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Institutional Research Quarterly Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue 3
April 2004

About OIR

Mission Statement


About University Planning & Analysis


  • Al Menard,
    Associate Vice President

  • Susan Linn,
    Executive Assistant

Your comments about this newsletter are greatly appreciated.

2002-04 Research Notes
2002-04 Research Studies

Table of Contents

University Planning and Analysis and OIR staff have been busy with several major projects this winter. Below are links to important additions to our Web site.

Research Notes

Relationship Between Freshman Survey and
Continuing Student Survey Responses and
Academic Performance, Fall 2003

In Fall 2003 257 (7.6 percent) of the 3,388 Fall semester freshmen had a GPA less than 2.000.Like many institutions, JMU wants to understand what demographic or personal characteristics, if any, are associated with academic success as measured by GPA to identify students early in their career to provide appropriate interventions. National and institutional studies have shown that the following academic and personal characteristics are associated with academic success during the freshman year:

  • Academic engagement (time devoted to homework, asking questions in class, etc.)

  • Socio-economic status

  • High grades in high school

  • High SAT scores

  • Gender (female)

  • Engagement with other students (social engagement, expected gains in self-understanding)

  • Involvement with the institution (i.e., clubs, work)

Factors associated with higher freshman GPAs at JMU include:

  • Female gender
  • Fathers with at least some college education
  • Strong high school academic performance (A or A- average)
  • SAT scores equal to or higher than 1200
  • Students that reported that they both had an A average in high school and at least 1200 on the SAT
  • High school rank in top 10 percent
  • Students that said they were likely or very likely to contact their family frequently
  • Students that believe they will need to study 15 or more hours per week at JMU
  • Students that said they were likely or very likely to think about themselves differently as a result of being in college
  • Students that said they were very unlikely to seek personal counseling
  • Students that said their high school prepared them well in study habits
  • Students that said they were very active in high school organized athletics
  • Students that believed they had a very good chance of graduating with honors
  • Students that believed they were very likely to become involved in volunteer activities in college
  • Students that believed privacy is very important

Factors associated with higher grades by continuing students include:

  • Female gender

  • Caucasian students

  • Non-Virginia residents

  • First enrolled at JMU as a first-time freshmen instead of as a transfer

  • Students not enrolled in the College of Science and Mathematics or undeclared major

  • Students whose fathers and mothers at least attended college

  • Students whose annual family income is greater than $75,000

  • Students that disagreed or strongly disagreed that JMU places enough emphasis on academic advising

  • Students that indicated that they were not having difficulties studying efficiently

  • Students that indicated that they did not find it very difficult to earn satisfactory grades

  • Students that are satisfied or very satisfied with JMUís testing and grading system

  • Students that spend higher levels of time studying for classes

  • Students that have not used marijuana

  • Students that believe JMU is supportive

  • Students that believe JMU is emotionally healthy

  • Students that agree or strongly agree that JMU cares about student needs

  • Students that agree or strongly agree that their JMU experience so far is as good as they hoped

  • Students that agree or strongly agree that the GENED program prepares them to understand the development of western civilization and its interactions with other traditions within the global community

  • Students who agree or strongly agree that the GENED develops their awareness of both physical and emotional wellness

The full Research Notes may be viewed at: .

Facilities Inventory and Utilization Reports

Annually OIR and Space Management submit to SCHEV a facilities inventory file of all space on campus. We currently have more than 12,000 unique spaces in the file. The inventory has been placed online so that space can be reviewed by building.  Departments have the ability to search for space assigned to them.

JMU Performance Measures Database

The Office of Institutional Research has been collecting performance information for many years. Three years ago we began building a database of these performance measures. The database allows for fast updates and reviews of the data by year and category. The database may be viewed by clicking here.

JMU Portfolio

In December 2001 the JMU Portfolio was placed on the Web. This is a portal for anyone who wants to review data about the institution's effectiveness. Sections include a Profile of JMU (Mission Statement, Centennial Commission, Defining Characteristics; Statistics and Summaries) and Evidence of JMU's Effectiveness (Accreditation, Planning, Accomplishments, Annual Reports, Performance Measures; Perception Surveys.).

Common Data Set

Ever need to complete a survey with official JMU data? One very useful source of these data is the Common Data Set, prepared annually by OIR. The CDS is used by many national publications, including U.S. News & World Report.  Data included in the CDS: General Information; Enrollment and Persistence; Undergraduate Admissions ; Transfer Admissions; Academic Offerings and Policies; Student Life; Annual Expenses; Financial Aid; Instructional Faculty and Class Size; Degrees Conferred; and Definitions. The data for 2003-04 are now available.

Data Warehouse

OIR has been collecting data on students for many years. These data have been instrumental in policy and trend analysis. The office this year developed a data warehouse of information that will be expanded yearly. Chuck DeHart has done a very nice job with this.  The first search capabilities are now on the Web at the following address (Note: Access is only available from JMU computers):


JMU Alumni Surveys Update

In 2003-04 the Office of Institutional Research assumed responsibility for the annual survey of JMU graduates. The purpose of this survey is to gather information from recent graduates about their experiences in the workforce and in graduate school. As a parent of a JMU freshman, I am very interested in the type of jobs my son may get when he graduates. John (my son) and I asked this question during Freshman Orientation last summer. At that time the information was more than two years old.

Beginning in January and continuing through March two surveys were conducted. A survey of all 2001-02 graduates (N > 3,000) was distributed via mail and email. In March nonrespondents were contacted by telephone.  A final report will be delivered in May and posted on OIR's Web site.

In January and June online surveys will be conducted of the 2003-04 graduates to determine their work and graduate school activity after graduation. These data are being collected to assist several departments with accreditation information. Summary data will be available in September.

Major Trends At JMU, 1990-91 To 2002-03

James Madison University has changed dramatically in the last dozen years. The growth from 11,000 students to nearly 16,000 students has had a major impact on the university's academic offerings, physical plant, its faculty and staff, and the Harrisonburg community. While some changes have been fairly dramatic, some equally important changes have occurred slowly and only reveal their importance over a relatively long period of time.

You may view the entire study and associated data at:

Statistical Summaries (link to all online)

Annually OIR produces a Statistical Summary of important information about JMU. In 1995-96 OIR placed its first Statistical Summary on the web. All of the 2003-04 Statistical Summary tables are complete.


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