Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Glossary

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Additional glossary terms are available on the WNC Academic Terms page.

A

Academic Year
The time period containing the academic sessions held during consecutive fall, spring, and summer semesters.
American Indian or Alaskan Native
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Asian
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Assessment
The systematic collection, review, and use of information about instructional and administrative programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.
Assessment Method
A process employed to gather assessment information.

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B

Black or African American
A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

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C

CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs)
A numerical classification and standard terminology for secondary and postsecondary instructional programs. CIP codes are used by universities nationally to report various instructional program data to the U. S. Department of Education and other government and higher education organizations. [CIP 2000]
Credit
Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program) that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Credit Course
A course that, if successfully completed, can be applied toward the number of courses required for achieving a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Credit Hour
See Unit Hour.

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D

Degree
An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of study.
Degree-Seeking Student
A student enrolled in courses for credit who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or other formal award. At the undergraduate level, this is intended to include students enrolled in vocational or occupational programs.
Direct Methods
Processes employed to assess student learning by requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and skills directly. Objective tests, essays, presentations, portfolios, performances, and classroom assignments are examples.

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E

Enrollment
Registration for coursework and payment of fees constitutes official enrollment.

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F

Faculty
Persons whose specific assignments customarily are made for the purpose of conducting instruction, research, or public service as a principal activity (or activities), and who hold academic-rank titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer, or the equivalent of any of these academic ranks. If their principal activity is instructional, this category includes deans, directors, or the equivalent, as well as associate deans, assistant deans, and executive officers of academic departments (chairpersons, heads, or the equivalent). Student teachers or research assistants are not included in this category.
First-Time First-Year Student
A student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).
First-Time Freshman
An entering freshman who has never attended any college. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).
First-Time Student
A student attending any institution for the first time at the level enrolled. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended a postsecondary institution for the first time at the same level in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credit earned before graduation from high school).
First-Year Student
A student who has completed less than the equivalent of one full year of undergraduate work; that is, less than 30 semester hours in a 120-hour degree program or less than 900 contact hours.
Fiscal Year
A twelve-month period running from July 1 through the following June 30.
Freshman
A first-year undergraduate student.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Staff
The total number of full-time staff plus the full-time equivalent of the part-time staff. The result may be the actual calculation determined by the number of hours worked by all part-time staff divided by the average number of hours worked by a full- time employee. For example, if all part-time employees worked a total of 60 hours in one week, and a full-time employee is expected to work 40 hours, the FTE is calculated as 60 / 40 = 1.50 FTE. In the absence of a calculated equivalent, FTE can be approximated by adding one-third of the total number of part-time staff to the full-time count.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student
The number of contact hours generated by student enrollment during a term is calculated as twelve 12 credit hours per semester for a student. The calculation is Student Credit Hours / 12.
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
Instructional or research staff employed full-time (as defined by the institution) and whose major regular assignment is instruction, including those with release time for research.
Full-Time Staff (Employees)
Persons on the payroll of the institution (or reporting unit) and classified by the institution as full time. Includes faculty on sabbatical leave and persons who are on leave but remain on the payroll.
Full-Time Student
A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credit hours in a term.

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H

Headcount Enrollment
Total of full- and part-time student class registrations.
Hispanic or Latino
A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

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I

Indirect Methods
Processes employed to assess a program or student learning indirectly by asking students to reflect on their learning. Surveys and interviews are examples.
IPEDS
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. IPEDS began in 1986 and involves annual data collections. Survey questionnaires are sent to all postsecondary institutions eligible for federal student financial aid, as determined by the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education.

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M

Mission Statement
A broad statement of the purpose of the program and the learning environment. It reflects how the program contributes to the education and careers of students.

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N

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
NCES
The National Center for Education Statistics is the statistical branch of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, a principal operating component of the U.S. Department of Education.
Non-Degree-Seeking Student
A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award.
Noncredit Course
A course or activity having no credit applicable toward a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Nonresident Alien
A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely.

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O

Occupational Program
A program of study consisting of one or more courses, designed to provide the student with sufficient knowledge and skills to perform in a specific occupation.
Out-of-State Student
A student who is not a legal resident of the state in which he or she attends school.
Out-of-State Tuition
The tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution's or state's residency requirements.

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P

Part-Time Staff
Persons on the payroll of the institution (or reporting unit) and classified by the institution as part time. Students in the Federal College Work-Study Program or casual employees (e.g., persons who are hired to help at registration time or to work in the bookstore for a day or two at the start of a session) are not considered part-time staff.
Part-Time Student (Undergraduate)
A student enrolled for either 11 semester credits or less, 11 quarter credits or less, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term.
Pell Grant Program
(Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart I, as amended.) Provides eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need with grant assistance to help meet educational expenses.
Performance Indicators
Clearly defined and measurable markers that assist in assessing and tracking quality.
Perkins Loan Program
(Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part E, as amended, Public Laws 89-329, 92-318, et al; 20 USC 1087aa-1087hh.) Provides low-interest loans to eligible postsecondary students (undergraduate, graduate, or professional students) with demonstrated financial need to help meet educational expenses.
Program
A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives as described by the institution.
Program Goals
Broad statements of what the program wants to accomplish or become over the next several years in terms of enrollment, faculty development, service, or academic and co-curricular initiatives.
Program Outcomes
Statements that describe measurable expected results in terms of enrollment, faculty development, service, or academic and co-curricular activities.

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R

Race/Ethnicity
Categories used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. A person may be counted in only one group. The groups used to categorize individuals are as follows: Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Nonresident Alien, Resident Alien (and other eligible non-citizens), and Race/Ethnicity Unknown.
Remedial Services
Instructional activities designed for students deficient in the general competencies necessary for a regular postsecondary curriculum and educational setting.
Resident Alien
A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States but who has been admitted as a legal immigrant for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident alien status (and who holds either an alien registration card (Form I-551 or I-151), a Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688), or an Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) with a notation that conveys legal immigrant status such as Section 207 Refugee, Section 208 Asylee, Conditional Entrant Parolee or Cuban-Haitian.

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S

Scholarships
Grants-in-aid, trainee stipends, tuition and fee waivers, and prizes to undergraduate students.
Student Learning Outcomes
Statements that describe the specific learning achievements required to attain the degree or certificate.
Student Persistence
A measure of endurance by students in their continued pursuit of studies (from term to term) towards the completion of an educational goal or training objective.

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U

Undergraduate
A student enrolled in a four- or five-year bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.
Unduplicated Headcount
A student is counted only once during a term or an academic year regardless of how many classes or terms the student attends during that period.

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W

White
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.


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