Office of Student Persistence Research

Conducts high quality retention research and learning outcomes assessment for the Division of Student Services to increase student persistence and completion rates at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Our mission is to build a culture of evidence among co-curricular program professionals based on coordinated and intentional outcomes assessment, data-driven decision making, rigorous applied research and scholarly leadership.

Developing a culture of evidence

A culture of evidence values the use of data for continual program improvement. To build a culture of evidence we promote the development of co-curricular learning outcomes that are measurable, manageable, and meaningful. As much as possible, such outcomes are observed through multiple methods during the regular course of a program and by means of activities a reasonable person would consider normal and meaningful (i.e. more embedded classroom-style assessments and fewer surveys).

Outcomes assessment

Coordinated and intentional outcomes assessment contributes to a culture of evidence by promoting collaboration and critical feedback. We work with co-curricular programs to catalog strategies for assessment and develop an institutional memory around what works. This requires ongoing collaboration to share information and know-how. We champion collaboration to avoid reinventing the wheel or wasting time & resources developing new measures that may or may not measure learning.

Data-driven decision making

Data-driven decision making contributes to a culture of evidence when data products are timely and insights are shared in a meaningful way. It takes effort and collaboration with stakeholders to cultivate actionable data. We don't just hand-off data and say "ta-dah." We keep stakeholders involved and our process transparent.

Rigorous applied research

Rigorous applied research bridges the divide between research and practice and contributes to a culture of evidence wherein program improvements and policy recommendations are based on statistically and practically significant outcomes. We use our specialized knowledge of co-curricular programs and students at Nevada to focus attention on outcomes of consequence or practical significance in addition to statistical significance. See our work on the Sexual Conduct and Campus Safety Surveys or more recently the Campus Climate Survey.

Scholarly leadership

Scholarly leadership contributes to a culture of evidence by elevating the work of professionals the Division of Student Services from practice to influence. We are uniquely positioned to articulate the student voice and integrate student experiences in to the practices and theories that inform the administration of higher education.