New Directions for Institutional Research proposes and tests new approaches to institutional research (IR) that attempt to break down barriers to academic success, particularly focusing on minority students, working students, and others in nontraditional circumstances.
The chapters in this volume review prior research on best practices as well as evaluations of retention programs and persistence by students of color, then go on to propose and test new approaches to assessment, action research, action inquiry, and evaluation. Lessons learned from this volume should contribute to strategies used by administrators and faculty for collaborative projects involving IR professionals and other higher education researchers in interventions designed to improve academic success for all students.
This is the 130th volume of New Directions for Institutional Research, a quarterly publication published by Jossey–Bass.
Access our <a href="[external URL] list of New Directions for Institutional Research titles for a wide variety of IR topics.
As part of the planning process for a center on retention, we learned that there had been a paucity of high–quality evaluation research on persistence; in response, we initiated a new approach to research on academic success.
1. Campus–Based Retention Initiatives: Does the Emperor Have Clothes? (Lori D. Patton, Carla Morelon, Dawn Michele Whitehead, Don Hossler)
Although there is a substantial literature on best practices in higher education, including many well–reasoned papers on retention programs, the research base for most types of interventions is extremely limited.
2. Cataloging Institutional Efforts to Understand and Reduce College Student Departure (John M. Braxton, Jeffrey S. McKinney, Pauline J. Reynolds)
Even when evaluations are provided by institutions that have completed studies for funded retention programs, the reports typically do not meet generally accepted standards for published research.
3. Key Issues in the Persistence of Underrepresented Minority Students (Deborah Faye Carter)
The research on persistence by minority students consistently reports on gaps in opportunities, but with the exception of studies on student financial aid, the research literature provides more ideas about what might improve opportunity than studies confirming the efficacy of intervention methods.
4. Using Action Research to Support Academic Program Improvement (Michele J. Hansen, Victor M. H. Borden)Institutional research offices can integrate process consultation methods in combination with action research methodologies to provide research support for campus change efforts.
5. Using Action Inquiry to Address Critical Challenges (Edward P. St. John, Jeffrey S. McKinney, Tina Tuttle)
Action research can be used to integrate evaluation research with action planning and pilot–testing of new strategies to address critical challenges facing campuses interested in improving the academic success of their students.
6. Using Evaluation to Close the Inquiry Loop (Glenda Droogsma Musoba)
Institutional databases can be used to evaluate the impact of campuses interventions if records are maintained on who received services and efforts are made to assess the effects of selection.
7. Lessons Learned: Institutional Research as Support for Academic Improvement (Edward P. St. John)
Institutional researchers should play a central role in building a sound research base on intervention methods implemented with the intent of improving academic success of undergraduate and graduate students.