Rashmi Gupta, manager, Institutional Research and Planning
Ever know of anyone who grew up aware of, or aspired to a career in Institutional Research and Planning? Yet it is one of the most rewarding fields. If you think things through, like to learn new things, connect the dots and play Sherlock Holmes, have a can-do attitude, and can successfully interpret and use the derived information, you have the key attributes to be successful in this field. The rest of the skill-sets can be acquired (remember, you like learning new things and have a can-do attitude?)
Institutional Research and Planning functions have been around for a couple of decades – at least as long as there has been a need for reporting and summating. However, it is in more recent history that Institutional Research and Planning has become a force to reckon with – thanks to the technological revolution, greater informational awareness, and increased desire for accountability and transparency. This is what we do here at Durham College!
We provide information support for decision making, planning and due diligence reporting. Our forte is gathering useful data, tracking and converting data into information to inform a wide array of requisites such as quality assurance, student support, program growth, new program development, and ad-hoc queries from internal and external stakeholders. Research methodologies, statistical and survey software, and our analytical skills are the tools that we use to problem-solve. However, ours is a collaborative undertaking; we rely on front line offices such as Office of the Registrar for front-end valid data collation, on IT Services to support us with the servers, networking, data architecture and tools to support appropriate data storage, translation and extraction, and finally our end-users to help us ask the right questions. What is the litmus test for the right question? It supports Success Matters – that of our students, graduates, colleagues and community!
You will hear from other Institutional Research and Planning members as well on this blog – we will share our reporting triumphs, experiences, favourite projects, bouquets and brickbats, pet peeves and all. I hope you will continue to come back here and allow us to be a part of your thoughts.