Pacific Lutheran University — Director of Institutional Research

Founded in 1890 by Norwegian pioneers, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) continues the distinctive tradition of Lutheran higher education through its commitment to the advancement of knowledge, thoughtful inquiry and questioning, the preparation of citizens in service to the world, and to its ongoing reform. Located in the Parkland neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, PLU is set in a region that also offers vast opportunities for outdoor recreation, culture, and sports. With distinctive international programs and close student-faculty research opportunities, PLU helps its more than 3000 students, from all faiths and backgrounds, discern their life’s vocation through coursework, mentorship and internships at world-class Puget Sound-area businesses and institutions. The first American university to have Study Away classes on all seven continents simultaneously, PLU is also the first private university on the West Coast to receive the prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. The University consistently ranks among the top 20 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Universities in the West and recently was named fourth in the West for Best Colleges for Veterans. It also ranks in the top four percent of Master’s universities nationwide in the Washington Monthly College Guide. The University has produced 100 Fulbright Scholars since 1975. PLU is an inclusive community with continued aspirations to become an increasingly diverse, just and sustainable community.

Reporting to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Director of Institutional Research will serve as the point person for the institutional collection of data; will serve as a consultant to the faculty and staff on the use of data for assessment, decision-making and planning; will design and conduct annual studies to address issues related to retention, persistence, and graduation rates; will analyze and communicate cross-sectional data for peer comparisons and trend analysis; and will be responsible for completing and submitting all internal and external agency reports. The director will have the opportunity to create a data hub and must have the ability to work across the University to promote a culture of data-informed decision making, including data collection, analysis, and reporting within academic and non-academic organizational units as well as experience in working with strategic plans.  The director will be expected to stay abreast of national and state higher education research issues and will play a key role in linking planning, budget and assessment institutionally. In collaboration with program leaders, the director will bring together responsibilities related to program reviews, student learning outcomes, institutional research, data warehousing, and record keeping. The director serves as the accreditation liaison to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and will be responsible for the coordination and facilitation of the re-accreditation process.

A master’s degree in social/behavioral science, education, educational research, or related field (doctorate preferred) and documented substantive experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods is required. In addition, the following characteristics will be sought in the Director of Institutional Research:

  • Ability to collect and analyze data, and to build effective partnerships and collaborate across the institution to help forge the consensus needed to advance the University’s mission;
  • Effectiveness in working with senior leadership, while demonstrating integrity, credibility, sound judgment, and tact;
  • Ability to translate data analysis into usable information for decision-making and policy analysis;
  • Skilled in best practices using technology for data analysis and communicating results;
  • A critical thinker who can identify creative solutions or approaches to issues;
  • Organizational and analytical skills to prioritize, take initiative, follow projects through to completion, and manage multiple tasks, while ensuring the highest level of accuracy and quality;
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience and ability to build a team;
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation communication skills; and
  • Demonstrated experience with relational databases and student information systems; experience with Banner is a plus.

Review of applications will begin November 11, 2016 and will continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to Kendra E. Dane at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Spelman Johnson
Pacific Lutheran University – Director of Institutional Research
Kendra E. Dane, Search Associate

Visit the Pacific Lutheran University website at

Pacific Lutheran University is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment and in education for all members of the University community without regard to an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law.