While Institutional Research primarily collects and disseminates information within the Notre Dame environment, IR also reports to external audiences as well. External reporting includes government surveys, notably those in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Sharing system (IPEDS); publication surveys such as Petersons, US News and World Report, the College Board, and the Common Data Set; and a variety of others for organizations such as the Council of Graduate Schools, the Institute for International Education, the National Science Foundation, and the American Association of University Professors. Altogether, more than 50 external reports are submitted by IR annually.
External reporting serves a variety of purposes:
- As a good postsecondary citizen, Notre Dame’s participation in national data collection efforts provides comparative data for policy making at the national level.
- Participation in some surveys, particularly the publication surveys, ensures that Notre Dame is included in media reports that present higher education to a broader general public.
- External reporting provides the framework for standard definitions of such important concepts and categories as full-time equivalent, instructional faculty, study abroad, aided students, executive/managerial employees, and so on. These standard definitions are then applied uniformly for internal reporting as well.
- The practice of producing external reports makes the same information available for internal decision-making on a regular basis. Because of the application of standard definitions in these reports, time trends have greater reliability.