Hue Q

Susan Hayes, executive director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness


A: One role of the Institutional Research office is to analyze college data and then circulate that information to our faculty, staff, and administration. That data can inform decisions, plans, and budgets to improve the student experience and campus environment.

Every three years, FIT participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement. The survey is given to students who are in the spring of their first year and those in the spring of their last year, and it asks: How do you spend your time? How has your FIT experience contributed to your personal development? Are you interested in studying abroad? What has influenced your career plans? From their responses, we learn where we are ahead, where we could be doing better, and a little bit of the why and how.

From the survey we administered in spring 2023, we learned that almost three-quarters of first-year students expected to do an internship, and close to 60% of seniors reported that they had done one. Half of first-year students were interested in studying abroad, and 16% of seniors had done so, more than double that of other SUNY institutions.

But when we dug deeper into the results, we found that fewer first-generation students and students of color were participating in these high-impact experiences and were spending more hours a week on average working, commuting, and helping out at home.

I’ve already begun presenting the results to the president’s cabinet, the deans, and the chairs, and I plan on speaking with students as well. Together, we are developing strategies to improve access to all the high-impact experiences FIT offers. We can’t just create a report, file it in a drawer, and be done. We need to use that data to make a difference for our students.