The Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (PIRA) at Merrimack College conducts research that leads to the understanding of the institution and the external environment, and aids in planning and decision making. A key function of the office is to engage the different constituents of the college in data-driven decision making. Specifically, PIRA aids the college in establishing a strategic competitive position and in evaluating its institutional effectiveness. The office also serves as the official resource of institutional data for internal and external constituents. The office serves these functions through 3 key areas: institutional research, strategic planning, and assessment.
Institutional Research Responsibilities:
The office is responsible for collecting data, ensuring data consistency and integrity across the institution, maintaining census files, and creating standard reports.
The office is the primary source of information for rankings, guidebooks, mandatory reporting, and other external requests for data, as well as for internal reporting.
Research and Analyses:
Tasks include benchmarking against peer schools, coordinating internal surveys, enrollment and retention analyses, and monitoring market and demographic trends.
PIRA manages and guides the strategic planning process, conducts internal analyses to support decision making, and directly oversees the planning and review processes associated with accreditation. The office also engages with other offices on collaborative projects such as Master Planning, and the alignment of divisional strategic plans.
The office coordinates and/or provides expertise for assessments and program evaluations, measures progress across departments in achieving institutional and departmental goals, and helps establish unit level investment plans.