Research

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Diversity Symposia

Since 2005, Mount Holyoke College has been participating in the Diversity Symposia sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the National Institutes for Health. The goal of these symposia is to bring together institutions committed to increasing the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students in the life sciences. One accomplishment of this collaborative effort so far has been to put in place strategies to collect data on URM student recruitment and retention—data that will provide benchmarks against which colleges and universities can measure the impact of their science diversity initiatives. The Office of Institutional Research, along with the Registrar's Office, is instrumental in compiling the data to support this goal.

Community College Transfer Initiative

The Office of Institutional Research provides ongoing data in support of the Community College Transfer Initiative sponsored by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The Foundation is providing funding to eight campuses—Amherst College, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Mount Holyoke College, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Southern California—that have formed partnerships with community colleges to facilitate the transfer of low- to moderate-income community college transfer students to their campuses.

College Sports Project

Mount Holyoke College is currently participating in the College Sports Project (CSP); an initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CSP represents more than 130 colleges and universities in the NCAA's Division III who are committed to strengthening the bonds between intercollegiate athletics and educational values. Mount Holyoke's participation in CSP participation represents a commitment to two core principles: (1) athletes are first and foremost students; they should be “representative” of all other students, particularly in terms of academic outcomes and opportunities for engagement in campus activities; and (2) intercollegiate athletic programs must be properly aligned with colleges’ and universities’ primary missions; this requires the integration of coaches and athletic administrators into the mainstream of campus educational life, as well as the cultivation of greater faculty understanding of the potential educational values of athletic programs. In support of this project, the Office of Institutional Research supplies annual data on students entering between Fall 2005 and Fall 2009, for the five-year duration of the current study.

SAT Optional Study

The Office of Institutional Research has conducted research on Mount Holyoke College's SAT-optional policy. A complete summary of this research is available via MHC News & Events: SAT Scores Made Optional at Mount Holyoke College.

Bates Multi-institutional SAT Optional Study

Mount Holyoke is participating in Bates College's two-year multi-institutional study of SAT Optional testing practices at liberal arts colleges, private universities, public universities, arts-oriented, and minority-serving institutions.  Despite the increasing numbers of SAT optional higher education institutions, there has been little published research about the outcomes of these policies.  The study will examine the proportions of applicants who choose not to submit scores at testing optional institutions, the academic achievement of submitters versus non-submitters, graduation rates of submitters versus non-submitters, and the demographic characteristics of submitters versus non-submitters at roughly 30 institutions.

The study will be conducted in five phases over a two-year period:

  1. Research Design  (February 2011-May 2011)
  2. Pre-Study  (June 2011-August 2011)
  3. Data Collection  (September 2011-February 2012)
  4. Data Analysis  (March 2012-July 2012)
  5. Reporting  (August 2012-February 2013)

Review of Re-Enrollment Behavior

In conjunction with the research group, Scannell & Kurz, Inc., Mount Holyoke College recently completed a study of re-enrollment behavior among students enrolled between Fall 1999 and Fall 2005 who entered as full-time, first-year students. A summary of this research report can be obtained by contacting Alison Donta.