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Institutional Research

Glossary of IR terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Academic Year: Two full semesters, starting in the fall and continuing into the spring; does not include summer.

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C

CDS (Common Data Set: A collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Thomson Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.

The CDS is a set of standards and definitions of data items rather than a survey instrument or set of data represented in a database. Each of the higher education surveys conducted by the participating publishers incorporates items from the CDS as well as unique items proprietary to each publisher. Consequently, the publishers' surveys differ in that they utilize varying numbers of items from the CDS.

Census Date: The official reporting date for institutional data, occurring the 15th of each October. The census provides a point-in-time statistical portrait of the College’s enrollment, population, etc. Collected census data are used to conduct analyses such as retention and graduation rates, and are reported to a variety of internal and external authorities.

CIP (Classification of Instruction Programs) Code: Nationally used taxonomic codes used for classifying and reporting on higher education academic programs.

CIRP (Cooperative Institutional Research Program) Freshman Survey: The CIRP Freshman Survey is designed for administration to incoming first-year students before they start classes. The instrument collects extensive information that allows for a snapshot of what incoming students are like before they experience college. Key sections of the survey examine:

  • Established behaviors in high school;
  • Academic preparedness;
  • Admissions decisions;
  • Expectations of college;
  • Interactions with peers and faculty;
  • Student values and goals and
  • Student demographic characteristics; and
  • Concerns about financing college.

Class Standing: The Registrar determines each student’s class standing. Freshmen have completed fewer than 32 credits, sophomores from 32 to 63 credits, juniors from 64 to 95 credits, and seniors 96 or more credits.

Cohort: Traditional new first-time, first-year students, enrolled in the fall term as collected in the College’s annual census. The cohort’s enrollment and registration are tracked over time for the purposes of calculating retention and graduation rates.

Credit: Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program) that can be applied toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.

Credit Hour: A unit of measure representing an hour of instruction. It is applied toward the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate or other formal award.

Cross-Registration: A system whereby students enrolled at one institution may take courses at another institution without having to apply to the second institution.

Emerson College is a member of the Professional Arts Consortium, an association of six neighboring institutions of higher education in the Boston area dedicated to the visual and performing arts. The member schools are: Berklee College of Music, Boston Architectural College, The Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Subject to the availability of space in classes, all Emerson students who meet the prerequisites are eligible to enroll in courses offered by consortium members. Information concerning courses offered by consortium colleges is available at the Emerson College Registrar's Office.

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D

Degree-Seeking Student: Students enrolled in courses for credit who are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or other formal award.

FTE (Full-Time Equivalent): The FTE is a single value providing a meaningful combination of full time and part time students.

FTE at Emerson College is computed via the common data set (CDS) methodology by adding the total of all full-time students and 1/3 of the total of all part-time students.

The same calculation can be used to determine the FTE faculty.

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F

Faculty Rank: A faculty member’s relative standing or position, or grade of official standing among the hierarchy of his or her peers, intended to reflect his or her degree or position of dignity, eminence, or excellence (e.g. assistant professor, associate professor, full professor).

Full-Time Student: A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits.

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G

Graduation Rate: The percentage of a student cohort graduating four, five, or six years from the date they entered.

Graduate Student: A student who holds a bachelor’s or equivalent, and is taking courses at the post-baccalaureate level.

Graduate Student – 2nd EC Grad Degree: A graduate student who has already earned a graduate-level degree from Emerson College, and is taking courses to receive his or her second graduate-level degree from Emerson College.

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H

Headcount: Number of individual people, whether full-time or part-time.

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I

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System): Is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.

IPEDS provides basic data needed to describe — and analyze trends in — postsecondary education in the United States, in terms of the numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned.

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N

New, First-Time Freshman: 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. This also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).

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.

NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement): NSSE annually collects information about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.

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P

Part-Time Student: A student enrolled for fewer than 12 credits per semester.

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R

Race/Ethnicity (definition from IPEDS glossary): 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. They are used to categorize U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens.

Individuals are asked to first designate ethnicity as either Hispanic or Latino or not Hispanic or Latino.

Second, individuals are asked to indicate one or more races that apply among the following:

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S

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: The number of FTE undergraduate students per FTE faculty.

Summer Session: A summer session is shorter than a regular semester and not considered part of the academic year.

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T

Team-Taught Course: A method of classroom instruction in which several teachers combine their individual subjects into one course which they teach as a team to a single group of students.

Tenure: A status granted to professors that gives protection from summary dismissal.

Transfer Student: A student entering the institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level (e.g. undergraduate). The student may transfer with or without credit.

Trend: A report that presents comparative information about enrollment and student characteristics, faculty and staff, etc. over a period of time.

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U

Undergraduate: A student enrolled in a four- or five-year bachelor’s degree program, an associate degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.

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