Florida State University’s Office of Institutional Research (IR) took home awards recognizing its service and best practices in advancing the research of post-secondary education during the Southern Association for Institutional Research’s (SAIR) annual conference Oct. 1-4 in New Orleans.
Rick Burnette, FSU’s associate provost for strategy and analytics and interim chief information officer, received the SAIR Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest individual honor. The award recognizes individuals who have made a lifetime of contributions to the fields of institutional research and assessment.
“These recognitions from SAIR are well-deserved by our incredible Institutional Research and Institutional Performance and Assessment teams,” said Jim Clark, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “Their important behind-the-scenes work has played a key role in the strides Florida State University has made in rising in national prominence.”
Burnette, who was nominated by a former president of SAIR and the Association for Institutional Research, is the 18th winner of the award in the association’s 48-year history. He has served in many roles at FSU over 35 years.
“Data, analytics and assessment are keys to the strategic advancement of the university,” Burnette said. “The IR team, under Dr. James Hunt, has demonstrated itself as a national leader in business intelligence, analytics and data enablement. In addition to meeting copious state and federal reporting demands, they have a long tradition of promoting data-informed decision-making at FSU. Combine that with the assessment culture being cultivated by Dr. Galiya Tabulda, director of Institutional Performance and Assessment, we provide the insights needed for campus leaders to make strategic decisions.”
The team also won first place in two Best Practice Award competitions. IR’s Major Flow Through Model, with development led by IR Assistant Director Samantha Nix, claimed top honors in the Best Interactive Report competition. It is the third time in the past four years that FSU has won first place in the category. FSU’s IR website also won first place in the Best Website competition for the third time in the past six years.
Hunt, director of Institutional Research, praised the hard work of the IR team and trumpeted FSU as a leader in the IR field.
“Data and analytics are critical to all the strategic goals and initiatives at FSU, and the IR team does an incredible job of providing top-notch service to the university community,” he said. “The team works hard to be leaders in our field, and it is gratifying to see acknowledgement of these efforts from our peers.”
Members of the IR team and Office of Institutional Performance and Assessment (IPA) also delivered seven educational sessions and three half-day workshops at the conference.
Additionally, IR and IPA have a history of leadership and service to the association: Burnette is a former President of SAIR; Hunt serves as treasurer of the SAIR board of directors; Nix recently concluded service on the Nominations and Elections Committee; Tabulda was elected to serve for the next term on the committee, a post she previously held; Hunt and IR Associate Director Andrew Brady previously served on the SAIR Nominations and Elections Committee; and former IR employee Matthew Earhart was recognized for providing technical support for the proposal submission process.
Student Success Analyst Katie Gipalo received a Newcomers Travel Grant to attend the conference, while Cassie Kepple, former graduate assistant in IR and a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration, won the Graduate Student Travel Grant.
The Southern Association for Institutional Research is dedicated to the advancement of research leading to improved understanding, planning and operation of institutions of post-secondary education.