The Office of Institutional Research and Planning (IRP) at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is responsible for the development and maintenance of data resources to support the strategic planning and policy-making processes at the university, fulfilling compliance reporting requirements at both the federal and state levels, facilitating the dissemination of data in a timely and accurate manner, and promoting institutional effectiveness through the development and use of self-assessment and benchmarking tools.
IRP is the primary source for official campus statistics, complying with federal, state, and university reporting standards and requirements, and supports strategic planning, benchmarking, and peer analysis. Through the culmination of processes including data collection, analyses, data transformation, and warehousing, we are able to use various data dissemination methods to perform critical reporting, research and analyses, and provide informational publications for internal and external audiences about the university.
In 2016, the Association for Institutional Research published a Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research. This new vision is a response to a myriad of disruptive innovations in higher education that have changed the conditions necessary for effective Institutional Research functions to support student success.
The scope of the Institutional Research and Planning function at UW-Whitewater is vast, and the scope map of the office’s reach (image at right) is intended to highlight the broad categories of skills and responsibilities that are at the core of our goals.
Coordinating and reporting institutional effectiveness information, including assessment, accreditation, and mandatory reporting activities are a priority for institutional research offices. Strategic planning, benchmark analysis, and peer comparisons using standard reporting measures are ways in which the office provides internal support. Other internal support examples include publication of a Fact Book, Fall Profile, and responding to external surveys such as college ranking publications and prospective student guidebooks.
An emergent need for institutional research offices is to serve as a source for understanding data and information structures at the university, and connect disparate pieces of information. Increased data collection and decentralized organizational structures result in campuses with useful data that reside outside of campus databases.