People often ask me if “things” will slow down at HERI now that summer is here. Perhaps they think we are about to start some type of summer respite from our traditional very busy pace? While the UCLA campus will certainly seem slower with many fewer people on campus each day, life in academia, and in particular at HERI, speeds up rather than slows during the summer months.
Summer is the time where researchers, like me, traditionally focus their attention on writing and publishing. I will be completing work on a national monograph on degree completion that will come out later this summer, and will also be working on some other manuscripts related to educational attainment, retention, and the first-year experience.
In addition to finishing up research and publishing projects, summer is a rejuvenation of sorts for our surveys. The CIRP research staff devotes what seems like countless hours to reviewing and updating each of our surveys. We are committed to keeping our surveys fresh and asking questions that are relevant to the changing needs of our campuses while at the same time balancing the need for consistency in the questions we ask.
We are also kept quite busy at HERI each summer producing institutional reports on the data our institutions collected during the previous year using our survey instruments. This summer we will have reports related to our 2010/11 HERI Faculty Survey, 2011 Diverse Learning Environments Survey, College Senior Survey and Your First College Year Survey that will be created and released. The very large bulk of the work related to producing these reports is left in the very capable hands of our data management folks. They make it all seem very easy, but I know what they do is a ton of work.
And, I can’t forget to mention our summer institutes! This summer we have three – first the CIRP Summer Institute, than the Diversity Research Institute, and finally our new Retention and Persistence Institute. I will be serving as an instructor in two of the three institutes! Although these institutes are a lot of work they are something I really enjoy. It is very refreshing to get to work directly with the folks that attend our institutes about issues that matter to them on their campuses.
I’ll also perhaps attempt to squeeze in a vacation day or two during the next three months. But, that all depends on finding the time! Around here during the summer we are busy indeed!