Institutional Effectiveness

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Earlham College seeks to serve the college community by developing and implementing data reporting standards and systems to support decision-making and strategic planning. When possible, the Office attempts to contextualize the Earlham experience through the use of comparable information from peer higher education institutions and associations. In many ways, the products of this work serve as a mirror, reflecting many snapshots of the Earlham experience. Through this reflection and analysis, the mission of this Office connects with Earlham’s mission and commitment, “to provide the highest quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts….”

More specifically, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness:

  • Provides information that is relevant to the needs of policy and decision-makers of the College
  • Coordinates Earlham’s participation in surveys
  • Responds to inquiries from federal and state government
  • Assists with implementation of assessment strategies across campus
  • Shares data with other colleges and universities
  • Coordinates sharing information with college guide publications


The IR Office serves as the primary source of accurate, consistent, definition-driven data about Earlham College. Aggregate data for points of interest such as enrollment and retention rates or survey reports are available to the public on the this webpage.

Much of this institutional data is produced and maintained by other offices such as Admissions, Registrar and the Business Office. Each department is responsible for the accuracy, quality and integrity of institutional data apropos of that office. (For example, Admissions is accountable for application information; Registrar, for enrollment; and Accounting, for billing and financial information etc.) All these data, including IR data, are proprietary, i.e. owned by Earlham College. Some forms of College data are highly confidential and fall under Federal Regulations (FERPA) and may not be released in a public manner. Because extra data sets take time to prepare, this request process allows for planning, coordination and prioritization of these requests.

Survey request

If you are interested in conducting a survey to collect data from students, faculty, employees or alumni, the survey must be approved in advance. The surveying office should contact the Advisory Committee on Assessment before the 7th week of the semester preceding the semester of the planned survey. Use the same Data Request Form to also request a place on the survey schedule.


The Common Data Set (CDS) is a collaborative effort among the educational community and publishers to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student’s transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the burden on colleges of compiling and reporting information. The goal is to develop clear, standard questions and definitions to determine the specific cohort to which each question relates, while refraining from the compilation of a single survey instrument or universal set of survey questions. Questions and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its college surveys are a guide in the development of CDS items.