assessment, evaluation, and institutional research
Ten years after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law & Society at the University of California, Irvine and my master's degree in Higher Education Administration at Boston College, I began my Ph.D. degree in the History, Philosophy, and Policy in Education - Specialization in Education Policy Studies at the School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) anticipating in pursuing a life-long career in the academy as a senior administrator or faculty member. Upon arrival, my advisor Dr. Margaret Sutton and then Dr. Heidi A. Ross encouraged me to enroll in the Certificate in Institutional Research (IR) program, allowing me to develop my quantitative skills as a future scholar-practitioner and policy agent in higher education. Through my coursework, I have been able to conduct and complete a wide variety of equity-oriented projects/artifacts/briefs to enhance my assessment and data analysis skills and to prepare myself for a career focused on IR. In my current full-time position interpreting data of 21st Century Scholars enrollment and completion at IUB, I discovered my love and passion to carry out data-informed research into my academic and professional career as a higher education administrator and policy analyst.
Reflecting back on my years as both a master and doctoral student, I have used both primary and secondary administrative data to analyze students learning and living experience in cross-border and transnational higher education; benchmarked university-wide student retention and degree attainment rates against those of peer institutions; assessed millennials and gen z behavior and engagement on private philanthropy to higher education; and forecasted student academic momentum on college completion and time-to-degree rates among academic probationary and underrepresented students, leading to my current Ph.D. dissertation proposal that I plan to defend in August 2018. This work has allowed me to create and develop a guided pathway from graduate school to career for what I hope will translate into a tenure-track position as a teacher-scholar or advanced practitioner, using evidence-based strategies to inform my practice and allow me to conceptualize both theoretically and empirically how my program is advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in higher education.
A few samples of my current and completed projects/artifacts/briefs from this IR Certificate program can be downloaded on my ‘Projects’ page at Click Here. These assessment projects have advanced my ability to critically analyze small and large-scale data set; enabled me to generate both descriptive and inferential statistics; enhanced my Excel, SPSS, STATA, NVivo, and Qualtrics experience; and improved my storytelling experience through both visual graphs and bar charts either verbally or orally. The opportunity to develop and refine those skills during my coursework in the IR Certificate program has allowed me to understand the meaning of statistics and the value of the IR profession. A few notable skills that I obtained includes developing program evaluation of reports and studies; designing rigorous and reliable surveys that are intentional and inclusive; synthesizing a wide body of literature; and implementing appropriate survey designs based on the intended research questions and audiences.
As I move closer towards graduation with my Ph.D. degree in Education Policy Studies with a Ph.D. minor in Philanthropic Studies, I believe that both the skills I have gained will allow me to enter the IR profession competent needed to improve practices/outcomes of a program/department and/or the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution. I have been fortunate and blessed to develop research projects that will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through stories and visual illustrations. I have also been able to test hypotheses, to clean and input missing data, to code and transcribe data, as well as to share my findings at both national and international conferences with policymakers and institutional researchers in a way that promotes institutional action. Using evidence-based data to improve the decision-making processes in an office/program will continue to serve me well for a career in the academy and to address systems of oppression and disparity of disadvantaged groups. In the future, I desire to advance the emerging field of institutional research by conducting longitudinal, empirical studies that could improve on-time graduation and degree attainment rate of marginalized populations. I look forward to being an advocate for policy change, both as a researcher and as a practitioner in the IR profession.
diversity, equity, and inclusion
Prior to beginning my doctoral program in education policy studies, I had minimal formal training in diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an Asian-American higher education professional, I have often challenged myself as the model minority and the historical context of discrimination and my role as a privileged wealthy elite despite my tendency to believe otherwise. Through my work in the 21st Century Scholars Program at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana Commission for Higher Education, I have been able to look beyond myself to create an identity-based conscious program for low-income college students and to assess the program’s effectiveness in terms of outcomes, processes, and oppression. I have also been able to host student success conversations with marginalized students that promote timely graduation and degree attainment within 4-years of initial enrollment. Though I know I am not changing state-wide policies for 21st Century Scholars, I know they value my opinion and challenge their own perception of race and racism in society. Along with this, I have begun to recognize my place, purpose, and identity in discussions surrounding diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs. Furthermore, I began to listen to others about their experiences of oppression, privilege, and power. Nevertheless, I hope to expand upon these processes and outcomes as I develop my role as a policy analyst and researcher.
I consider myself as a strong advocate of on-time graduation and the importance of need-based financial aid. My research interests include college retention and completion of underrepresented students, philanthropy and fundraising in university advancement, and student experience in international higher education. My current dissertation work has focused on the impact of 15 to Finish on college completion and time-to-degree rates of marginalized populations in college promise programs. I currently serve on the advisory committee of the Forum on Education Abroad and sit on the international students and study abroad SIG awards committee chair of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).
I believe that a few 21st century skills I have acquired during my graduate school years at Indiana University Bloomington, Boston College, and the University of Hong Kong were time management, interpersonal, conceptual, public speaking, intrapersonal, communication, and analytical skills. I also believe that I have developed self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability throughout my years in the academy. In addition, I consider myself as a visionary leader who understands how to take risks; how to propose new ideas and support those of others; how to support strong educational missions and goals; how to develop and nurture effective working relationships; how to share expertise and knowledge to help others develop; and how to respond in a timely way to the concerns of others.
Accordingly, I believe that one of my responsibility as an intellectual leader in higher education is to show appreciation to other people and care about other people’s attitude and emotion in the academy. In most higher education settings today, students, faculty, and staff do not take the time or effort to show gratitude to their colleagues for their hard work. We live in a society where we are more focused on ourselves than for others. We seek pleasure because we live in a “me” self-culture. I believe that as an intellectual leader, I must give encouragement to other people who love what they do in their job. I think this component is instrumental because leaders should be the ones who give encouragement to the heart. By encouraging other leaders, I believe that I can ultimately instill a sense of knowledge, objective, ingenuity, confidence, and courage, according to John Kunich and Richard Lester article in “Profile of a Leader: The Wallenberg Effect." The idea of encouragement empowers more people to have a higher degree of emotional intelligence, specifically in self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill that is outlined in Daniel Goleman book in “What Makes a Leader?” by the Harvard Business Review.
Thus, I offer the following ten statements as a scholar-practitioner (taken from Edward VanBeers, Elmira College Graduate Student):
1) I will conduct myself as an ethical person when dealing with learners, colleagues, and others in which I may encounter in all my undertakings.
2) I will offer to each adult learner the insight of my combined knowledge and developed skills in a manner that is offered and received without prejudice, judgment, or predetermined notions of an adult learner’s ability, disability, religious beliefs, learning style, age, socioeconomic status, gender, race, and ethnicity.
3) I will conduct myself in a supportive, but professional, manner in all my dealings with adult learners and colleagues, setting the standard and putting forth the highest respect in my professional relationships with others.
4) I will refrain from any and all activities which may be construed as unethical, or which may violate written and unwritten codes of professional and personal conduct, rules, regulations and similar standards of the profession of adult education, and/or the laws of jurisdictions.
5) I will encourage adult learners to participate in the planning and development of their educational experiences to the extent of challenging them to reach their full academic and personal potential and provide the environment supportive to such self-directed success.
6) I will continue my whole-hearted commitment to developing quality programs, tools, resources and delivery methods to the benefit of adult education.
7) I will continue the development of myself as a lifelong learner, and professional in the field by seeking personal knowledge, skills and the commitment of my own potential as an adult learner throughout my life, and develop productive and effective systems to create an environment for adult learners conducive to reaching their full learning potential.
8) I will practice to the best of my ability the asset of objectivity and will entertain thoughts of all learners without bias to predetermined beliefs or shadows of conflicting values, morals and/or judgments.
9) I will promote ethical thinking and living among those whose paths I encounter in all walks of life, by conducting myself in such a manner as to set the example.
10) I will in good faith respectfully negotiate with administrators, adult learners, policy-makers, legislators and others involved in creating rules, codes, laws, expenditures, environments, programs, and policies that affect the institution of adult education for the benefit of adult learners, and in accordance with my personal philosophy on adult education.