Director of the Office of
As director of the Office of Institutional Research (OIR), Jacque Frost leads the office that serves as the go-to resource for information about Purdue students, faculty, staff and resources. Recalling these facts and figures would require an almost superhuman memory, but the six-person OIR team has networks of resources capable of drawing University data from campus and beyond.
What does the Office of Institutional Research do?
OIR was established in 2001 as a resource for essential institutional data and analysis. We handle the metrics of data that are collected about Purdue and use it for internal purposes, such as the Data Digest, or external purposes, such as U.S. News rankings. Our office is responsible for a wide variety of projects that range from all-encompassing strategic plans to shorter ad hoc projects requested by executive offices. We also handle federal reporting for surveys, provide data for collaborative data sharing among universities and compile governance reports for the Board of Trustees.
We've also been releasing OIR Monthly Reports for the past year. These reports, which are posted on our website at www.purdue.edu/oir/publications.html, cover a wide variety of topics. For example, in May we compiled data about the West Lafayette campus's workforce, and in June we released data related to sustainability. These reports have been very well received and have generated a lot of interest.
What other reports does OIR produce?
At the Data Digest page, found at www.purdue.edu/datadigest, we offer information on many topics, but one thing campus community members may not know is that college-level data on students, and faculty and staff are available. For example, the college-level data includes enrollment figures by categories such as residency and race/ethnicity in adition to credit hour information. Details on faculty and staff by college are also available by college. There is a wealth of data available in the Data Digest, that may not be on a lot of folks' radars.
In the past year, we've also worked to produce an internal report to the Provost's Office and academic areas about data at the academic program level. That's a very exciting project, because in the past, most of the reports we have produced have been at the university or college level; it's the first time since my tenure, that the University has done a comprehensive and detailed look, data-wise, at all academic programs. For the future, we're looking at ways to make that information available on a wider scale to the campus community.
How have your previous positions prepared you for your position as director of OIR?
When I was in college, there was no institutional research concentration, so many people just fell into this area, myself included. My undergraduate degree was in psychology and I have my master's in educational research. During my master's work at the University of Pittsburgh, I began to really understand and embrace my interest in compiling data and participating in research and analytical work. I finished my doctorate at Oregon State University, where I was also director of institutional research.
When my husband, who is on the faculty, and I moved to West Lafayette, I had already developed a strong background in institutional research. Unfortunately, at that time Purdue did not have an office dedicated solely to that area. Instead, I started in 1995 as the associate registrar for research in the Office of the Registrar. That role mostly focused on student data instead of the broad spectrum of institutional data I had experienced in my previous positions at Oregon State University and Indiana State University. In hindsight, my time in the Registrar's Office proved quite valuable when OIR was organized and I was named director in 2001.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I like being able to provide University decision-makers with the information they need to formulate and implement policies and make data-driven decisions. There's a lot of data out there, but I find it challenging and rewarding to tailor that information to an individual's particular needs and also to do in-depth analyses on a particular subject. I enjoy being part of such a wonderful team of colleagues — they make coming to work so much fun and productive.
I enjoy how unpredictable any given day is in this office. I may come to work expecting to continue work on a long-term project when an ad hoc project suddenly comes up. Coordinating these projects is always a challenge and keeps me on my feet.