Teachers College, Columbia University

Institutional Research and the Culture of Evidence at Community Colleges

By Vanessa Smith Morest & Davis Jenkins
Institutional Research and the Culture of Evidence at Community Colleges

This report presents findings from a study on how well prepared today’s community colleges are in moving toward the greater use of data and research to improve student success. Data for the study were drawn from two major sources: an e-mail survey of college administrators responsible for institutional research (IR) and case studies of 28 community colleges.

The study finds that community colleges wanting to expand the role of IR face several challenges in terms of resources, data collection, and institutional priorities. It also suggests that college leadership is a key component in making the necessary investment in IR capacity and in promoting changes in organizational practice that are required to embrace a strategy for using data to improve institutional performance.