The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

OIRA Strategic Plan 2013-2017

The mission of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) collects, analyzes, and disseminates essential information about the University's environment and performance. This information supports institutional management, planning, and decision making; and meets a variety of state and federal government mandates.

Our vision is to be the most trusted university provider of data for data-driven decision-making.

Our key values are quality, integrity, leadership, and service

OIRA has impact on the University’s VolVision strategic plan by helping lead the shift to a culture of assessment and accountability, and by providing reliable data systems and reporting for evidence-based decision-making.

Building on the recommendations from the 2010 self study and external review, and subsequent office planning meetings, OIRA has focused our five-year strategic plan on three priority areas:

  1. impacting campus culture
  2. data and reporting
  3. office procedures 

OIRA can impact campus culture through our relationships with other units and key administrators, our knowledge of campus data needs, and our role in establishing common terminology and data definitions. OIRA’s responsibilities in ensuring accurate and timely data for decision-making are broad in scope and rely on partnerships across campus, accessible and complete data sources, and a full and well-trained staff.

While OIRA reports directly to the Provost, we are charged with meeting the information needs first for government-mandated projects (IPEDS, THEC Performance Funding, etc.), the UT System, and the Chancellor and Provost. Secondly, we provide data to campus administrators and external agencies such as college guides, CSRDE, VSA, etc.

Three Strategic Priorities

Impacting Campus Culture


  • Support campus culture of evidence-based decision-making
  • Continue to work closely with data owners/custodians, for both student and HR data, to ensure completeness and accuracy and help them understand how data is used in reporting
  • Maintain the Assessment partnership with TennTLC and Office of Accreditation, and continue to make progress in ensuring a culture of assessment
  • Help the university ensure a successful SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation
  • Support for Vol Vision Strategic Plan and Top25 Initiative

Data and Reporting


  • Partnership with OIT and campus data owners (student data) to build a new Institutional Data System for reporting
  • Recreate and expand the OIRA databases (student and faculty/staff)
  • Revise and expand the Fact Book, including online reports
  • Expand online reports for Academic Unit Statistics and Academic Program Review
  • Begin to conduct analytical studies to assist decision-makers (IR and Assessment)
  • Partnerships to collect additional student data (NSSE surveys, Career Services, Student Life, etc.)
  • Data Administrator for the Planning/Assessment module in Compliance Assist
  • Support for Performance Funding requirements

Office Procedures 


  • Conduct periodic OIRA retreat
  • Create project tracking system and master calendar
  • Work with OIT and SERA on a university-wide request form for reports and data, and work on methodology and distribution of requests
  • Implement an assessment plan
  • Staff cross-training and professional development

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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System