Institutional Resesarch and Academic Assessment

Timeline: One Year Project
Planned project kickoff date: Oct. 1, 2008
Target completion date: Oct. 1, 2009

A. Give a short identifying title (under 10 words) to this Action Project.

Organizing Institutional Research and Academic Assessment

B. Describe the goal(s) of this Action Project (in 100 words or fewer).

The goal of this action project is to assess the potential to: Deliver information more efficiently to the Augsburg community; Leverage the technical knowledge of all information providers on campus; Develop a more sophisticated systems approach for future research; Close the loop between academic assessment data and recruitment & retention processes to maximize student success and alumni engagement; Integrate course evaluations into an ongoing quality improvement process.

C. Please identify the single AQIP Criterion which this Action Project will primarily affect

Category 6:Supporting Institutional operations.

D. Please describe your institution’s rationale for addressing this Primary criterion at this time. Why is this project and its goal(s) one of your “vital few”?

With an ever growing demand for data to support internal processes, strategic planning, AQIP Action Projects, external reporting requirements, academic assessment and enrollment forecasting, it is important that we make the most productive use of the resources allocated to this function. Could these efforts be better coordinated across campus?
The systems utilized to run the organization (hardware, software and IT support) have changed dramatically in recent years to improve transaction processing and overall operational support to a fairly sophisticated level. These advances have extended the ability of Institutional and Academic Research to keep up with the ever growing demand for information, both internally and externally. Unfortunately, we are reaching the limits of our capacity to meet these demands with the current configuration of resources.
Administrative and Academic research functions have evolved independently over the years. With the emergence of a data informed planning and decision making culture at Augsburg through AQIP, and with a balanced scorecard planning process on the horizon, we need to evaluate what our information and research challenges are going to be and the resources that will be required to support these and future initiatives.

E. List the organizational areas (or institutional departments and divisions) most affected.

Institutional Research, Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Information Technology, Human Resources & Institutional Advancement

F. List and briefly describe the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve.

The organizational processes that will be changed/improved will be our ability to: assess and describe the manner in which information is requested & provided; assess and describe the manner in which organizational research is conducted (who, what, when, where & how); and assess the manner in which organizational research is distributed, used and archived.

G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion)..

A six month time period is required to explore the processes listed above. This will be followed by another six month period during which a yet to be determined group will meet regularly to review and discuss the findings and ultimately make recommendations for future work.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing..

Phase I: Monthly meetings to define the scope of the project and collect relevant information.
Phase II: Monthly meetings to distill the information, prioritize issues and generate appropriate recommendations for improvement.

I. Describe the overall “outcome” measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals.

There are 3 “outcome” measures/indicators for this action project:

  1. A mission statement describing the purpose and role of Institutional Research and Academic Assessment at Augsburg College;
  2. Recommendations on best practices concerning the gathering and use of information in a data driven work environment. What does it look like? How is it organized?
  3. The following topics will be addressed: Internal reporting requirements (e.g. Enrollment reporting & forecasting, Factbook, etc); External reporting requirements (e.g. IPEDS, Wilder Foundation, NSSE, etc); Existing processes and who supports them (e.g. Retention, AQIP, Catalog, etc); Future information requirements (e.g. Balanced Scorecard, grad employment, etc.); Technologies currently being used (e.g. Excel, Access, SQL, Crystal, etc.); Technologies that we should be using (or planning for) (e.g. Brio, Excelsius, Cognos, Tableau, data mining/report server(s), web presence, etc.)

J. Other Information. 

K. Project Leader/Contact Person

First Name: Jim
Last Name: Erchul
Title: Director of Enrollment Planning & System Development
Phone: 612-330-1758