A History of Southeastern’s IR Office

In 1971, Southeastern Louisiana University established an Office of Institutional
Research. The following is a chronology since 1983.


1983   Institutional Research staff consisted of a Director (Dr. Randall Webb) and a Secretary.
The Director reported to the President. The functions of the office were to implement
EEO compliance and reporting, to maintain minutes for key campus committees (e.g.,
Academic Affairs, Graduate Council) and to prepare HEGIS and other mandated reports.
1984   A new Director (Dr. James Davis) was appointed, and the office’s functions changed.
New top-level administrators needed information for planning and evaluation purposes,
and Institutional Research was assigned the role of providing that information. The
office also was given responsibility for maintaining the University’s facilities database
and for submitting facilities and space utilization reports to the Board of Regents.
The Director’s minute-taking function for various committees was phased out.
1985   A faculty member in Economics (Henry Thomasson) was re-assigned to serve as a half-time
Research Associate (his teaching duties were reduced). In addition, a full-time Research
Associate position was approved (filled by Dr. Constance Smith). The practice of systematically
extracting data from the Student Record System and from the Payroll/Personnel database
and of using these computerized extract files for research was instituted.
1986   Responsibilities for EEO compliance and reporting were transferred to another office.
I.R.E. acquired its first PC. Dr. Davis spearheaded planning the University’s assessment
program. The words “and Evaluation” were added to office’s name.
1987- 1988   The half-time Research Associate position was changed to full-time, and Mr. Thomasson
returned to full-time teaching. In order to better meet changing needs in the office,
the secretarial position was replaced with a “mini-computer programmer”. Dr. Davis
resigned as Director in December, 1989.
1989   The half-time Research Associate position was changed to full-time, and Mr. Thomasson
returned to full-time teaching. In order to better meet changing needs in the office,
the secretarial position was replaced with a “mini-computer programmer”. Dr. Davis
resigned as Director in December, 1989.
1990   A new Director was hired (Dr. Ben Showalter), and the vacant Research Associate position
was filled (Dr. Anna Waggener). The University’s Honeywell mainfram computer was replaced
with a VAX, improving the productivity of the Research Associates. Assessment activities
continued to increase.
1991   A management intern position was approved which enabled the office to hire a statistical
Assistant (Donald Boeckman). There had been frequent turn over in the “mini-computer
programmer” position due to the low salary, and so it was discontinued.
1992   Dr. Waggener was assigned to devote 25% of her time to meeting the information needs
of the SACS Research Committee.
1992-1993   The University hired a Director of Assessment, but I.R.E. continued to be responsible
for assessment-related survey projects. A half-time secretarial position was approved
(Cora Von Aspern). The Provost assumed supervisory authority over the I.R.E. Director.
1993-1994   The SACS Coordinator’s position occupied by Ms. Dennis Watts was disbanded and her
position was allocated to the Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation. In
October 1993, Mr. Donald Boeckman applied and was accepted to a research associate
position in the Office. Mr. Boeckman filled Ms. Watts old position. Ms. Lori Fairburn
was hired in January 1994 to fill the position of statistical assistant vacated by
Mr. Boeckman. Dr. Anna Waggener resigned from the university in January 1994 to take
a position as a research associate with the University of South Alabama. Dr. Constance
Smith took on a role of planning and policy analysis and was reporting to the Provost’s
office. Her position was still allocated to Institutional Research and Evaluation.
1994-1995   Dr. Smith resigned from the University in August 1994 to start up and become the director
of Institutional Research at Purdue University, Calumet. The director of the Office
Of Assessment, Dr. Shelia Chauvin, resigned from the university in April 1995 to take
a position with Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. The Office of Assessment was
1995-1996   Dr. Beatrice Baldwin became director and the name of the office was changed to Institutional
Research and Assessment. Dr. Ben Showalter moved into a Research Associate position
and Dr. Michelle Hall was hired in the other Research Associate position. The office
became responsible for institutional effectiveness for the university. Part of the
duties included spearheading the strategic planning process, coordinating and implementing
the university survey process, and working with departments on Major Field Assessment.
Ms. Glenda White was hired as a Word Processor Operator to assist with the institutional
effectiveness efforts.
1996-1997   In October, Ms. Lisa McAllister was hired in the Research Associate position vacated
by Dr. Ben Showalter. In January, the office cleaned out years worth of data, papers,
reports, etc. and packed everything up and moved into new offices in McGehee Hall,
the first academic building on campus. In June, Ms. McAllister resigned. The office
took over responsibility for the Student Opinion of Teaching process and Ms. Tina
Hensley was hired to coordinate that process.
1997-1998   In August, Dr. Chand Wije was hired in the Research Associate position vacated by
Lisa McAllister. In November a new position, Institutional Database Coordinator, was
created and filled by Ms. Lori Fairburn. Tina Hensley resigned and in December Ms.
Glenda White took over responsibility for the administration of the SOTs. In March,
Ms. Lisa Owens was hired as the new Word Processor Operator. During the year, SSPS
for Windows was acquired and the staff began utilizing it in addition to the Vax version
of SSPS.
1998-1999   In July, Ms. Lisa Owens and Dr. Chand Wije resigned. In August, Mr. Kenneth Smith
was hired in the Statistical Assistant position vacated by Ms. Lori Fairburn. In August,
Ms. Lana Ashcraft was hired in the vacant Word Processor Operator position, from which
she resigned in October. The end of October, Ms. Julie Durel was hired in the vacant
Word Processor Operator position. In January, Dr. Elizabeth Atkinson was hired to
fill the vacant Research Associate position. During the academic year, Dr. Baldwin
was put in charge of Project Leo, the preparation for and rollout of our new administrative
system, PeopleSoft.
1999-2000   In September, Ms. Julie Durel resigned (to go work as a Secretary II in Purchasing)
and in November Ms. Tina Wainwright was hired in that position. In January, Dr. Beatrice
Baldwin became the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Michelle
Hall became Interim Director of Institutional Research and Assessment. During the
Spring semester, an electronic time-keeping system, TimeCentre, was introduced by
the university and the HR portion of PeopleSoft went live.
2000-2001   During the summer, the office prepared for the student record portion of PeopleSoft
to go live in the Fall. In addition, the university underwent a major academic reorganization
and selective admissions was implemented for the first time. In September Ms. Lori
Fairburn accepted a position as the Associate Director of Office of the Registrar.
Also in September, Ms. Cora Von Aspern moved to Dr. Baldwin’s office and Ms. Tina
Wainwright moved into the Secretary II position. The Word Operator position was discontinued.
Somehow, the office survived Fall 2000. In February, Dr. Elizabeth Atkinson resigned
to take a position closer to home in Baton Rouge.
2001-2002   In September, Mr. Vinay Ramachandra was hired in the Institutional Database Coordinator
position, and Mr. Kenny Smith moved from the Statistical Assistant position to the
vacant Research Associate position. October, Ms. Tina Wainwright resigned and Ms.
Mickey Inman filled the Secretary II position. In December, Mr. Jacob Jasin was hired
in the Statistical Assistant position. During the year changes in the new SACS criteria
were reviewed with trepidation, but after review, a committee felt that Southeastern
is in good shape for our visit in Spring 2005.
2002-2003   In August, Ms. Mickey Inman retired. In October, Ms. Gertie Hyde was hired in the
Secretary II position. Mr. Donald Boeckman was the technology guru for the AIR Forum
in Tampa.
2003-2004   SACS began in earnest and the office was very involved. Dr. Michelle Hall was elected
SAIR Treasurer, and Mr. Donald Boeckman finished his technology guru term at the AIR
Forum in Boston. Fall 2003 appeared with the highest enrollment in Southeastern history,
we are still not sure where we put all those students. The SOT Reports finally moved
from being run on the Vax and faking the old SRS system to being run through Access.
2004-2005   Ms. Gertie Hyde moved to Public Information, and Ms. Priscilla Potts was hired in
the Secretary II position. In August the parking lot in front of McGeehee was reopened
after being closed for more than two years. It is the little things in life we take
pleasure from. In November, Ms. Potts left and in March, Ms. Allison Blache was hired
in the Administrative Assistant II position. Ms. Blache was thrown into the fire,
she started only a week before SACS came to campus to visit.
Sources   1983-1992: Report prepared by Connie Smith1993-1995: Donald Boeckman1995-current:
Michelle Hall