Institutional Research Newsletter

Volume 7, Issue 1
October 2006

About OIR

Mission Statement


About University Planning & Analysis


Your comments about this newsletter are greatly appreciated.

2003-06 Research Notes


OIR was awarded a grant ($250,000 equivalent) from WebSurveyor Corporation in 2004 to use their Web surveying software at JMU. Since 2004 many staff, faculty and students have been trained in the software. The software has been used for faculty and student research projects and for program reviews by several departments. Some academic departments and colleges use the software to conduct student evaluations of instruction.

Individuals and departments wishing to use the software can obtain access to the software by attending two two-hour training sessions offered by the Center for Instructional Technology.

New Studies

Why do some students remain at JMU and others decide to leave? Until recently sufficient quantitative and qualitative data have not existed to investigate the factors that are associated with retention at JMU. The purpose of this study was to learn more about students who leave JMU so as to identify variables within the control of JMU that could be changed to facilitate these students remaining at JMU. To view this study click here.

An overwhelming percentage of alumni would recommend JMU to potential new students. In recent years OIR has devoted significant research to understand the JMU experience for students and graduates. Graduates are asked to state the most positive and negative factors in their JMU experience that would lead them to recommend or not recommend JMU. They also  describe what faculty did that had a particularly positive impact on their JMU experiences. The purpose of this study is to summarize what recent graduates believe to be the most important aspects of their JMU experience.  To view this study click here.

Table of Contents

University Planning and Analysis and OIR staff have been busy with several major projects for the past few months. Below are links to important additions to our Web site.

Research Notes

The Office of Institutional Research has published five Research Notes this academic year. These include:

All Research Notes published since 1995 may be viewed at:

Faculty In Transition

This study of instructional faculty was designed to explore the ways the JMU faculty have changed since 1986 and provide useful information to the university community. As a result of these analyses, several important trends have emerged.

         The number of full-time faculty has grown at a higher rate than increases in students. The percentage of faculty with tenure decreased significantly in the last six years to 45 percent. Since 1997-98 the number of FTE students per full-time faculty has decreased by more than 2.6.

         The percentage of faculty holding the terminal degree increased from 70 percent in 1986 to 80 percent in 2005, but is down from 84 percent in 2002.

         The JMU faculty is more diverse than in 1986. Non-Caucasian faculty increased from four percent in 1986 to eight percent in 2005. However, the rate has been as high as  10 percent in 2002. Women now constitute 42 percent of faculty, up from 26 percent in 1986.

         The JMU faculty is more likely to have come to JMU in the last five years. Almost half of faculty (42 percent) has five years or less experience at JMU, compared with 32 percent in 1990. The median years of experience decreased from 11 in 1990 to 7 in 2005.

         Fifty-seven percent of new tenure-track assistant professors are still employed by JMU after seven years. Of the 56 faculty hired between 1986 and 1993 that were still employed after seven years, 54 were also employed after 12 years at JMU.

         Annual changes in the average JMU faculty salary since 1986-87 ranged from 10.1 percent in 1989-90 to –1.8 percent in 1992-93. Annual changes in total compensation (salary + fringe benefits) ranged from 10.8 percent in 1989-90 to –4.0 percent in 1991-92. In 2004-05 and 2005-06 total compensation increased by 6.0% and 5.2%, respectively. In 2005-06 benefits accounted for 32.0 percent of total compensation, up from 27.2 percent in 2002-03. This reflects increasing medical costs borne by the Commonwealth.

         JMU’s average faculty salary has increased by 27 percent since 1996-97, compared with 28 percent for its peers. The average salary ($63,684) is now $3,000 below the stated 60th percentile goal.

         The most recent student-to-faculty ratio, 16.6:1, is the lowest in the last ten years, down from 19.2:1 in 1997.

The full report can be found at OIR's Web Site.

The Economic Impact of JMU on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Community

OIR completed a study of the economic impacts of JMU on the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community. Data were collected by OIR with the assistance of other JMU offices and sent to the Virginia Employment Commission. The VEC used software to analyze and project the economic impacts on the local community. The final report can be reviewed here.

Evaluation and Survey Research

OIR now offers consultation services in the areas of program evaluation and survey research. Our goal is to assist programs in creating on-going program evaluation practices to gather data on program functioning. To this end, we will advise on all phases of the evaluation process. JMU is fortunate to have use of WebSurveyor, a web-based survey delivery tool. The tool, though, is only as effective as the content. Our survey consultation provides individuals with direction on all phases of the survey process, from writing good survey questions to choosing the best data analysis approaches.

JMU Alumni Employment Surveys

The Office of Institutional Research is responsible for conducting two alumni employment surveys. The survey of 2003-04 graduates is complete. The 2005-06 graduates are surveyed within 60 days of their graduation via email and the Web. 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:

2005-06 Statistical Summary

The 2005-06 is complete. All  tables have been added for 2005-06. New pages for 2006-07 are being added. You are invited to look at these tables at the address below.

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

Data on census, majors and preliminary course enrollment are current through Spring 2006. "Preliminary Course Enrollment" allows one to search by course and abbreviation for enrollment and credit hour production long before data for the official "Course Enrollment" search pages are complete in August. 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 to the JMU community.

 OIR Data Warehouse:

Picture It! JMU

OIR recruited 18 new first-time students to participate in a year-long project to document their first-year experience through photography and blogging. The objective is to learn about the first-year experience through their eyes. What are the most significant people and events in their experience? What about JMU works well for them? What does not? By May we plan to have a website devoted to their photos and comments about JMU. More to come.