership in Higher Education
Chapter 2
James E. McLean, Alanna Rochelle King Dail
In today’s environment, external support for college activities has become much more than a luxury. While the basic teaching functions are funded... Sample PDF
Changing the Grant Culture of a College
Chapter 3
Dana L. Dalton
This case study describes the events from 2003 to the present surrounding the implementation of a relational student information Enterprise Resource... Sample PDF
From Silos to Sharing: An Institutional Research View of the Conversion to an ERP
Chapter 4
Garnett Lee Henley, Gerunda B. Hughes, Tawanda Feimster, Leo E. Rouse
Many institutions do not perform statistical modeling of student academic outcomes because they lack the ability to translate Banner® relational... Sample PDF
Parsing Banner Downloaded Data into a Flat-File Format for Analysis
Chapter 5
Constanta-Nicoleta Bodea, Vasile Bodea, Radu Mogos
The aim of this chapter is to explore the application of data mining for analyzing academic performance in connection with the participatory... Sample PDF
Institutional Research Using Data Mining: A Case Study in Online Programs
Chapter 6
Nicolas A. Valcik
This chapter will address the use of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for institutional research and strategic planning departments. Throughout... Sample PDF
Using Geospatial Information Systems for Strategic Planning and Institutional Research
Chapter 7
Rajeev Bukralia, Amit V. Deokar, Surendra Sarnikar, Mark Hawkes
This chapter outlines a case of identifying students at-risk of dropping out of online courses by using institutional research data. The case... Sample PDF
Using Machine Learning Techniques in Student Dropout Prediction
Chapter 8
Yen To, Hansel Burley
A primary feature of institutional research work is prediction. When statistics are used as the primary analysis tool, much of this work depends... Sample PDF
Principles for the Analysis of Large Complex Secondary Databases in Educational Settings
Chapter 9
Lucy Barnard-Brak, Valerie Osland Paton
Violations of academic integrity (e.g., cheating and other acts of academic dishonesty) are issues on every college campus (e.g., Turner &... Sample PDF
Experimental Design to Examine the Effectiveness of Honor Codes
Chapter 10
Stephanie J. Jones
Community colleges offer a variety of distance learning opportunities and continue to invest in technologies that better serve their students. This... Sample PDF
Developing a Quality Distance Learning Program in a Comprehensive Community College
Chapter 11
Kevin Gosselin, Hansel Burley
Today’s higher education professional is beginning to feel the squeeze of higher expectations and the need to deliver instruction in a variety of... Sample PDF
Developing an Online Course On-the-Fly with an IR State of Mind
Chapter 12
Aaron R. Baggett
On the surface, West Point’s long line of cadet moral development may not seem obvious. Perhaps notable alumni, its history in educating engineers... Sample PDF
A Million Ghosts: West Point’s Long Line of Moral Development and Character Education
Chapter 13
Garnett Lee Henley, Wanda Lawrence, Candace Mitchell, Donna Henley-Jackson, Tawana Feimster
There are several excellent indices available to quantify diversity within a student body. Richness and evenness can be studied using Simpson’s... Sample PDF
Measuring Diversity at a Historically Black College of Dentistry
Chapter 14
Valerie McGaha-Garnett
Many non-traditional and first-generation students face multiple limitations to successful academic achievement, like the case of the student... Sample PDF
Examining University Retention Efforts of Non-Traditional Students
Chapter 15
Fernando Valle, Stacy A. Jacob, Zhaomin He
Higher education administrators constantly face tough decisions when assessing the feasibility of university programs. In fiscally responsive... Sample PDF
The National Research University: Toward Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) at a Responsibility Centered Management University
Chapter 16
Robin Capt, Heidi Taylor, Gary Kelley, Mo Cuevas
Institutional Research (IR) professionals have diverse roles and responsibilities in universities across the country. The Office of Institutional... Sample PDF
Collaboration in Student Assessment Research: Beyond Data Collection and Reporting
Chapter 17
Annette E. Smith, Stephanie J. Jones
Assessment of student learning outcomes at institutions of higher learning has become a strategic initiative as accountability discussions continue... Sample PDF
Developing an Assessment Plan for the Arts and Sciences Division of a Comprehensive Community College
Chapter 18
Gita Wijesinghe Pitter, William Hudson
Increasing student retention and graduation is one of the most difficult challenges facing Traditionally Black College and University (TBCUs). This... Sample PDF
A Framework for Examining Data and Taking Action to Increase Student Retention and Graduation
Chapter 19
Mary Cain Fehr, Mary Frances Agnello, Steven M. Crooks, Fethi Inan, Raymond Flores
Assessing the effectiveness of academic programs is a critical element of institutional research. Changing demographics in the United States compel... Sample PDF
The Birth of a Survey: Developing an Assessment of Preservice Teachers’ Diversity Awareness
Chapter 20
Hansel Burley, Lucy Barnard-Brak, Valerie McGaha-Garnett, Bolanle A. Olaniran, Aretha Marbley
The purpose of the current study is to examine secondary school factors that predict the performance and persistence of African American students at... Sample PDF
African Americans and Planned Resilience: In Search of Ordinary Magic
Chapter 21
Gita Wijesinghe Pitter
Accreditation, whether it be institutional or specialized, is an essential and powerful part of life at academic institutions. This case study... Sample PDF
Establishing Continuous Readiness for Specialized Accreditation
Chapter 22
Robert Elliott
We know that a nationwide shortage of highly qualified teachers exists, and not enough people are becoming teachers. We also know there are... Sample PDF
A Case Study: Closing the Assessment Loop with Program and Institutional Data
Chapter 23
Valerie Osland Paton, Gerry Dizinno, Roy Mathew
During the period of 1970-2010 in American higher education, the burden of funding has shifted in proportion from the federal government, to the... Sample PDF
Developing Best Practices for Value Added Research in a Political Context
Chapter 24
Hansel Burley, Bolanle A. Olaniran
The researchers included 10 embedded assessments in the study for a mean gain effect size of .35. From the results of a pilot study, the authors... Sample PDF
Meta-Analysis as a Tool for Assessing University-Wide Student Learning Outcomes
Chapter 25
Margaret Johnson, Larry Hovey, Pam Tipton
Along the way, a number of personnel, organizational, and technical problems were encountered, and many were resolved. What did became clear is that... Sample PDF
Using Bad News to Make Good Decisions
Chapter 26
Thomas K. Martin
The latter finding, while complicating the interpretation of the analysis, contributed most significantly to answering the question of whether or... Sample PDF
A Study of the Relationship between Freshman Composition and Student Performance in Intensive Writing Courses
About the Contributors


In the early 1990s, I was introduced to institutional research (IR) by David England, who probably knew community college research and institutional research better than anyone at the time. It was from him that I learned many technical skills and practiced the dispositions for their effective use. Additionally, at a Southern Association for Institutional Research (SAIR) conference in San Antonio (circa 1994) while employed by Dr. England, I received an introduction to the Traditionally Black Colleges and Universities Special Interest Group (TBCU-SIG) of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR).  I soon left institutional research for traditional academic life, but TBCU-SIG was the group that nurtured me through that scholarly career. As do many, TBCU-SIG is a place where I found support, IR wisdom, connections, community, inclusivity, fun, and most importantly, encouragement. This group was also a place for scholarship. Still, if I have learned anything from TBCU-SIG, it is the importance of encouragement. So as the members of TBCU-SIG have given to me, this book is an attempt to give back. If anything, the challenge of Cases on Institutional Research is to reflect TBCU-SIG’s infectious support, wisdom, connections, community, inclusivity, fun, scholarship, and encouragement.  Indeed, this edited book is the result of encouragement from TBCU-SID members, and particularly from the late Charlie Brown, who encouraged members to “publish, publish, publish.”

Why a Casebook on IR?

Books on IR are a dry breed. After an Internet search, a quick read on any set of titles assures one that these books are not for the uninitiated.  They can read like books on wiring, but certainly less electric. They tend to be laser-focused on specific aspects of IR. However, the perspective of Cases on Institutional Research provides a more expansive survey of the landscape of institutional research scholarship. A theme that emerges is that in higher education, everyone participates in institutional research in some way. Therefore, in IR practice, one will find great diversity—a diverse group that does it, what they think about it, and how they came to the IR world. Inside this text, one will find thinking on IR theory and practice, IR informatics and statistics, higher education curriculum and instruction, and of course, assessment. Even more important, the topics encountered are presented as cases. In most instances, scholars writing the cases were intimately involved in these experiences.  The aim of the cases is not generalizable truth, but truths, nonetheless, that one can take from someone else’s description of their experience. These cases are not formal, anthropological cases either. However, the reader will find that IR cultural norms do emerge, along with the values, attitudes, and motives of the writers. In all cases, the reader will find the makings of a culture, a culture that dedicated to improving educational experiences for students and continually increasing the effectiveness of higher education. One purpose of this book, then, is to extend the scholarship on IR. To that end, this book best suits the IR practitioner in the field, the faculty member or mid-level administrator in the midst of a program assessment effort, and the graduate student getting prepared for life and work in higher education.

Unlike more specific books on IR, a casebook has the additional power of introducing the IR to novices from the standpoint of people who practice and think about it. By definition, IR takes a data-driven view of the higher education enterprise.  However, what this means is as diverse as the situations people find themselves. For example, to an information systems person, the meaning of the word “data” can be very different from the English professor’s idea of data.  Another aim of Cases on Institutional Research is to introduce students of higher education and practitioners to the circumstances that require IR knowledge and skill. The reader will find that that there are a multitude of voices and approaches. This book is many encounters of that world that should increase the knowledge, skill, and awareness of effective IR practice. In fact, many of the cases provide examples of higher education problem-solving that one can use immediately.

Finally, this book presents cases on managing change in higher education. The greatest contribution of cases came from folks who were involved in assessment of student learning. Even several cases not directly involved in assessment possess some tangential relationship to the idea. In today’s higher education, regional accrediting bodies and higher education coordinating boards drive much of the assessment. The underlying issue is accountability, especially accountability designed to help higher education institutions remain effective and continuously improve. Outside agents rarely bring about the required change.  Ultimately, it is being accountable to students and to others within an organization that brings about change for the better. In fact, accountability to others within the organization requires teamwork, and teamwork requires openness, transparency, and clarity. Additionally, one cannot delve into accountability without some considerable commitment to outcomes.

Organization of the Book

To that end, the book has five sections.  Section 1 is called IR theory and practice. This section deals with institutional research as a profession, including cases that discuss how one should think about IR and implement good IR practice. Section 2 focuses on IR informatics and statistical practice. “IR informatics” is actually a new term that captures heavy role of increasing complex computer and human interactions that are at the center of today’s IR practice. Section 3, called higher education curriculum and instruction, advances ideas through case experience about developing and understanding the development of higher education courses and culture—particularly with student learning as a focus. Higher education program assessments, Section 4, examines higher education curriculum from an outcomes perspective, with many topics that focus on diversity, a long emerging topic in higher education that may be nearing new levels of maturity. Finally, Section 5 provides examples of whole university-wide or college-wide assessment systems. Over half of the chapters explore assessment to some degree. Clearly, assessment is a game-changer in higher education.

Each chapter of the book has a standard format that includes the following:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Executive summary
  • Keywords
  • Background
  • Setting the Stage
  • Case description
  • Current challenges facing the organization
  • References
  • Key terms and definitions

Even with this standard format, the reader will find the chapters to be as unique as the writers who have contributed their work. Many authors have added questions for the reader. Some chapters are long and deep explorations with plenty of background information, while others are short and to the point. While each of the chapters present knowledge on what to and what not to do, some chapters describe actual processes, so they are written from that perspective.

The authors come from around the United States and from one international locale. I can safely say that my interest in and knowledge of the great diversity of IR increased immensely while developing this text. Not all of the contributors have terminal degrees, as is common in IR. Nevertheless, all of the contributors help expand the boundaries and rich diversity of effective IR practice. The reader will find the recounting of using enterprise resource planning systems, to using geospatial information systems, and even a discussion of moral codes and their impact on institutional culture—all of this is within the purview of IR. There are even elements of the autobiographical in a case or two. At the end of the day, IR practitioners use everything at their disposal to solve problems. 

To make the most of the text, I suggest that you compare and contrast your own ideas and experiences to those in the text.  Consider how the conclusions in the cases compare with your notions of effective IR. It is in this comparison and contrast that you will find the way to navigate your own trek through the many problems and opportunities for growth that IR presents.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Hansel Burley is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Texas Tech University (TTU) and Associate Dean for Academics and Data for the College of Education. He received this Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A & M University, College Station. His research focuses on the antecedents to higher education remediation and the resilience of developmental education students. He also examines diversity issues, particularly when related to college access and success. Dr. Burley also studies institutional effectiveness, particularly how this is associated with large database analysis. He has been a member of the Association for Institutional Research and associated organizations. He is a past president of the Traditionally Black Colleges and Universities-Special Interest Group (TBCU-SIG). He takes great pride in TBCU-SIG of AIR because of their mentorship of him during his formative years as a cub institutional research and as an assistant professor.


Editorial Board

  • Mr. Martin Fortner, Southern University System, USA
  • Dr. Myrtes Green, Lawson State Community College, USA
  • Dr. Mimi Evelyn Johnson, Trenholm State Technical College, USA
  • Mrs. Alice Simpkins, Paine College, USA
  • Dr. John A. Williams, Tuskegee University, USA
  • Mrs. Arlene Wimbley, Oakwood College, USA