Institutional Information Policies and Procedures
All requests for official institutional information must come to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA). OIRA creates and maintains the official institutional information from integrated, historical snapshots of the enterprise information system that are systematically extracted on established census dates. The raw data elements are normalized and transformed into institutional data that align with federal reporting guidelines (U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics). Data definitions are documented and available on the OIRA website (link).
The enterprise information system snapshots are taken on regularly scheduled dates throughout the academic year:
|Winter Session||Spring Semester||
|First day of classes||First day of classes|
|End of add/drop||Mid-Session||End of add/drop||Mid-Session|
|October 15 census date||February 15 census date|
|35 Days after last day of finals||35 Days after last day of finals|
The fall October 15th census snapshots are a primary source for internal and external institutional reporting and longitudinal trend analyses. These are the data that become the ‘public face’ of the institution (link to explanation).
OIRA does not make changes to the enterprise information system and reports data, as it exists, on the snapshot census dates. OIRA will work with academic and administrative departments and offices and develop error reports to alert units about missing or suspicious values that need resolution prior to the scheduled census dates. It is up to the responsible academic units and offices to make the changes prior to the census date, so that the data are accurate.
Institutional Research Council
OIRA works with the Institutional Research Council (make into a link) to identify campus information needs, validate data values, and align data definitions and reporting procedures across functional areas. Questions and concerns about data processes and values can be addressed to the members of the IRC, which meets twice each semester to resolve information issues.
Census Date Compliance and the University’s Public Face
The official fall semester census date established by the University of Maine System is October 15th. This date complies with U.S. Department of Education requirements for institutions that participate in federal aid assistance programs, and is mandated by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Fall census data, standardized in accordance with federal data definitions, are the public face of the University. They are the data required by governmental and professional agencies requesting accountability information and are the data that appear in national reports and studies (Chronicle of Higher Education, Occupational Supply and Demand System, Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability), college rankings, and (U. S. News and World Report) and college search sites (College Navigator).