LEC launches faculty-led Office of Institutional Research

Academics,

Constant evolution in the higher education sector has intensified the need for colleges and universities to craft strategic plans based in concrete data.

In response to these demands, Lake Erie College has established a faculty-led Office of Institutional Research (IR) tasked with improving data-driven decision making for the institution as a whole. Under the direction of Dr. Steven Reynolds, the office will serve as a research space intended to enhance the consistency and transparency of data sets across campus.

Reynolds, who also serves as an associate professor of biology at the College, will report directly to President Posler and will present reports to Cabinet regularly. By serving as a data repository of sorts, the office he leads will enable administrators to identify interconnections between data from various offices, ultimately supporting data-driven decision-making in a variety of contexts.

Reynolds views this function as his primary goal as he develops the Office of IR. “By effectively collecting, organizing, and presenting data, I hope to generate information that provides those who have the responsibility to make decisions for the College with sufficient context to conduct the business of the College in an effective and efficient manner,” he said.

The College’s academic accreditation process offers one clear example of the applicability of the data Reynolds will generate. As overseen by Dr. Bryan DePoy, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer, the accreditation process relies on data analysis regarding everything from enrollment figures to course offerings, faculty profiles, tuition figures and more.

“By placing a renewed emphasis on our institutional research area, we will expand our ability to operationalize data and apply predictive analytics across the academic enterprise, thus aiding in Lake Erie College’s decision-making,” said DePoy. “The quality, dissection, and analysis of data is a prelude to identifying future investments and priorities for the institution.”

Data from the Office of IR will also assist the administration as it seeks to set a new strategic plan for the college. “Investing in high quality institutional research is greatly needed,” said President Posler. “This office will allow all of campus to better communicate with each other and will answer important questions that will help us increase student success. I am so pleased that Dr. Reynolds has agreed to serve Lake Erie College in this way.”

Reynolds, who holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Alabama, saw this role as an opportunity to leverage his experience in administration and data analysis in a way that would directly advance the efforts of the College. He began his work as director of institutional research on July 1.

For more information on the Office of Institutional Research at Lake Erie College, contact Dr. Reynolds at sreynolds@lec.edu.

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