Policies and Procedures

Goal Statement

The goal of institutional research at Bowdoin College is to provide reliable and valid data and information to College constituents in support of decision making, policy formation and planning.

Reporting and Responsibilities

The Office of Institutional Research at Bowdoin College is under the direction of the Vice President for Institutional Planning and Assessment and formally reports to the Dean for Academic Affairs. Institutional research serves all aspects of the College's work, including academic affairs, student affairs, admissions, financial aid, finance and development. Major responsibilities include:

  • Compiling and reporting official College in an annual Fact Book;
  • Coordinating internal survey research;
  • Conducting special research projects;
  • Tracking data from colleges most like Bowdoin for use in comparative analyses;
  • Responding to special requests for data;
  • Completing requests for data from outside agencies, college guidebooks and publications; and
  • Consulting about data-gathering activities in operating departments and encouraging data coding and reporting practices that will make for higher levels of consistency and accuracy across the College.

Professional Ethics

The Office of Institutional Research at Bowdoin College complies with the Code of Ethics established by the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and adopted by its membership in 1992.

Documents and Their Distribution

Projects that result in documents for circulation are always distributed to the President and members of the College Coordinating Group. Copies of these reports can be requested from the Office of Institutional Research and excerpts of some reports (For Faculty & Staff) are available on the Web.

Portions of this Web site have been designed for use only by Bowdoin faculty and staff. These portions are labeled For Faculty & Staff on the IR home page. We do not permit the sharing of data and information contained on For Faculty & Staff pages of this site with anyone outside of Bowdoin. If you are unable to gain access and have a request for information, please contact our office at (207)725-3789. If you are able to gain access and have a request for information from someone off campus, please have that person contact our office. Thank you.

Special Requests

Most special requests are initiated by members of the College Coordinating Group. College and faculty committees may also make special requests as long as the College Coordinating Group member most directly linked with the nature of that committee is informed of the request. The distribution of documents is determined in consultation with the College Coordinating Group member and/or committee that made the special request.


Data that are held in confidence are typically of three types:

  1. Data on individual students or employees that must be held confidential either because of federal legislation or College custom (an example of the latter are salaries);
  2. Data on other colleges that we do not obtain through public documents; and
  3. Data that we would not want our competitor colleges to obtain.

Tables or documents containing such data are not placed in circulation. Any distribution of confidential data is done only with permission of the College Coordinating Group member most closely linked with the nature of the data. Confidential data are always clearly marked as such. It is important to note that memos or reports summarizing or referring to confidential data may be placed in circulation as long as the confidential data themselves are not attached.

Assistance with Surveys

The Office of Institutional Research does provide assistance with the wording and online posting of survey instruments originating from outside the office. However, survey work takes time and, depending on the scope of the project, often without a minimum of 2-3 months' lead time, we can not take on projects of this type. The extent of assistance provided with conducting surveys and analyzing survey data is up to the discretion of the office.

Published and maintained by the
Bowdoin College Office of Institutional Research

Copyright © 2011 Bowdoin College. All rights reserved.
Last Modified: November 12, 2007