Mission and Policies
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For more information on any of these policies or to discuss a specific project, please contact OIR.

Institutional Research and Assessment Coordination

In order to maximize the University’s research and assessment efforts, all University research and assessment* projects that collect student, alumni, faculty, and/or staff feedback will be coordinated through the Office of Institutional Research.

The purpose of this policy is to optimize

  • the quality of research conducted;
  • the participation of our constituents in data collection efforts; and
  • the use of resources by combining, when appropriate, the research needs of individual units and the institution.

This policy does not replace the need for Institutional Review Board approval to conduct certain research and assessment projects.

* This does not include student ratings or course embedded assessments.


To ensure consistency in reporting, OIR is the University’s official source of institutional data. OIR coordinates the collection and reporting of data for a variety of external and internal purposes (e.g., U. S. News & World Report, New York State Education Department, and the Syracuse University Fact Book). OIR is prepared to assist other offices in obtaining data necessary to complete additional reports for which they are responsible.

National Research Studies

OIR encourages the University’s involvement in national research studies in which faculty, staff, and/or students are asked to participate. (Instruments that gather institutional data for reporting and rankings, such as U. S. News & World Report, are not national research studies. For more information, see the section on Reporting.)

National research studies are most beneficial when

  • the focus is aligned with the University’s vision,
  • the data provide the University with information that will be used for quality improvement,
  • the data are not already available,
  • the other participating institutions constitute an appropriate comparison group,
  • stakeholders have been consulted,
  • the methodology is sound, and
  • adequate resources are available to conduct the research.

OIR must verify that these conditions are substantially met before the University commits to participation in a national research study.

Internal Research

OIR conducts research on topics of importance to the University, such as retention and campus climate. Research topics are prioritized based on

  • the significance of the study for advancing institutional knowledge,
  • the potential usefulness of results for improvement, and
  • the availability of necessary resources.

Sponsored Research

Many sponsored research proposals require assessment or evaluation plans. At the request of the principal investigator, OIR may provide support in the development and the implementation of these plans. Consultation on the formation of an assessment plan based on measurable outcomes should occur early in the grant proposal process. If OIR will partner on the implementation of the assessment plan, a budget will be created. A final copy of the grant proposal that includes the assessment budget, if appropriate, should be provided to OIR.

OIR must be consulted prior to a proposal submission if a project includes the collection of data from students, faculty, and/or staff. Principal investigators should review the policy on Institutional Research and Assessment Coordination.


Upon request OIR will assist in the development and review of accreditation self-studies. This includes providing institutional data and supporting on-going efforts to assess learning outcomes.


OIR supports assessment undertaken by faculty and/or staff, within capacity, by providing the following services:

  • consultation to determine outcomes and assessment methods
  • instrument development
  • data collection, entry, and/or processing
  • data analysis and interpretation
  • reporting

These services are provided without cost. Other expenditures associated with assessment, such as material costs (letterhead, mailings, scan forms), incentives, processing of scan forms, and room rentals, are covered by the requesting department/unit.

Sponsored Programs

Sponsored programs (e.g., HEOP, SSS) requesting OIR’s assessment support are required to consult with OIR prior to grant submission. OIR will assist in the development of the assessment plan. A final copy of the grant proposal should be provided to OIR.