As part of the Instruction Team, the Research and Institutional Effectiveness (RIE) Office supports the mission of the college by providing accurate, timely, and reliable information to respond to the research needs of the various institutional constituencies. It engages in and supports processes for determining and documenting the effectiveness of programs and services and the institution as a whole in order to foster continuous quality improvement. RIE encourages a collaborative inquiry approach to research projects. 

Office: Bldg. 4, Room 2435
Phone: (909) 274-4618

Recent Research Projects (last updated August 2, 2016)

The following is a brief sampling of some research and planning projects that our team completed. While our listing of projects each year is already filled with mandatory projects (e.g., IPEDS) we are also fortunate to have time to spend with faculty and administrators to answer their questions on their programs and services in order to improve student success and time to employment, degree/certificate and/or transfer. 

Barbara McNeice-Stallard, Director

Planning is a large part of my portfolio. Accreditation, Pathways, and Student Equity have all been major projects that require both administrative as well as research and evaluation skills. The RIE Team is helping to evaluate and collect up-to-date evidence for the self-evaluation report and to standardized the process for connecting evidence to the webpages and narrative. Work on student equity projects requires a myriad of tasks including working with the VP of Student Services for check-ins on processes and project status. The RIE team composition is changing with some part-timers moving onto other jobs and higher education while a few full-timers will be off for some of the 2016-17 fiscal year. I am presently re-examining the researchers' skills and anticipated project needs for the next 8 months. We are also working toward hiring a newly funded position for an Administrative Specialist III position. This should help improve our efficiencies quite a bit. From an administrative position, beyond accreditation, we are focused on completing program review and student equity reports. 

Maria Tsai, Senior Research Analyst

In September 2014, I was reassigned to focus on Student Services projects. Additionally, I supported federal/state mandated projects and large scale college-wide initiatives when needed.  Recent key projects that I have worked on include: (1) the Assessment of Written English (AWE) Rubric Follow-up Study investigated the impact of rubric revision on incoming students’ English placement and their success in placed courses; (2) the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Pathways Project that aimed at providing all students a clear guided program/major pathway and support to achieve their educational goals, which RIE provided initial data support in the application of this national grant and continued supporting  massive aggregated data for grant requirements in each phase of the project; (3) the Summer Bridge Learning Community Project that tracked a cohort of 367 students participated in the 2015 Summer Bridge program on their progression in basic skills, persistence, and academic performances; and (4) the state-wide Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) Project (requiring all community colleges within the system to adopt the same assessment instrument to test students) that I joined the Mt. SAC CAI Implementation team working specifically in the area of Multiple Measures and CAI related research.

Annel Medina-Tagarao, Educational Research Assessment Analyst 

Four years ago, I began a new adventure at Mt. SAC.  My responsibilities include providing analytical support on outcomes assessment and collaborating with the Outcomes Committee to regularly assess courses, programs, departments, and services.  Mt. SAC approved four institutional level outcomes (ILOs): Communication, Critical Thinking, Information and Technology Literacy, and Personal, Social, Civic, and Environmental Responsibility. ILOs represent the core competencies students develop as a result of an educational experience at the College. Regular SLO and PLO progress reports are provided.  The college uses the software, TracDat, to record desired outcomes, assessment methods, summary of data, and use of results.  This year I worked with the Outcomes Committee and IT to transition to TracDat v5.  In addition, I provide research support for multiple research requests including the Current Student survey and Graduate Survey for institution wide and program improvements.   Recently completed projects include analyzing data for an ESL peer mentoring program and an evaluation of a campus-wide Great Staff Retreat.  The results were shared with the committee and the findings from this survey provided ideas for future planning. 

Lisa DiDonato, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (AANAPISI and Title V Grants)

Fall 2014 marked the end of year three for our Arise (AANAPISI) grant and year one for our Title V grant. Every year, each grant funds activities that align with their goals. For the majority of these activities we attempt to measure grant related outcomes. This results in a lot of data about each grant! In fact, the two reports for years one and three of these grants totaled up to over three hundred pages. Information about many of the efforts underway at the Writing Center can be found within the pages of these reports. You can also learn about Conversation Circles, AMLA tutoring, and math placement prep efforts and there is even a report on student communication. Mario Guzman and I conducted a student focus group regarding students’ preferred method of communication. The students we talked to said they wished their professors would have virtual office hours, where they could log on and chat with them about assignments, etc. If this sounds interesting and you would like to learn more, you can find this report and others at:

Title V Year One: /titlev/reports/Yr%201%20Title%20V%20Research%20Outcomes%20Reportrev%20june2015r2.pdf 

John Barkman, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (Student Equity)

Student Equity planning is receiving renewed attention in California Community Colleges. As a part of Mt. SAC’s efforts to produce its 2014 Student Equity Plan I produced a reporting system with flexible templates which allowed for the rapid production of reports showing the relative success of variously defined groups of students on a range of measures of student success. This system provided the basic empirical data for consideration by those working on the Student Equity Plan. The flexible nature of the system proved valuable for addressing requests for increasing specificity of combining demographic categories, for instance, looking at ethnicity by gender. This flexibility was also valuable when, part way through the process, the State Budget trailer bill SB860 added three additional categories of students to be analyzed. As a part of Mt. SAC’s efforts to implement its 2014 Student Equity Plan I am producing a flexible reporting system which allows any program or other identified group of students to be analyzed according to the demographic categories important to Student Equity. This is being used to help the various activities which were identified in the Student Equity Plan to better understand the students they are serving.

Jade Pearce, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (Enrollment Management)

Here at RIE, I’ve gotten the chance to explore a relatively new area of research: enrollment management. The end goal is to create a more “student-centered” schedule due to a growing concern amongst the community college system: it is taking students on average six years just to complete their college course load. Therefore, the focus is to establish an efficient, yet effective practice of identifying the potential improvements for class enrollment. Some of the projects within enrollment management includes: quarterly assessment of course fill rates within the College, a mixed models approach towards assessing Mt. SAC's waitlist system, and collaborating with the Division Deans on establishing a comprehensive dashboard to track enrollment rates, productivity, and projection rates. With continuous collaboration, the goal is to create a tool that will allow the Deans to be self-sufficient in assessing their divisions and working with their Department Chairs to develop an accessible schedule to the students they serve.

Marcell Gilmore, Research Assistant

My research is primarily focused on Student Equity.  Over the last year, I have participated in the Student Equity Committee meetings; developed a survey for DSPS measuring student feedback regarding transfer; Adult Basic Education focus group coordination; Coordination and administration of the Community College Survey of Men (CCSM) as part of the College’s Minority Male Initiative.  As part of MMI, we presented our findings at the A2MEND Conference this year, and we are planning to present at the 2016 Student Success Conference.  Additionally, I am involved in the development of the new and improved Mt. SAC Fact Sheet, a document that will highlight the college’s strengths to various community stakeholders.

Shannon Rider, Professional Expert

My responsibilities in the RIE office include providing support for Basic Skills projects, coordinating internal and external surveys, and working with the Federal Perkins grant.  Currently, I am working on providing data analysis and other research support for some of the Basic Skills projects funded for the 2015-2016 year.  In the upcoming year, I will be supporting the CTE Deans with their efforts to gather information on employment outcomes for Mt. SAC CTE students by utilizing a new employment outcomes survey designed by the California Community College Research and Planning Group.  The CTE Employment Outcomes Survey will gather information on recent graduates, including whether they became employed within their field of study, if their coursework at Mt. SAC positively affected their earning potential and how our CTE programs can be improved.  I have also been newly assigned to work with the Federal Perkins Grant.  I will be working closely with the Perkins faculty and staff to discuss and plan for their data needs and to prepare the Perkins quarterly counselor report.  Additionally, I support other projects within the RIE office on an as needed basis.

Micheline Pontious, Professional Expert

Currently I am working on the self-study for the upcoming 2017 accreditation, on multiple learning community projects such as Pathways to Transfer and a cost effectiveness study for the learning communities tutoring programs and I provide support on projects as needed. The Pathways to Transfer program is an accelerated program which offers students in math and English the opportunity to move through three courses in 2 semesters. I provide support to Pathways program by designing surveys which are administered in class and analyzing survey data and completion rates. The reports from the Pathways to Transfer has been used to expand the program at Mt. SAC and apply for the AACC Pathways National Project (which was awarded). I have also recently worked on, a Locus of Control (LOC) Survey for a faculty member project, the CIRP national freshman survey, and Statway success and retention rates report.

Cathy Stute, Professional Expert

After a four year absence, Cathy rejoined RIE as a Project Coordinator to provide support to the Accreditation team.  Some of her responsibilities included: evidence management, editorial work, support for ADA compliance and investigation of link errors.  She is also a contributor for Basic Skills research, working on analyzing tutoring attendance as a predictor of success in Math 50, Math 51, and English 67.  Previously she worked on early Basic Skills grants and co-authored the initial Mt. Sac Student Learning Handbook.

Vera Froman, Professional Expert

Vanessa Kettering, Professional Expert

Jose Rodriguez, Professional Expert

Elizabeth Bogumil, Professional Expert (IRB Coordinator)

In Spring 2016 I joined the Mt. SAC Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness. My unique focus is on qualitative research. My main responsibilities include providing qualitative research program evaluation and guided support to Student Equity Plan projects. Presently, I have engaged in six program evaluations supporting Student Equity Plan projects focusing on Tech Ed Resource Center (TERC) for course, degree, and certificate completion in highly employable majors; Summer Boot Camp (WIN), to prepare athletes for fall enrollment; support for under-represented students in STEM courses and STEM majors (STEM Center); diversity training for tutors (LAC); retention research and counseling for non-credit, ESL, and Basic Skills students (ABE); support for non-credit vocational ESL students. Additionally, guided support in the distribution of an LGBTQ Climate Survey was provided a Student Equity Plan project focusing on professional development, planning, and development of support for LGBTQ students.   The results of the Student Equity research is used for examination into the lived experiences of those who engage in said program which can result in program development, evolution, and trouble shooting.

Melissa Alvarez-Mejorado, Administrative Specialist III

Office Location: Bldg. 4 Room 2435 • Phone: (909) 274-4618 • Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., weekdays