Institutional Research Office

Group of graduates at commencement

The mission of the Office of Institutional Research is to collect, integrate, and analyze institutional and external data to support institutional decision-making, planning, and policy development.

The Institutional Research Offices are located at 633 Clark Street Rebecca Crown Center - West Tower, 1st floor.

Institutional Research Staff

Amit Prachand
Assistant Vice President, Information & Analytics

Debbie Crimmins
Associate Director of Institutional Research

Paul Schatz
 Assistant Director of Institutional Research

Jason Ripple
Institutional Research Analyst


Office Goals

  • Provide a wide range of information and analyses in support of planning and policy making including:
    • Annual University Benchmarks report that provides key performance indicators compared to peers and presents trends. The report contains confidential data based on consortia agreements, thus the audience is restricted to senior management and the Board of Trustees. The process for producing the report has been streamlined through the development of supporting databases. In addition, a more thorough review of the measures/indicators included in the report will be conducted with institutional experts.
    • Management update report on key internal performance indicators for senior management and Trustees that is produced for each Board of Trustees Executive Committee meeting. Annual on-line data book, for general University reference which is publicly available on the Northwestern web-site.
    • Special analyses to support ad-hoc planning and decision making for the Trustees and senior management.
  • Collaborate with key functional areas of the University on analytical projects in support of decision making, including the following:
    • Provost’s Office
    • Business and Finance
      • Budget Planning
      • Controller’s Office
      • Human Resource
    • University Enrollment
    • The Graduate School
    • Office for Research
    • Change Management
    • Information Technology
    • Deans’ Office
  • Initiate and maintain databases for internal and external reporting and to support complex analyses, including the following subject areas:
    • Faculty
    • Staff
    • Student records (enrollments, degrees, courses, etc.
    • Graduate student funding
    • Student survey
    • Other cross-system/integrated data
    • Peer data from consortia data exchanges (see below)
  • Represent the University in consortia and data exchanges including the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and the American Association of Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE)
    • Prepare and submit Northwestern exchange data and serve as steward of and provide access to consortia data to key decision-makers at Northwestern.
    • Engage in the setting of priorities by consortia to align our institutional data needs with consortia priorities as much as possible.
    • Utilize consortia as source for information on best practices for key decision-makers at Northwestern.
    • Analyze Northwestern’s faculty survey data based on AAUDE core questions.
    • Participate in AAU Institutional Data Committee Implementation Task Force to complete an implementation plan and pilot recommended new consortium data collections.
    • Through AAUDE caretaker role improve exchange of IPEDS finance survey data.
    • Coordinate responses to AAUDE ad-hoc requests.
  • Convene the University’s Student Surveys Planning Group
    • Coordinate the conducting of student surveys across the campus to best meet the needs of the community and to inform policy and decision making.
    • Analyze and make available student survey data in partnership with both central and school staff to inform decision making.
    • Integrate data from a variety of student surveys to answer questions that cross any single survey.
    • Explore ways to improve response rates to surveys to provide data that is representative and unbiased.
    • Administer all COFHE or AAUDE student, alumni and parent surveys.
    • Conduct the annual CIRP/HERI entering freshman survey.
  • Coordinate and submit data for external reporting to government agencies
    • IPEDS ( Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) and other requests from the federal government.
    • Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE)
  • Respond to higher education issues and external rankings as they relate to the University
    • Assist Associate Provost of University Enrollment in providing data for US News Best Colleges Rankings, analyze Northwestern’s position relative to peers, and coordinate our response to any changes.
    • Collaborate with the Graduate School in analyzing the data that will be released by the National Research Council’s (NRC) for their forthcoming assessment of doctorate programs report.
    • Monitor and prepare to respond to higher education reporting needs related to accountability, assessment and accreditation.
  • Provide support to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education in the area of assessment through student and alumni surveys and other activities as determined by the University’s plans for assessment.
  • Serve on and advise key University-wide task forces and committees.
  • Review and enhance the IR website to better serve the University community.
  • Provide direct analytical services to the University Enrollment Office via a shared senior analyst position.