Targeted, action-oriented institutional research can help
a college or university better understand and more
effectively utilize faculty resources. This chapter profiles
one multicampus research university whose institutional
research portfolio has emphasized faculty issues.
Institutional Research to Enhance
Michael J. Dooris
This chapter illustrates several specific ways that one multicampus research university is selectively employing targeted, change-oriented institutional research (IR) about faculty performance. These efforts go beyond routine reports and factbook type information to improve understanding of the experiences of its faculty members, to enhance faculty development, and to use faculty resources more effectively.
Throughout the history of the field of institutional research, practitioners have reflected about what IR is and where it is headed. Volkwein (1999) provides a well-informed and concise overview of trends in the field. He notes that as institutional research offices have become more interwoven with strategic planning, continuous quality improvement, and assessment, they have become more entrepreneurial, collaborative, managementoriented, and aimed more deliberately at the improvement of critical institutional functions and processes at many colleges and universities.
There is virtually an unlimited array of legitimate and interesting questions that proactive and adaptive institutional research conceivably can address. It is fair to ask, “What are the areas in which targeted, management-oriented institutional research is likely to be most productive?” The answers to that question differ for different colleges and universities. Likely areas for institutional research include academic assessment,