HEDS COVID-19 Institutional Response Surveys

The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) created three surveys - one each for students, faculty, and staff - to gauge the impact of institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Optional modules for both the student and faculty surveys included open-ended questions about experiences with teaching and learning in the online environment initiated by the pandemic.

Lawrence collaborated with HEDS to administer all three surveys, including optional modules and supplemental questions, to better understand the impact of Lawrence's responses to the pandemic on the campus community. HEDS provided a series of publicly available summary reports and overall data from the Spring 2020 Survey administration.

International Student Retention and Graduation Rate Analysis

Our office was approached by Student Life to conduct retention and graduation rate analysis on the international student population. Sarah Dunnagan took lead on this project, pulling data over a 12-year period. Findings were summarized and shared with colleagues from Academic Affairs, Admissions, Center for Academic Success, Diversity and Inclusion, Financial Aid, and Student Life in June 2020.  

IPEDS Technical Review Panel #59: Data Visualization Using IPEDS Data (2019)

RTI International, the contractor for the IPEDS Data Collection, invited Kristin McKinley to a Technical Review Panel (TRP) meeting in June 2019 at the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in Washington, DC. The purpose of this TRP extends what was learned from the TRP #58 “Exploring Best Practices in Data Visualizations” meeting that convened other organizations (i.e., federal agencies, postsecondary institutions, research, and other non-education) to discuss effective data visualization tools. Applying best practices in data visualizations, this TRP will present several data visuals using IPEDS data. The TRP panel is tasked to provide suggestions that improves upon the data visuals, which are targeted at IPEDS data users (i.e., researchers, policymakers, and consumers).

HLC Accreditation

Lawrence is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is in good standing. HLC has three Pathways for Reaffirmation of Accreditation (Standard, AQIP, and Open) and we are on the Open Pathway, which follows a 10-year cycle. As part of the Open Pathways we undergo institutional reviews including regular monitoring, Assurance Review (Year 4), Quality Initiative (Years 5-9), and a Comprehensive Evaluation (Year 10). Our Comprehensive Evaluation (Year 10) visit occurred in October 2018. The Provost's Office houses a dedicated web page related to the visit including the internal accreditation team, documents submitted to HLC, links, and a post-visit summary (login is not required). The Office of Research Administration houses the Consumer Information disclosure requirements.The Director of Research Administration is a standing and active member of the Presidential Committee on Accreditation and Assessment and is the lead for Federal Compliance.  

Postsecondary Success Capacity Development Convening (2018)

On behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alvarez & Marsal, working in partnership with a faculty team from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), invited Kristin McKinley to participate in a focus group at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Forum in May 2018. McKinley was subsequently invited to the Postsecondary Success Capacity Development Convening held in August 2018 at the HGSE. The project researched the market for tools, services, and programs that help colleges and universities improve their performance in three core operating capacities (Strategic Finance, Institutional Research, and Leadership) necessary to support post-secondary transformation and drive student success. Findings were discussed at the convening. 

American Talent Initiative (2017 & Beyond)

Launched in December 2016, the American Talent Initiative (ATI) is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and was founded with a national goal of educating 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income students at the 270 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by 2025. Based on the most recent federal data available, there are approximately 430,000 lower-income students enrolled at these 270 institutions. ATI’s goal is to increase and sustain the total number of lower-income students attending these top-performing colleges to about 480,000 by 2025. Lawrence joined the ATI in February 2017.

Press Release

National Survey of Institutional Research (2014-2015)

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) was awarded a $675,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to focus on three key projects addressing institutional research (IR) capacity in the U.S. One key project was a National Survey of Institutional Research (IR). Kristin McKinley served as a peer reviewer and participated in a pilot test of the survey. The survey was administered in 2015 to establish a baseline of IR office capacities. Data on resources, organizational structures, and assigned tasks were collected. 

Evaluation of a Passive-Activated In-Roadway Warning Lights (IRWL) Crosswalk System (2011-2014)

The purpose of this study was to provide the city of Appleton with the findings of an evaluation of a passive-activated in-roadway warning light (IRWL) system at two crosswalks on a refuge median, divided four-lane roadway running through the Lawrence University campus. Based on a before-after design, the analysis of videos that tracked vehicles within a 60 feet window which started 200 feet back from the crosswalks indicates that compared to when there was no IRWL system 1) drivers engaged their brakes sooner within the 60 feet window after the lights were installed, 2) there was a larger reduction in velocity from when vehicles entered the 60 feet window to when they exited after the lights were installed, and 3) a higher percentage of vehicles decelerated only and a lower percentage of vehicles accelerated only within the 60 feet window after the lights were installed. 

Researching Assessment Methods in Tutorial Education (2008-2010)

In May 2008, The Teagle Foundation awarded Lawrence University a $94,700 grant to research and develop alternative assessment methods for tutorial courses in liberal arts education.


The purpose of this study was to research and develop alternative assessment methods for tutorial courses in liberal arts education. Nine faculty members from Lawrence University, Macalester College, The College of Wooster and Williams College developed a Shared Assessment Method (SAM) for assessing three groups of traits: Independent Thinker (takes teacher roles; inquiring mind; self-assessment; learning to argue); Intellectual Maturity (ability to work with complexity/uncertainty; takes intellectual chances); and Creativity (idea generation; curiosity; takes multiple perspectives; connects disparate information and ideas). In 21 tutorial courses involving 40 students the faculty tested rubrics assessing the traits through observations, interviews and rating scales. The results of the study as analyzed from faculty case studies and rubrics suggest that the selected traits were valid and important. The conclusion that the traits are valid for purposes of assessment, and enhanced the pedagogy of tutorials is based on the following findings:

  • Faculty and students were able to observe and measure the traits during two cycles of tutorial courses;
  • Faculty found methods for encouraging student development of the traits through course plans, assignments and teaching strategies;
  • The rubrics discriminated different levels of traits in stronger and weaker students;
  • Mean levels of student self-estimated and faculty-estimated levels of all traits rose during the tutorials. Statistically significant improvement in the traits from baseline to final assessment periods were recorded for all the traits of Independent Thinker and Intellectual Maturity and the Creativity traits of idea generation and connectivity;
  • Student evaluations indicated that they integrated the traits into their learning goals;
  • Several faculty proposed using the rubrics to assess college-wide tutorial programs;
  • In some cases, faculty noted that students of equal grade point averages performed unequally on the trait assessments, suggesting that the rubrics captured qualities above and beyond content mastery;
  • Trait validity findings stand up across tutorials offered by a wide range of faculty representing disciplines in the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences.
  • Nonetheless, several faculty concluded that student curiosity (Creativity) was already at high levels at the start of courses and no important strategies emerged for supporting this trait. Other tutors found too much overlap between connectivity and multiple perspectives (Creativity). We propose reducing the number of traits to eight: Independent Thinker (4); Creativity (2- idea generation, takes multiple perspectives and connects disparate information and ideas); Intellectual Maturity (2). There were no significant proposals to add new traits.

Going forward, we recommend applying the trait rubrics to assessments of tutorials (1-3 students), hybrid courses where tutorials are additions to conventional small courses like seminars (5-10 students), and, perhaps, liberal arts education as a whole. Because The College of Wooster already uses their independent study courses as culminating projects, they essentially serve as assessments for the full undergraduate education. Lawrence University is now introducing the senior experience as a culminating project for students. Both of these examples refer to tutorial-like programs. The rubrics, therefore, would be useful for assessing a student’s liberal arts education. To reduce faculty workload the traits would be used in syllabi to define goals, but only students would fill out rating scales, four or more times per term or semester, and orientation and debriefing class sessions would be retained to teach the criteria and assess effectiveness. The faculty in this study are important resources to train and supervise other faculty on each campus in the extension of use of these assessment/pedagogic rubrics.

The research project draws upon papers delivered at the Lawrence University Workshop on Tutorial Education Assessment March 31-April1, 2007.

Co-Principal Investigators
Lawrence University
  • Robert J. Beck, Visiting Professor of Education
  • William F. Skinner, Director of Research Administration
Faculty Participants
The College of Wooster
  • Nancy Grace, Professor of English
  • Pamela Pierce, Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences
Lawrence University
  • Rob Neilson, Associate Professor of Art
  • Ron Peck, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Jerald E. Podair, Professor of History
  • Claudena Skran, Associate Professor of Government
Macalester College
  • Patrick Schmidt, Associate Professor of Political Science
Williams College
  • Stefanie Solum, Associate Professor of Art
  • Christopher Nugent, Assistant Professor of Chinese
St. John's Annapolis
  • Joseph Macfarland, Tutor (Observer)

Page content was last updated on 2/24/2021.