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2011 Conference

The Pacific Northwest Association for Institutional Research and Planning 2011 Conference was be held in Olympia, Washington from October 5th to the 7th. This was our 32nd annual conference.

The conference was held at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia.

We hope you had a great time in Olympia!


Collaborations, Partnerships and Data Sharing: A Path to Better Research.

Keynote Speaker: Hans L'Orange

HansLOrangeHans P. L'Orange is Vice President for Research and Information Resources for the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).

L'Orange serves as a liaison to foster communication, cooperation and collaboration between the U.S. federal government, state higher education agencies and national associations on issues related to data collection, data management and information dissemination. His primary areas of interest and responsibility are developing effective strategies for data management; the relationships between data, information and knowledge; and using knowledge resources effectively to impact public postsecondary education policy. L'Orange was previously the associate director for Institutional Analysis at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Wednesday, October 5th  

1:15-2:45 pm Pre Conference Workshops

Pre Conference Workshop
Creating a User-friendly excel-Based Tool to Answer Key Strategic enrollment Management/retention Questions
Cedar Room

Facilitator: Liny Chan, Analyst, Simon Fraser University
This workshop will show participants how to use Excel to create a user-friendly tool for answering key strategic enrolment management/retention questions. The objective is to show participants how to set up pivot tables that are easy for users to manipulate for strategic enrolment management purposes.


Pre Conference Workshop
Qualitative Methods Interest Group Meeting
Hemlock Room

Facilitator: Dawn Macdonald, PNAIRP President
Researchers with an interest in qualitative methods will have an opportunity to discuss methodologies, share best practices, and tap the wisdom of PNAIRP peers in this facilitated session. 


Thursday, October 6th

10:30 – 11:15 am Concurrent Sessions Block 1

Student Transitions Information Project—Collaboration, Partnerships, and Data Sharing in Action
Cedar Room

Mark Macias, Community Colleges of Spokane
Travis Merrigan, College Success Foundation
Through partnerships and data-sharing, the Student Transition Information Project (STIP) merges student data from K-12, National Student Clearinghouse, and community colleges to create longitudinal educational records for students in eastern and central Washington.  STIP then provides partners with information to help identify barriers to college entry. 

Breaking Through Privacy Barriers to Serve foster Youth in Higher education
Capital Room

Facilitator and Panelist: Christy England-Siegerdt, Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board
Panelists: Rachelle Sharpe, Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board
Carmen McKenzie, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
Juliette Knight, Department of Social and Health Services
The Passport to College Promise program was created in 2007 in Washington State as a six-year pilot to help youth from foster care attend and succeed in college.Implementing the program required innovative data-sharing agreements and methods between two state agencies who operate under different privacy laws. 

Collecting and reporting financial Aid - Lessons Learned
Hemlock Room

Jonathan Jacobs, University of Oregon
Collecting and reporting financial aid is complex. The Oregon University System has spent the last seven years working with campus stakeholders to develop a system-wide process for collecting and reporting all student financial aid. This session will discuss best practices, challenges, and pitfalls of collecting and reporting student-level financial aid data. 


11:30-12:15 pm Concurrent Sessions Block 2

Public Centralized Higher education enrollment System (PCHeeS) Higher education reporting
Cedar Room

Melissa Beard, Office of Financial Management - Washington Education Research & Data Center
The Public Centralized Higher Education Enrollment System (PCHEES) collects data on behalf of Washington public four-year institutions, and soon will include public two-year institutions data.  Come see what PCHEES already provides and share ideas about how PCHEES can provide information in other meaningful ways for decision-makers and the public.

Visualizing Persistence to College-Level Math: A faculty-IR collaboration
Capital Room

Tonya Benton, MA, Highline Community College
Helen Burn, PhD, Professor, Highline Community College
Does curriculum reform affect students’ patterns of persistence through the pre­college mathematics curriculum? This presentation uses an IR data visualization tool (Tableau) to operationalize persistence and focuses on the collaboration with mathematics faculty to compare curricular pathways to college-math attainment—a key predictor of students earning a credential.

Survey Design 101
Hemlock Room

Karen Matheson, University of Washington Seattle – College of Education
When called upon to survey student populations where do you start? What constructs are you trying to measure? What questions should you ask? How should you ask them? This quick introduction will present a simple framework researchers can use during the survey development process as well as highlight best practices in survey questionnaire construction.


2:00 – 2:45 pm Concurrent Sessions Block 3

The Use of Data Mining to Identify At-risk Students:  A Theoretical framework and Practical Application
Cedar Room

Darby A. Kaikkonen, South Puget Sound Community College
An extensive review of retention literature reveals differences in the conceptual frameworks between four-year colleges and community colleges. The purpose of this research is to a) identify retention factors in the literature specific to community colleges and b) test those factors as significant predictors of second year retention for a given population using the data mining technique of decision tree analysis. The results indicate that continuous enrollment (second and third quarter retention), full time status, and the engagement variables of evening and eLearning student status are the significant predictors of whether or not a student will return for a second year.

Using SPSS Syntax to facilitate and Document Complex Data Manipulation for reoccurring reporting Purposes
Capital Room

Mary Beth Sanders, Portland State University
David Burgess, Portland State University
Institutional researchers are often required to adhere to predefined and complex data definitions for annual reporting purposes. This presentation will explore contexts in which SPSS syntax can be used to ensure accuracy, repeatability and transparency through data processing and documentation. The financial aid reporting definitions,as proposed in the Common Data Set, will be used to illustrate a process for utilizing SPSS syntax to restructure datasets and run analyses that meet complicated data definition specifications,

Low-Income Community College Students’ finance Choices During a recession
Hemlock Room

Rachelle Sharpe, PhD, Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board
Low-income community college students take advantage of various finance options during a recession.  A recent study evaluated differences among financially dependent and independent community college students receiving state financial aid to determine whether they attend part-time in order to reduce the cost of attending school, work to pay for school expenses, or take out student loans to cover their expenses.


3:15 – 4:00 pm Concurrent Sessions Block 4

Transition Programs – Pre-College to College Partnerships at the Institute for extended Learning
Cedar Room

Benjamin Wolfe, Institute for Extended Learning
The Institute for Extended Learning (IEL) has five programs that focus on the development and success of ABE students wishing to attend college and/or gain employment. This presentation explores the findings of a study done to evaluate the effectiveness of each program and opportunities to improve.

Using financial Aid Support to Model Probability of Student Success,Incorporating a Comparison of the Predictive Accuracy of Logistic regression and Gradient Boosting
Capital Room


Adam Watson, University of Alaska Statewide Planning and Institutional Research
This two-part study explores financial aid and other student characteristics as predictors of retention and graduation. In the first part, logistic regression is used for inference and prediction. In the second part, the predictive accuracy of logistic regression and gradient boosting are compared using simulated data and real-world student data.

Assessment Basics
Hemlock Room

Anne Marie Karlberg, Whatcom Community College
This presentation provides an introduction to assessment. Assessment will be defined, components of successful assessment programs will be identified, three types of indicators will be discussed, and examples of each will be provided. Three levels of assessment and the phases of creating effective outcomes assessment processes will be discussed.


4:15 – 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions Block 5

Workforce connections in higher education: What Ir directors should know about using workforce data 
Cedar Room

Melissa Beard, Washington Education Research & Data Center
Carol Jenner, Washington Education Research & Data Center
Jim Posey, University of Washington-Tacoma
Many states are developing data systems that support seamless, coordinated preschool-to-career experience for all learners. These data systems, known as “P-20/Workforce” or “P-20/W” can potentially exemplify the benefits of collaborations, partnerships, and data-sharing when used to inform decision-makers. Higher education is involved in two important transitions addressed by P-20/W systems :the transitions from secondary to postsecondary education and the transition from postsecondary education to career.  In this presentation a P-20 researcher and IR Director will demonstrate types of analyses a higher education institution can perform when student data is linked with workforce data. The P-20 researcher will illustrate different types of questions that can be answered and the IR director will show how this can be helpful in decision-making.  Data sharing and data governance topics will also be discussed.

Increasing Qualitative research Capacity:  A Collaborative Approach
Capital Room

Ronald Smith, Portland Community College
Karen Paez, Portland Community College
Heather Guevara, Portland Community College
Collaboration between IR, Sylvania campus administration and key faculty/staff (all members of the Sylvania Diversity Council), led to the design and funding of a series of focus groups exploring the African-American student experience.  Information gained from the data analysis will be used to make recommendations to improve student success.

A Comparison of Transfer and Continuing juniors in STeM Courses
Hemlock Room

Lina Lu, Portland State University
This presentation will provide a comprehensive comparison of academic performance for STEM students (transfer juniors vs continuing juniors) at a 4-year university by tracking their success in STEM courses; term-to-term retention of the junior year and following years; and their STEM majors persistence. The presentation also analyzes the transfer STEM students’ characteristics, and their graduation rates compared to those who entered the university at their freshman year. The results will provide useful information for university faculty members, administrators, student services, and related services to re-think how to help those students with their degree completion. Implementations will also be discussed at the end of the presentation.


Friday October 7

9:00 – 9:45 am Concurrent Sessions Block 6

Transfer Students’ Perceptions of Learning and engagement:  Collaboration Between Two-Year and four-Year Institutions
Cedar Room

Maureen Pettitt, Ph.D., Skagit Valley College
Beth Hartsoch, M.A, Western Washington University
Skagit Valley College (SVC) and Western Washington University (WWU) have collaborated on several studies over the years to examine the outcomes for former SVC students as well as to survey current and former SVC students about potential WWU program offerings. The most recent collaboration between the two IR offices involves looking at data from the two surveys WWU routinely administers with transfer students:  the Entering Transfer Student Survey and the Undergraduate Exit Survey. The study examines variables from the WWU surveys to better understand how former SVC students perceive their engagement and experiences at Skagit and while enrolled at WWU. This session will provide participants with a brief background of the WWU surveys, how the data were shared, an overview of the findings, and how the results were used at Skagit Valley College.

Tuition and enrollment at 4-Year Public Universities: evidence from a northwest State
Capital Room

Abdus Shahid, Oregon University System
The relationship between tuition and enrollment at public colleges has become significant in recent years because of the prevailing economic hardship that is forcing budget cuts by the states in educational sectors. This paper will present evidence on how enrollment at 4-year public universities in Oregon is likely to be affected by tuition increases given the realities of today’s economy. Historical data on unemployment, inflation, and population and economic growth in Oregon along with tuition and fees and enrollment at seven public universities will be used to determine the tuition elasticity of demand for higher education in Oregon.


10:00 – 10:45 am Concurrent Sessions Block 7

Boards of Trustees and Student Success:  Connecting Data and Policy
Cedar Room

Maureen Pettitt, Ph.D., Skagit Valley College
David Prince, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
The session will describe the establishment and goals of the Governance Institute for Student Success (GISS) and an overview of the student success topics.  In addition,we will discuss the characteristics of the state-level student achievement database used for this activity, how data were selected for presentation at GISS, and how the data were integrated into discussions so that Boards could consider potential policy based on their college data and the promising student success practices presented during the institute.  Finally, we will provide examples how GISS influenced subsequent Board discussions about student success and policy.

Sharing Data Across State Lines & Across State Agencies:  A Project in Motion
Capital Room

Christy England-Siegerdt , Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board
Pearl Iboshi, University of Hawaii
Andy Mehl, Idaho Office of the State Board of Education
Michael Rebar, Oregon Department of Education
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is leading a three-year pilot project designed to connect data systems spanning K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce from four western states.  State or system level education representatives from participating states will provide an overview of the project then discuss their observations and experiences with the project to date.


11:15 – 11:45 noon Concurrent Sessions Block 8

Showcase: Using GIS to Map Public High School recruitment Yield by region for the University of Alaska
Cedar Room

Laura Delisle,  University of Alaska Fairbanks
This study uses GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software to map recruitment of public high school graduates to the University of Alaska by region, and compares this information with regional characteristics such as median income and demographics by exploiting university, state, and national databases.

Building an Institutional research function from Scratch: An example from a for-Profit College of nursing
Capital Room

Stephanie M. Dykes, Ph.D., Chamberlain College of Nursing
This presentation describes the creation of an institutional research and quality assessment function at a for-profit college of nursing, including rationale for its creation, steps taken to create it, obstacles to overcome, keys to success, lessons learned, and an update on the current state of IR at this institution.