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. 40 (Modular on south side)  (As of August 10, 2015, RIE's Temporary Location)
Phone: (909) 274-4109

Recent Research Projects (last updated July 25, 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. Main projects that I have worked on since reassignment include: (1) building a AB540 student database to support Mt. SAC California Dream Act services and for reaching out to eligible students about scholarship opportunities, (2) preparing twelve local school district reports and forty-two feeder high school reports for High School Outreach program to present at its annual High School Counselors and Faculty Conference to share with individual high school personnel about their students’ enrollment and first year progress at Mt. SAC, (3) compiling key outcome measurement data of students in Achieving in College, Ensuring Success (ACES) program as evidence of program impact to support the TRIO SSS grant renewal application and its annual Grant Performance Report, (4) completing spring 2015 MATH Placement Test Satisfaction Survey data analysis to support college’s resubmission on MATH Placement Test validation to seek full approval from the Chancellor’s Office, and (5) conducting data integrity investigation on Foster Youth status to support student equity projects and to assist an effort leading by Financial Aid Office and Information Technology departments in establishing a validation process.

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)

Being one of the newest members of the Research team, I've gotten the chance to dive head first into realm of student enrollment, persistence, and success. In many respects it is related to student equity,  but provides an all encompassing look into how recruitment, retention and success is conducted and assessed here at the College. 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 on student centered scheduling. 

Marcell Gilmore, Research Assistant

Since coming aboard at Mt. SAC, my research has focused on goal alignment, Pathways, and Student Equity.  I have assisted the college with engaging in the process of identifying and aligning common goals within the SSSP, Strategic Plan, Academic Master Plan, Student Equity Plan, and Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative.  I am also involved with coordination and data analysis of Pathways, an accelerated learning communities program that provides students with a unique opportunity to complete a sequence of three math or English courses in two terms (summer/fall or winter/spring).  The bulk of my responsibilities are related to different levels of involvement in the Student Equity initiative on campus.  This work has consisted of supporting the Student Equity Committee, and campus stakeholders engaged in various student equity projects.  My work has also allowed me to become involved with the college’s initial efforts in implementing the Minority Male Community College Collaborative.

Minerva Avila, Professional Expert 

My responsibilities in the RIE Office are primarily to coordinate external surveys and provide support to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Federal Perkins Grant, and assist with other projects as needed. During 2014, I coordinated the administration of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE), and The CIRP Freshman Survey - all national surveys aimed at collecting critical information. I analyzed the CCSSE and CCFSSE results and presented findings to Mt. SAC administrators, faculty, and staff for reflection and discussion, planning purposes, and accreditation. On an ongoing basis, I provide support to the IRB to help Mt. SAC comply with federal regulations and local policies. My duties include monitoring changes to IRB membership, renewing/updating Mt. SAC’s IRB and federal-wide assurance (FWA), verifying completion of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) human research subjects ethics training, making the IRB application readily available to interested parties, acting as a liaison between principal investigators and the IRB, tracking IRB-approved projects on campus, coordinating changes to the Administrative Policy, completing the IRB Committee goals, and preparing the IRB's GAP Analysis. I also work closely with the Perkins faculty and staff to discuss and plan for data needs. I prepare the Perkins quarterly counselor report, disaggregate data by degree type, design surveys when needed, analyze survey results, discuss findings, and investigate any discrepancies between the Chancellor's Office and Mt. SAC with regard to completed certificates and degrees. As needed, I am assigned to other projects.

 Shannon Rider, Professional Expert

Since joining the RIE team at Mt. SAC, I have been responsible for the analysis and reporting of several student survey projects. One survey I have completed has been the Alumni Survey, which collects information about employment and educational plans of Mt. SAC graduates and is conducted annually after students have finalized their degree. My survey analysis was both qualitative and quantitative in nature and the results were presented to the Mt. SAC Career and Technical Education (CTE) Deans Group. I also reviewed and analyzed certain results from the CIRP national survey, a survey which collects information about a wide range of characteristics of Mt. SAC’s incoming students. The results were then presented to Mt. SAC administrators and faculty and the findings from this survey provide data that are used for reflection and discussion, planning purposes, and accreditation. Currently, I am working on Basic Skills projects and I support other projects on an as needed basis.

Micheline Pontious, Professional Expert

I provide support on multiple projects as needed. I recently finished writing a report and presenting the results of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) to Mt. SAC administrators.  CIRP is a national freshman survey; Mt. SAC uses the information collected to help administrators better understand incoming students and their needs to better inform decision making. I have also developed, administered and analyzed the results from a survey for Student Health Services. The survey aims to inform Student Health Services about their student outreach efforts and to learn more about student’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors about the Student Health Center. 



Office Location: Bldg. 4 Room 2435 • Phone: (909) 274-4109 • Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., weekdays