Institutional research as a best practice in driving evidence based decision making: A review of the operations of the Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus

This reflective study seeks to examine the extent to which data-driven assessment, undertaken through institutional research, has been strengthened to guide decision making at the St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI). This was identified as an evident weakness of the Campus in the Institutional Accreditation Review of 2011. Special attention is given to the role of the Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research (COPIR) in not only leading the effort of Institutional Research, supported by a Business Intelligence (BI) system, but also in providing the empirical data to measure institutional performance and assessment. The study draws on some specific projects that were undertaken by COPIR to provide evidence of particular findings and emerging trends in student and graduate enrolment, progression, and attrition, as well as feedback gathered from institutional surveys. The data generated have served to inform campus management decision making, and support the development of policy, practice, and process more strategically. In an environment where higher education is continuously evolving and where institutions are being held more accountable, institutional research will play an increasingly more important role in responding to the needs of its various stakeholders. It is therefore imperative that COPIR strive to strengthen its capacity to provide evidence-based information to improve the rigours of an information management system, whilst drawing on the comparative work of peer institutions and keeping abreast of disciplinary best practices.
Paper presented at the Regional Conference on Institutionalising Best Practice in Higher Education, UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, 24-26 June, 2015.
Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UWI; Quality Assurance Unit, UWI
Table of Contents
Strategic planning, Institutional research, Higher education, Decision making, Assessment data, Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research, UWI, St. Augustine