LAWRENCE — Over the past five decades, the University of Kansas has benefited from the work of the Office of Institutional Research & Planning and, more recently, through the Business Intelligence Center. As KU evolves to meet new challenges in higher education, there are significant opportunities to rethink how the university benefits from a single entity that brings together the strength of OIRP and BIC. Toward this end, the two offices have merged to become the Office of Analytics & Institutional Research (AIR), and staff will work to meet the data, information and analytical needs of the Lawrence campus and KU central administration.
“KU has a long history of collecting and using data to guide key decisions that shape the goals and progress of our university,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “It’s clear to me that the need for data-backed decisions will only continue to grow, and to meet this challenge it is crucial that we have a strong integrated team leading these efforts.”
AIR staff members will work to expand the analytical resources available to campus. Longtime Director of OIRP Deb Teeter’s decision to retire contributed to the decision to combine OIRP and BIC. Teeter will continue to serve the university on special projects after she enters phased retirement beginning in July. Nick Stevens, director of BIC, will lead the AIR team and report to Diane Goddard, KU chief financial officer and vice provost for finance at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
The new office will continue to provide the university community, the Kansas Board of Regents, and other state and federal agencies with core information about KU enrollment, staffing and faculty engagement. AIR staff also will manage a number of crucial systems that extract and organize data needed for gaining insight and making decisions.
“It is important to note that the changes are all meant to improve services,” Lejuez said, “and we expect to continue to provide the same existing services many in our community have come to rely on including benchmarking and program review statistics, visual analytics, analytical support for finance and budget development.”
AIR also will offer services such as faculty and staff studies, student and campuswide survey administration, and assessment and outcome studies. Services previously offered through BIC — such as data organization, data model development and toolset design — will continue through AIR.
Of particular note, AIR is being developed with an eye toward close bidirectional collaboration with data stakeholders across the university. This will include a focus on how AIR can regularly push needed data through its user dashboards and other readily available resources, and strategies to highlight responsivity to requests as needed by members of the KU community. This change also will include purposeful integration of students, staff and faculty into the structure of the organization and the services provided through creation of an advisory board that Stevens will soon establish. AIR will conduct regular evaluations of its services to gather feedback and guide changes related to limitations in existing services and evolving needs caused by the rapidly changing higher education landscape.
Staff members will primarily be housed in the St. Andrews Office Facility at 15th Street and Kasold Drive in Lawrence. Requests for data, analytical assistance or questions about Tableau or Oracle Analytics Cloud can be directed to the Analytics & Institutional Research Help Account email address, or by calling 785-864-4412.
The newly launched AIR website includes links for the KU Profiles Fact Book, analytical/reporting toolsets (DEMIS, OAC, Tableau), Retention & Graduation Reports and other links common to the OIRP website. The websites for OIRP and BIC now redirect to the new AIR site. A full website redesign will occur in the future.