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Institutional Research Newsletter

Volume 5, Issue 2
March 2005

About OIR

Mission Statement

Staff:

About University Planning & Analysis

Staff:

  • Al Menard,
    Associate Vice President
  • Susan Linn,
    Executive Assistant

Your comments about this newsletter are greatly appreciated.

2002-05 Research Notes

Performance Measures

The Office of Institutional Research maintains a database of the most important  performance measures. Continuously updated, this is a good source of important information about JMU. The database can be accessed by clicking here.

Data Warehouse

Spring 2005 census data and preliminary spring course enrollment data can be found in the OIR Data Warehouse. We also added full-time equivalent student statistics to the census detail. If you have not already done so, be sure to see the other historical data available on admissions and degrees conferred. Contact us if there are any other views of this historical data that might be good to present for the JMU community. OIR Data Warehouse: http://web.jmu.edu/oir/

 

 

Table of Contents

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

New Position:
Assistant Director for Evaluation and Survey Research

The Office of Institutional Research is pleased to announce that a national search is being conducted for an Assistant Director for Evaluation and Survey Research. This new, full-time, permanent position will consult with administrative offices on program reviews, coordinate all the major university surveys conducted by OIR, and assist with other OIR research projects. We hope to fill this position by July 1. A full description of the position can be found at: http://www.airweb.org/page.asp?page=541&job=1048 . Faculty and staff who know individuals that might be good candidates for the position are urged to send the announcement to them.

Research Notes
Increase in the Four-Year Graduation Rate

James Madison University has a distinguished history of high retention and graduation rates. Within its group of 24 peers, JMUís one-year retention rate ranks in a tie for third at 91 percent. The median one-year retention rate for the peer group is 82 percent. JMUís six-year graduation rate also ranks in a tie for third at 80 percent. The peer groupís median six-year graduation rate is 61 percent.  

The one-year retention rate and the six-year graduation rate are probably the most frequently used measures of undergraduate success. Generally, these two statistics do not change much from one year to the next. Even the significant growth in JMU undergraduate students, around 50 percent over the past twelve years, has not had a significant impact on the overall rates.  

However, there is some very good news between the first-year retention and six-year graduation rates. The percentage of JMU students graduating in four-years has increased for the past six freshman classes. 

The four-year graduation rate has increased from 58.3 percent for the fall 1994 freshman cohort to 62.7 percent for the fall 2000 freshman cohort. Inversely, the percentage continuing into their fifth year to complete the undergraduate degree has declined from 21.3 percent to 15.6 percent. Each percentage point represents about 30 students.  

Some national data also reveal the same good news about four-year graduation rates, although JMU continues to have higher rates overall. Data from the Center for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) show that the collective four-year graduation rate for 97 highly-selective institutions has increased from 38.8 percent for the fall 1994 freshman class to 43.9 percent for the class of 1999. Again, the fifth-year continuation rate has declined from 31.8 percent to 30.2 percent across the same freshman cohorts.

The full Research Notes and tables may be viewed at: http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/notes/Vol19No1.pdf .

May 2004 Graduates' Advice to New Freshmen

In May and June OIR distributed an alumni employment survey to new graduates. One question they were asked to answer was: "Looking back on your academic career at JMU, what is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshman that you wished you had received?” A summary of actual comments was posted on the OIR Web site at http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/oir_highlight.shtml.

The comments were divided into several categories: Ask Questions; Campus Life; People; Classes; Life After JMU; Majors; Work Habits; Have Fun!; Teachers; Advising; Extracurricular Activities; Balance; Personal Values; Internships; Study Abroad.

JMU Alumni Employment Surveys

The Office of Institutional Research is responsible for conducting two alumni employment surveys. The survey of 2002-03 graduates was first deployed in January 2005. So far, more than 37 percent of the 02-03 graduates have responded, and we expect the return rate to exceed 40 percent. Summaries of the findings will be sent to departments prior to orientation. The 2004-05 graduates are surveyed within 60 days of their graduation via email and the Web. Approximately 35 percent of the August and December 2004 graduations have completed the survey. Summary information on this survey will be available in late summer after the May graduates have been surveyed. Summaries of surveys conducted may be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/SurveyData.shtml .

Fall 2004 Continuing Student Survey

The annual Fall Continuing Student Survey was completed by more than 2,800 students. The results have been summarized and can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/ie/Surveys/ContStuSurvey2004.pdf .

May 2004 Graduates' Thoughts on Faculty

In May and June OIR distributed an alumni employment survey to new graduates. One question they were asked to answer was: "Can you think of any JMU faculty who had a particularly important impact on you? In shaping the way you think about yourself, or life, or the world around you, or your future? If yes, without naming the faculty member, tell us what this faculty member did that had such a strong impact." The following major themes emerged from the comments: Quality Learning Experience; Took Time To Care; Knowledge of Subject; Cares About Lives of Students; Concerned About Students’ Careers. A summary of the actual comments can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/surveys/Alumni/FacultyComments.pdf .

May 2004 Graduates' Advice to New Freshmen

In May and June OIR distributed an alumni employment survey to new graduates. One question they were asked to answer was: "Looking back on your academic career at JMU, what is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshman that you wished you had received?” A summary of actual comments was posted on the OIR Web site at http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/oir_highlight.shtml.

The comments were divided into several categories: Ask Questions; Campus Life; People; Classes; Life After JMU; Majors; Work Habits; Have Fun!; Teachers; Advising; Extracurricular Activities; Balance; Personal Values; Internships; Study Abroad.

2004-05 Statistical Summary

The 2004-05 JMU Statistical Summary has been completed and published in full on the Web. Kudos to Chuck DeHart (Assistant Director and editor), Tina Grace, Rosemary Brenner and Horatiu Stancu for compiling and publishing the data. The Statistical Summary can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/statsum.shtml .

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