Bringing an institutional research focus to Passport implementation

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Interstate Passport Briefing
This is one of 5 articles in the June 2019 newsletter.
Dr. Tasha Dannenbring

Dr. Tasha Dannenbring serves as the primary Institutional Research expert for the South Dakota Board of Regents. She works with various councils and groups in the university system to develop, revise, interpret, and implement data management and analysis solutions to inform decision making.

Dannenbring also oversees system assessment of General Education. She works closely on other system initiatives including Complete College America, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and Interstate Passport.  Dannenbring serves as both the state Passport State Facilitator of South Dakota and is a representative on the Interstate Passport Registrars and Institutional Researchers Committee. As the Passport State Facilitator, she works to implement Interstate Passport and facilitate data reporting across all Interstate Passport Network members in the state. As a committee representative, she is able to provide feedback on data reporting.

“Students experience many benefits as a result of their campus participating in Interstate Passport. They appreciate the benefit of being able to transfer their entire General Education experience from one awarding institution to another. This offers them the flexibility to be able to maintain a career path of their choosing, regardless of the institution offerings, and without spending excess time or money retaking courses. They achieve an official landmark, a Passport, and the sense of pride of accomplishment. As employers look increasingly at the broad range of skills required in the workforce, a Passport signals that students have earned a significant level of General Education achievement. Earning a Passport propels a student toward degree completion in a timely fashion so that they can move to the next step. I firmly believe that the process of transfer and the pedagogical strength of Interstate Passport offers us an insight into to the future of student transfer, and eventually this will become a common and even expected process across higher education and industry. We have a duty to our students to ensure that they gain a high quality and well recognized credential, Passport Interstate affords us that opportunity.”

“As we have implemented Interstate Passport across our system communication has been critical. Given the cross-disciplinary nature of the components of Interstate Passport, it has been vital that I communicate and understand the intricacies of a number of units across our system. While email serves a purpose in this process, I have found that speaking with necessary constituents provides me so much more insight on what is going well and pain points we need to work on. Other tools I have relied upon include many of our system level policies, and on the technology side, well designed cognos reports and sql code.”

“It has been extremely rewarding to be able to serve as the Passport State facilitator, and have a role in reporting Interstate Passport data to the National Student Clearinghouse, and assessment of General Education. I feel privileged to be able to work in these three areas critical to the Interstate Passport program. A next step will be to work with our faculty and advisor groups to identify strategies on how we can better communicate the benefit of earning a Passport through faculty and academic advisors.”

Dannenbring is also a member of the Association of Institutional Research Data Policy Analysis Group, recently guest edited a special edition of the Mid Western Educational Researcher focused on institutional research. She holds a B.S. from Rockford University, a M.S. from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. from the University of South Dakota.

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