The mission of the Office of Planning and Institutional Research is to provide information that will support the planning and decision-making processes of Davidson College. An effective program of institutional research will anticipate the information needs of the college and will collect, organize, analyze, and distribute data as required. In addition, the office needs to remain aware of institutional priorities as well as the overall mission and goals of the college. The office will accomplish this mission through the following activities:
Analysis of existing data
Collate and maintain data available on campus and provide relevant analysis of these data as required. Devise a system whereby changes and trends may be tracked and anticipated.
Promote a comprehensive program of survey research that provides timely, appropriate, and useful. Participation in a number of national survey projects-e.g., the Higher Education Research Institute survey of first-year students-will continue to provide information on Davidson College students and national norms against which they may be compared. In addition, surveys developed by the Office of Planning and Institutional Research to address particular questions from the Davidson College community will become part of that program.
Requests for statistical information come from a large number of external agencies, including the federal government, consortia, and publishers of college guides. The determination of appropriate and consistent definitions of the data elements upon which this information is based needs to be made in conjunction with other offices on campus, mindful of the constraints placed on these offices in terms of the specific and/or unique requirements of the external agencies themselves.
Internal Information Access
Requests for statistical information also come from internal offices and departments. Information provided must include not only the statistics themselves but the definitions and methodology used in their measurement.
Comparing Davidson's performance in many areas, ranging from applicant quality to financial expenditures, with institutions identified as peers is an on-going process. The Office of Planning and Institutional Research should be an active participant in that process, assisting in the development of a benchmarking system that will enable the College both to assess its relative place among institutions with similar missions and academic environments, and to set institutional priorities.