Small Institutional Research Projects

It is my favorite Summer past time, because Student Services never sleeps. For most faculty, summer time means an opportunity for a two month break. Not so in Student Services. At St. Clair College, we have two Retention Coordinators and that means, for the most part, one of us has to been available over the spring and summer months. And, I don’t mind working in the summer, the college has air conditioning and the slightly quieter paces means small summer research.

I generally pick a question of interest to me and see where it leads. Some past questions I have explored include:

  • What prevents students who have a GPA of 3.0 or better in their final semester from graduating?
  • For program X, what is the institutional retention of students who drop out? The difference between stop out and drop out over five years.
  • What are the success rates in MTH XXX after offering specialized class walk-in tutoring compared to previous three years?
  • What programs do students who have taken preparatory courses graduate from within five years?
  • Which programs have high tutoring usage, according to KPI results, but have the lowest KPI satisfaction/highest KPI dissatisfaction (in tutoring)?

Because of this activity, the books I read generally have a research focus. This summer, I am scanning two books I have read in other summers: How to measure anything, 3rd Edition by Donald Hubbard and Workplace research by Zina O’Leary and Jennifer Hunt¬†and I am adding Essential Scrums by Kenneth Rubin.


Curation Confessions

Collection of books
Read again and again

What collection makes me feel warm and fuzzy? My collection of favorite books. These are not just books I enjoy but books that I will read over and over, books that become worn out with crack spines and battered pages. Books that have traveled in my suitcase or purse, rode around in my car, were carried to beaches and parks and benches. Books that have been read in the kitchen and living room and in bed.

Elizabeth Boyer’s Book of Painter series was my first set such books – sad and yet beautiful! Lyndon Hardy wrote Master of the Five Magics, Secret of the Sixth Magic, and Riddle of the Seven Realms. In these books, I found an explanation of magic presented as logic, almost like science. Steven Brust’s Vald Taltos series contains my favorite characters.

Some stories and their authors stick with you like old friends that you are pleased to meet again and even though you know the ending, you want to sit and listen and enjoy because the story is just so good.