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Office of Institutional Research

The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) is an information source for many college statistics, both academic and non-academic. The primary purpose of the department is to systematically collect, maintain, analyze and report institutional information for governmental and public reporting.

Another role of institutional research is to compare university information with other institutions. Lastly, OIR is here to support college planning and decision-making. This office assists any department within the institution with ad-hoc requests for information and is a central contact for submitting data to federal, state and local governmental agencies, as well as commercial agencies. The OIR should be an early and central contact for planning and decision-making data.

The Mission of OIR is to serve as the foremost and official source of institutional information for the college community and relevant decision-makers in their commitment for continuous review, evaluation, and improvement in teaching, administrative and operational activities. This mission is supported by facilitating a stimulating and nurturing institutional research and assessment environment that provides decision-makers at all levels of the institution with meaningful data and information on analytical studies of important policies and issues facing the college, as well as data facts and comparative trends useful to enrich the quality of higher education.

What is Institutional Research?

Institutional Research is the process of coordinating, collecting, organizing and disseminating all necessary information in regard to the characteristics and performance of the institution.

Institutional research provides objective and systematic research in support of the institution's goals. The primary purpose of our office is to collect, analyze and interpret institutional data and information to assist leaders with university planning and decision making. Data is collected and maintained for all aspects of the institution, including, but not limited to, students, staff, programs, administration and operations.

The office is engaged in ongoing data collection, analysis and distribution, resulting in official college statistics to satisfy both internal and external reporting needs; design and implementation of internal studies related to students, personnel, facilities, programs, services and fiscal resources; development of databases, via information technology support, suitable for longitudinal studies and statistical analysis. OIR also provides assistance in establishing outcome measures for accountability and other related activities in support of college planning, evaluation, resource allocation and decision-making. The information generated by the OIR can be applied in understanding, interpreting, managing and evaluating the institution, and in making informed decisions about current operations or future plans.


The Vision of OIR is to create a centralized repository of responsive data collection, analysis and dissemination for internal decision-making and external reporting by utilizing technological resources. In order to support the campus constituents in achieving their stated goals and priorities of the College's Strategic Plan, OIR is strongly committed to change and excellence through continuous improvement of its functions, programs and support services.

The OIR assigns first priority to institutional research and reporting requirements at the institutional level, then to colleges, departments and committees, as time will allow. External regulatory requests that are mandatory for college compliance by law also are given first priority following other external requests, as office resources allow.

  • To gather, compile and provide reliable, timely information for internal and external data requests.
  • To monitor the college's ongoing responsibilities for compliance with requests for information from external agencies, both governmental and commercial, and assure accurate and timely completion of necessary reports.
  • To be the official source of comprehensive information about the institution.
  • To serve as a repository/archive for institutional data.
  • To provide information and analysis that is relevant and responsive to individuals and departments in policy-making and decision-making activities.
  • To provide technical and support assistance for research projects endorsed by the college.
  • To serve in an advisory capacity to administrative functions related to institutional research.
  • To maintain annual procedures for such things as data collection, reporting deadlines, and project listings.
  • To be a clearinghouse for survey instruments.
  • To assist each department with data collection and analysis needs for accreditation purposes.
  • To provide consultation services to faculty and students concerning research methods and statistical analysis

Source: Messiah College - Institutional Research Office Procedures Manual, 2003 (PDF)

Institutional Outcomes Assessment

Institutional outcomes assessment supports accreditation outcomes and conducts institutional outcomes assessment across all academic programs of the university on academic (i.e. student learning outcomes) and nonacademic metrics.