How to Utilize Institutional Data
Thoughtful interpretation and synthesis of institutional data can often help degree programs identify strengths and weaknesses. Mason’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment administers a number of different surveys throughout the year. Likewise, the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting collects data on enrollments, retention, degrees awarded, and other institutional metrics.
While reviewing the data that are collected by OIRE, degree programs may want to use the following questions to stimulate discussion:
- What is the demand for this program? What are the current enrollment and graduation rates? Are current enrollment levels too low, too high, or okay as is?
- How does this program relate to others on campus? Are students pursuing other degrees, certificates, minors, emphases that are complimentary?
- How well does the program prepare students for post-graduation activities? What are alumni job placements like? How may educational/curricular activities be improved to positively impact students’ futures?
- How well is the program advising students? What could be better communicated? What expectations do students have that do not seem to be met with the current advising system?
- What knowledge or skills do graduating students lack or need improvement in? What is being taught that might not provide maximal benefit to today’s students?