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Summer Fellows Lab

Each year, the Center for Institutional Research in Independent Schools invites a small cohort of institutional research practitioners to join its Summer Fellows Lab around a specific topic area selected by CIRIS. Participants join the cohort with a concrete project plan and work collaboratively to complete their projects over the course of several months.

In the spring, cohort members identify goals for that year, consult with each other for advice, and compile the data sets necessary to advance the project. In late June, all cohort members gather for a three-day work session hosted by Maret School in Washington, DC. The Center will cover travel and hotel expenses for Fellows to come to Washington, DC and each Fellow will also receive a stipend of $500 from the Center.


Program Goals

The work session has two complementary objectives: 

  • To help institutional research practitioners in independent schools build the technical capacities required to pursue research questions; and
  • To carve out intensive work periods during which participants can actually execute the nuts-and-bolts tasks necessary to turn their data sets into functional models alongside peers with relevant and constructive experience.

Following the summer session, cohort members will be in contact virtually as they implement their work and determine next steps in the fall and winter.

2023 Topic: Writing "The Book" on Institutional Research

This year, CIRIS will be supporting a cohort of researchers collaborating to produce a guidebook for schools looking to grow an institutional research program. The guidebook will cover topics like:  

  • How are IR roles structured in schools and how can schools find IR hires?
  • What types of questions does institutional research tackle and how do schools select projects?
  • What are best practices for data infrastructure and governance to support an IR program?
  • Best practices around survey feedback
  • Common statistical analysis techniques
  • Suggestions for choosing data visualization packages and tips for creating user-friendly, impactful dashboards
  • Laying out a vision for the role IR can play in independent schools over the next 5-10 years

Application Deadline: Friday February 17th, 2023

We hope to convene a cohort of institutional research practitioners from established programs with a variety of backgrounds (ranging from database management to statistical analysis to data-informed leadership) to contribute to this year's project. After notifications in early March, cohort members will engage with the IR community throughout the spring to research "The Book" via webinars and conference sessions (particularly the ATLIS conference on April 30th - May 3rd) before convening on Maret's campus in Washington, DC on June 21st-23rd. Lab alums from 2020, 2021, and 2022 are welcome to reapply this year.