RESEARCH & INSTITUTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

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. 

Recent Research Projects (last updated March 22, 2017)
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. The major work over the past 8 months turned out to be helping with accreditation. I am happy to report that the College had its ACCJC Site Visit March 6-9, 2017. The Visiting Team found that the College met ALL ACCJC Standards. This is exceptional news that demonstrates the depth and breadth of our work. Of particular honor was a shout out given to how well the College uses data for decision making. 

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. I support this effort by creating tools which allow for the rapid production of reports. These reports show the relative success of groups of students on measures of student success, and analyze this according to the demographic categories important to Student Equity. These reports are being used to help the Student Equity Activities to better understand the students they serve. I also conducted a detailed analysis of the Basic Skills sequences of Math, English and American Language (credit ESL). This highlighted the particular parts of the sequences which constitute the most difficult hurdles on the way to successful completion of these sequences.

In support of Mt. SAC’s preparation for our accreditation site visit, I created a system so the writing teams could record evidence, and have it included in our self evaluation as clickable hot links which take the reader directly to the pdfs of the evidence. This effort involved both the technical effort of setting up spreadsheet formats and writing code which would create the links, as well as repeated passes through the thousands of pieces of evidence and the associated links to ensure that everything was properly identified and named, cross-referenced, and inserted in the self evaluation narrative. And doing this again for the various revisions. Overall, my role was that of technical expert: setting up systems, doing the technical manipulations, running cross-checks, and helping strategize the work of the RIE team to deliver the final, functioning presentation of the evidence to support Mt. SAC’s accreditation.

Jade Pearce, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (Enrollment Management)
Since coming to Mt. SAC in 2015, I’ve gotten the opportunity to wear many hats within the department including: enrollment management, grant research and acting as the Institutional Review Board (IRB) specialist. For 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.  In addition, I’ve begun research on one of Mt. SAC’s newest grants: the American Association of Community College (AACC) Pathways where the college is shifting towards establishing guided pathways based off of “meta-majors.” The goal is to provide an avenue for students to discover their interests and provide resources towards success and persistence. Finally, as Mt. SAC’s IRB specialist, I help provide insight for all incoming research requests to work with the college’s population. In other words, I get the opportunity to promote ethical research practices and hold researchers accountable to their methodologies.

Marcell Gilmore, Research Assistant
My primary research is responsibilities are focused on Student Equity.  In that role, I attend and contribute to Student Equity Committee meetings; Conduct focus groups (Adult Basic Education, Library, and AACC Pathways); and the coordination and administration of M2C3 surveys as part of the College’s Minority Male Initiative.  As part of MMI team, we presented our findings at the Strengthening Student Success Conference this year.  In addition, I am working with the Associate Dean of Student Success & Equity to support the various Student Equity projects on campus with regard goal development, data collection, and data analysis.  Other responsibilities have included Accreditation, and 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.

In March, 2017 I began a permanent part-time position in the RIE office.  My primary focus will be to provide data which supports the college in its newly awarded Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation Grant.  The grant provides funding to competitively selected colleges for use to adopt or expand their use of evidence-based models of academic assessment, placement, remediation, and student support in order to accelerate the progress of underprepared students toward accomplishing educational and career goals.  Mt. SAC has identified four high-impact practices to respond to the needs of students placing into basic skills English courses.  These practices include developing co-requisite courses, accelerated curriculum, contextualized learning communities, and imbedding tutors within the classroom.  My responsibilities to this grant include continually tracking participant success markers, analyzing data for these four high-impact practices and preparing reports for use by the program coordinators, faculty coordinators, English faculty, and Mt. SAC administrators.  

Cathy Stute, Professional Expert
After a four year absence, I rejoined RIE as a project coordinator to provide support to the Accreditation team.  Some of my responsibilities included: evidence management, editorial work, support for ADA compliance and investigation of link errors.  I am 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 I worked on early Basic Skills grants and co-authored the initial Mt. Sac Student Learning Outcomes Handbook.

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 for student equity. I left to pursue higher education, but remain as a Project Coordinator for the College's Institutional Review Board (IRB). I am required to advise the IRB on Federal Guidelines for IRBs. I help with the review of proposals for research projects that are done outside of the normal day-to-day operations of the College. I also keep up with the correspondence for the applicants and checks to ensure they are CITI trained. 

Melissa Alvarez-Mejorado, Administrative Specialist III
I began my journey with the RIE department in February 2017.  I have over seventeen years of community college experience, working at Rio Hondo Community College prior to my arrival at Mt. SAC.  I am experienced in working with Grant Development and Management, am familiar with the varying needs of  the college's academic and student services departments as they relate to grant funding and compliance, and am highly proficient in working with the operational departments across campus.  Thus far, I assisted the College during its accreditation Site Visit and provided office coordination and management for the RIE Team such as managing calendars, filing system, pulling together department project logs, budget tracking and analysis, coordinating and supporting meeting with logistics and minutes, and working with Remark to create scanning templates. I look forward to my journey here at Mt. San Antonio College.

Vera Froman, Professional Expert
I began working with the Research and Institutional Effectiveness office at the beginning of Spring 2016. Initially, I provided the Accreditation team with assistance on various tasks including: evidence retrieval and organization, linking reports, and editing reports when necessary. Since accreditation has ended, I have worked on Basic Skills and Student Equity projects. Recently, for Basics Skills I have provided success rates for two separate programs: a non-credit co-requisite Learn Biology Reading course and an ESL self-directed learning lab with the Language Learning Center. As for Student Equity, I am working with a committee of individuals in developing and the administering a Campus Climate Survey that is focused on understanding the attitudes and behaviors the Mt. SAC student body has towards sexual assault.   

Vanessa Kettering, Professional Expert

Jose Rodriguez, Professional Expert

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