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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Institutional Effectiveness and Research

Over the last two years, reorganizational efforts have redistributed planning and grant responsibilities to the Office of the President and the Advancement and Communications unit, respectively. With those changes and in line with best practices in the field, we are excited to formally announce a new name and vision for what was previously institutional research – the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE).

The complex challenges and opportunities our community faces demand data to fuel creative minds in discovering, connecting, interpreting, and informing emergent questions. IE’s alignment with IT allows our researchers to creatively explore the universe of questions that inform our work. It enables us to identify and connect siloed data from across campus to create stories that provide a broader context and deeper understanding of topics important to our community.

By prioritizing partnerships, data democratization, and aligning IE with IT, the staffing plan for IE includes a director, Senior Researcher, and support from a shared Administrative Assistant.

Below you will find more background on how and why these changes are being implemented and examples of what the department has accomplished.

Institutional effectiveness moves beyond mandatory reporting to using data to make informed decisions in higher education. A partnership between the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE) and Information Technology (IT) provides opportunities for digital transformations (Dx) that improve the student experience and aid operational agility as an institution. While the IE office supports the College’s culture of assessment, the AEI department continues to provide leadership in that area.

In the past three years, the value and amount of data collected, stored, secured, and extracted at institutions of higher learning has grown exponentially. Where once a Minnesota State college IE/IR office could satisfy their college’s data needs by querying ISRS and reporting on what happened last year, last month, and last week, the SPC community needs more.

Our community recognizes the power of predictive and prescriptive analytics and innovative research that connects disparate quantitative and qualitative data to create a three-dimensional view of our students and institution. By augmenting the research and analytical skills of the IE department with the advanced technical skills of data management, security, mining, and architecture found in the Data Services section of IT, the IE Office can more rapidly and sustainably bring research and data innovations to the campus. Key components of this strategy include:

  • Automating routine tasks to provide faculty and staff time to prioritize and personalize student interactions and experiences;
  • Investing time now to improve efficiencies in the future;
  • Growing a federated network of data users across the institution;
  • Developing talents in machine learning. AI, and predictive and prescriptive techniques.

Here is a sampling of recent projects.

D2L: Supporting intrusive intervention
The goal of the D2L data sets/data-informed intrusive interventions project is to increase student course success and retention. In a pilot test, Title III advisors used dashboards to identify and advise students who would benefit from additional support. This project is being made available to other advisors, and we are partnering with other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to provide, build, and share dashboards across campuses.

Process improvement
Currently, colleges are required to unenroll students who have not secured a tuition payment method before classes begin. Working with several departments and IT, the IE department moved from reporting what students were dropped to predicting which students were likely to be impacted. This change allowed staff to contact students proactively, secure the information needed to prevent the drop, and significantly reduce the number of students affected.

Data democratization
Recurring requests from fourteen areas of the College, which IE previously routinely and repetitively supplied, have been converted to on-demand reports through a self-service portal. This portal, which will continue to be developed, provides just-in-time access to near- real-time data for decision-making at all levels of the organization. As recurring tasks are discovered, the IE and IT staff invest time to automate the process, improving efficiencies and freeing IE staff time to employ their advanced research skills.

The IE department is establishing relationships with other two-year colleges to share resources, data retrieval code, automation techniques, and report generation skills. This resource sharing reduces duplication of efforts across similar campuses and provides rich data sets for research.

Architectural efforts are underway to join data points from siloed data repositories across campus and within proprietary software. This continuing effort eases access to data and standardized SQL coding and retrieval methods to conform to industry best practices in data design and structure. This work provides the robust infrastructure upon which more complex automation, streamlined processes, and self-service data portals can be created.

Fact Book

Saint Paul College Fact Book is a centralized collection of information and data about enrollment, degrees, majors, student demographics and student outcomes.

The Fact Book contains student achievement data disaggregated by credential level (Associate, Certificate, Diploma), including retention and completion rates.

The Fact Book is updated annually by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Grants.

All definitions in Fact Book are in the Data Dictionary.

Academic Research and Student Outcome

Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness provides summary research reports several times each year in order to provide a comprehensive and user-friendly resource f or college stakeholders. The summary reports provided each year vary based on frequency of data availability, schedule of survey administration, and local research projects.

IPEDS Comparison Report
The IPEDS comparison report is updated on an annual basis and uses the annual IPEDS Data Feedback reports create by the National Center for Education Statistics. IPEDS collects institution-level data related to enrollment and graduation rates, institutional costs and finances, faculty and staff data, and student demographics. Saint Paul College is compared to a comparison group of similar institutions located in Midwestern states for the last 3 years .

Saint Paul College IPEDS Data Comparisons

Student Satisfaction and Engagement
Saint Paul College administers three national surveys on a rotating basis to better understand student engagement and satisfaction. The Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey measures student satisfaction in relation to key campus services and student experiences. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) look at student engagement related to student experiences and participation in activities or resources that promote student success. The CCSSE survey focuses on all students on campus while the SENSE survey focuses on students earliest experiences at Saint Paul College.

Student Right-To-Know: Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates
Student Right-To-Know is a federal law that requires all colleges and universities to disclose certain information to students. A college must provide to students on graduation rates and transfer-out rates for full-time students seeking degrees at Saint Paul College.

Students Right to Know - Graduation and Transfer-out Rates

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