James Madison University

Office of Institutional Research

Volume 1, Issue 3
May 2001

About OIR

Mission Statement


  • Frank Doherty, Director

  • Chuck DeHart, Policy/Planning Specialist II

  • Rosemary Brenner, Policy/Planning Specialist I

  • Tina Grace, Administrative & Program Specialist III and SACS Self-Study Secretary

  • Peggy Simmer, GA for the SACS Self-Study

  • Olivia Ciobotaru, GA

Questions about OIR's activities can be directed to
Institutional Research.


One of the important functions of OIR is to conduct research about the university to support decision making. Since many of you depend on our office for official information for a variety of purposes, we are publishing a quarterly newsletter to inform you about research activities that might be useful to you. We welcome your comments about our newsletter and appreciate your support. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Frank J. Doherty, Ph.D. Director, OIR

National Databases Available

The federal government, through its National Center for Education Statistics, is making large dataset available to the higher education community and the public. All data provided to NCES this year by higher education institutions was collected via the Web and will be posted very quickly to their Web site. Below is a link to data access tools and databases about education.

National Center for Education Statistics Data Access Tools

Useful Links

The May/June 2001 issue of "The Technology Source," a free, refereed e-Journal published by UNC-Chapel Hill and sponsored by SCT, SmartForce, and Compaq.

The Association for Institutional Research has many useful links on its Web site, including Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Learning, Outcomes, and Academic Programming.

Recent Additions to OIR's and Institutional Effectiveness's Web Sites:

We have greatly updated the peer information on our web site, including the following:


Statistical Summary

Annually OIR produces a Statistical Summary of important information about JMU. Five years ago OIR placed its first Statistical Summary on the web. Now, as information is collected and verified, we will place new pages on our web site.

JMU's Reports of Institutional Effectiveness: JMU is required to report annually to SCHEV  performance in a variety of dimensions similar to all higher education institutions in Virginia and on institution-specific measures. JMU's institution-specific measures all relate to learning.

AAUP Data: Data on average faculty salaries for JMU's peer group are displayed for 1992-93 to 1999-00.

Peer Information: Several tables of information that compare JMU with our peers have been added. These include information about graduation rates, finances, costs, etc.

OIR's program reviews, annual reports, and 2000-01 goals.

Academic performance of transfers at JMU.

Current Projects

JMU Planning Database

The Division of Institutional Effectiveness is coordinating the development of a web-based comprehensive planning database that  is ready for use. This system provides a single point of entry for all strategic and operational university goals and objectives. It can be used to display on the Web unit, division, and university goals. It will encourage collaboration in the development and reporting of goals and objectives throughout the university. It incorporates  the requirements by SACS for the integration of Mission, planning, evaluation and assessment, and use of results for program improvement. The module is being developed by the Madison Media Lab. Training is currently taking place and will continue through the summer for departments in all areas of the university.

SACS Self-Study

OIR is very involved in supporting the SACS Self-Study. OIR provides a significant amount of data for the Self-Study as well as organizes and maintains the Self-Study online library catalog.

Study of JMU Faculty

OIR has been collecting data on faculty since 1986. A study will be completed in the summer of 2001 on various trends in faculty employment, turnover, etc.

Facilities Inventory and Utilization Reports

Each year OIR and Resource Planning submit to SCHEV a facilities inventory file of all space on campus. We currently have more than 12,000 unique spaces in the file. Eventually we hope to put the inventory online so that departments can see the specific spaces used by them and inform OIR/Resource Planning when changes have been made.

OIR also conducts a facilities utilization file for SCHEV. This file is used to calculate utilization statistics for the use of classrooms and regularly scheduled labs. The official utilization statistics will be available in July. These statistics are part of JMU's performance measures for SCHEV.

OIR Program Review

This spring a focused program review of OIR's data management capabilities is being conducted. Led by Dr. Robert Brookshire, the primary objective is to provide guidance to OIR about how to manage its large data files and eventually make them more accessible to the university community.

Student Research

Frequently faculty assign students research projects that involve analyzing data about the university. OIR has an extensive Web site of data for students to use, but sometimes the assignments prompt students to ask us for data we do not have. It would be greatly appreciated if you would familiarize yourself with our Web site at http://www.jmu.edu/instresrch/  if you plan to assign student research that could involve university data. If you contact OIR before you assign the research project, we may be able to collect and post the data on our web site.

Research Notes
Faculty Salaries of JMU's Peer Group, 2000-01

In 1986 the Virginia General Assembly approved a policy to enhance the competitive position of higher education institutions in Virginia by raising the average faculty salary of each publicly supported higher education institution to the 60th percentile of a group of peer institutions outside of Virginia. Since the 1980's JMU has had three faculty salary peer groups, the most recent one being selected in 1997. The standard source of data on faculty salaries is the AAUP salary survey that is completed each year in the fall and published the following spring.

When the peer groups were selected in 1986 in cooperation with institutional representatives JMU ranked 22nd out of 25 peer institutions. Due to the commitment by the Commonwealth significant monies were designated by the General Assembly between 1986 and 1990 to raise the average salaries. Between 1985-86 and 1989-90, the average JMU salary increased from $29,682 to $42,618, an increase of 43.6 percent. The state budget crisis in the early 1990's resulted in JMU's average salary rank slipping from 7th in 1989-90 to 9th in 1996-97.

In the spring of 1997 institutional representatives met at SCHEV to select a new peer group that better reflected the changes that have occurred at JMU since the 1980's. The resulting peer group is a far more competitive list of institutions than the 1986 group. Institutions now considered peers include such well-known institutions as the University of Notre Dame, the University of Delaware, Ohio University, SUNY-Binghamton, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, and Texas Christian University.

These new peer institutions as a whole have a much higher faculty salary average than the 1986 group. In 1995-96 JMU's average salary was within $1,000 of the 60th percentile which means that the institution was not well positioned for needed salary increases even though the quality of JMU and its national reputation had improved markedly since 1986. The situation with this new peer group is far different. As can be seen in the following link, JMU is $3,100 below the 60th percentile, an improvement from $4,500 four years ago. However, JMU continues to be ranked 12th among its peer institutions.

Additional detail on the changes in JMU's faculty salary averages since 1993-94 can be viewed in the following link. Since 1993-94 only three institutions  have received larger percentage increases than JMU (30 percent). Additional salary increases that will move JMU closer to the 60th percentile are dependent upon the actions of the General Assembly. Given the current budget impasse in Richmond, JMU's relative position is likely to worsen for 2001-02.

Additional questions about this Research Notes can be addressed to the Office of Institutional Research. Individuals who would like to view the Web sites of these institutions are urged to follow this link.

JMU's mission, facts and figures, and other general information about James Madison University
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Publisher: JMU Institutional Research    For Information Contact: ASK-OIR@JMU.EDU
James Madison University - Anthony Seeger, Rm 11, MSC 6807. Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-6830