The mission of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment is to provide institutional information to external reporting groups as well as University decision-makers in support of planning, policy formulation, resource allocation, and the advancement of University operations. This is accomplished by conducting data analysis, performing assessment research, and developing web services.
Mandated regulatory reporting to external groups (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS), and University of Alabama System Administration (UAS), as well as media and ranking agencies that have bearing on the University image and reputation). Decision-support information for University units’ (central administration, colleges or schools, departments, programs, or committees) administration and operational support. Assessment-related research to evaluate and illuminate issues associated with the University units’ operations and functions. Web applications and tools to advance the University units’ operations and enhance the information flow within the University.
This office has access to a great deal of confidential data regarding the campus, personnel, and students. It is critical for the office to maintain the trust of the campus in its handling of these data. Therefore, this office adheres to the accepted “Code of Ethics” for our profession (http://www.airweb.org/?page=140).
“Institutional research has to do with what decisions makers need to know about an institution, its educational objectives, goals and purposes, environmental factors, process, and structures to more wisely use its resources, more successfully attain its objectives and goals, and to demonstrate integrity and accountability in so doing.”
Dressel, P. L. The shaping of institutional research and planning. Research in Higher Education, 51 (2).
“Institutional research is research conducted within an institution of higher education in order to provide information which supports institutional planning, policy formulation and decision making.”
Saupe, Joe L. The Functions of Institutional Research. Tallahassee, FL: Association for Institutional Research, 1981.