Office of Institutional Effectiveness FAQ

What does the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) do?

OIE supports evidence-based decision-making by providing relevant and reliable data-based information and insight to administrators, faculty, program and unit directors and others. Learn more about what we do on our About OIE page.

What is “institutional research”?

Institutional research involves the collection, analysis and interpretation of information descriptive of an institution and its activities, including its students, faculty, staff, programs, management and operations. Institutional data are used internally for decision-making (e.g., strategic planning, assessment, departmental self-studies) and are also reported to federal, national, regional, and state agencies (e.g., IPEDS, MSCHE, NCAA, HEDS). Institutional reporting secures the College’s reputation in the public space and provides benchmark comparisons and trends for decision-making.

What is “assessment”?

​Assessment is a systematic process of inquiry and innovation that involves gathering qualitative and/or quantitative data to gauge progress on our goals. When conducted​ properly, assessment provides faculty, staff and administrative leaders with information about where changes to processes and practices might be needed, and where to invest effort and resources to improve important outcomes such as student learning, program completion, career-readiness, student and staff satisfaction, faculty scholarship, resource management and others. See our Guiding Principles to learn more about how assessment works at Queens College. For other assessment related questions, please see our Assessment FAQs.


What data does OIE use?

​OIE makes use of student and employee data from both internal and external data systems. Most of the data is derived from the college’s student and human resources management system, CUNYfirst, sometimes directly, but mostly indirectly through interfaces or extracts from CUNYfirst. Other data come from surveys and external data collections such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). OIE staff access institutional data from college and central office databases that arrange CUNYfirst data in ways that support the ongoing information and reporting requirements of the college. These include:

  • IRDB (Institutional Research Database)
  • QC Data Warehouse
  • CUNYfirst Reporting Instance
Can I request data from OIE?

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) provides data to QC academic and adminstrative departments to inform student success initiatives, to support program development and/or evaluation, and to guide strategic planning.

To request data from OIE , send an email to with the following information:

  1. Which department/program is requesting the data?
  2. What questions are you are trying to answer?
  3. What specific data elements do you need?
  4. From what year(s) or term(s) do you need the data?
  5. How will this information be used and/or disseminated?
  6. ​What is the time frame of your project?

Note: Please provide OIE a 3-week lead ahead of time for data requests.

What kind of data can OIE provide?
  • Student demographics
  • Graduation and retention rates
  • Program data (e.g., faculty headcount, grades distribution)
  • Financial Aid information
What kind of data is OIE not able to provide?
  • Personally Identifiable information
  • FERPA protected information
Is it permissible to share the data that OIE has provided to me?

Since this depends on the nature of the data that has been shared with you, please consult OIE.

Where can I find historical institutional data?

​Several interactive data displays on our website allow users to select a prior term to display historical data and some displays show trends over time. 

Does OIE provide help with surveys?

Yes! OIE provides assistance with all aspects of survey implementation, and we encourage all departments at QC who are engaged in survey research to share their surveys with us, as we can provide expert feedback on survey design. We can also assist with survey implementation (via Survey Monkey or Microsoft Forms), and survey data visualization (via Tableau), including instrument design, validity, sample creation, administration, analysis of responses and summary of results (subject to availability and existing survey schedule).

What you can expect from OIE:

  • OIE can review existing survey instruments or help you create new ones.
  • OIE can create the list of the population to be surveyed (census or random sampling).
  • OIE can field the survey for you and send several email reminders to non-respondents.
  • OIE can keep you informed of your survey’s progress (e.g. response rates).
  • OIE can provide a summary of the survey results within one-two weeks following the closing date of the survey. Special analyses, such as survey results by demographic and academic characteristics, require additional time to complete.
  • De-identified survey data can be provided upon request.
  • If incentives are offered, OIE can randomly select the appropriate number of winners for you. You will be responsible for purchasing the incentives, contacting the winners, distributing the incentives, and completing any administrative work regarding the incentives.

If designing your own survey, review our Survey Guidelines and Best Practices. See our Program Assessment Survey Template for examples of appropriate question items and answer options.

To request assistance with a survey project, send an email to with answers to the following questions:

  1. Which department/program is making the request?
  2. What question(s) do you hope the survey will answer?
  3. Who is the target population?
  4. How will the survey results be used?
  5. ​What is the time frame of your project?
  6. What type of survey assistance do you need?

*Please note that from planning to reporting, the amount of time a survey project takes will vary depending on the scope of the project and its target population. Generally, OIE holds a series of planning meetings with the stakeholders interested in survey data collection to gather information on the project’s purpose, instrumentation, audience, and timeline. After survey implementation, the results will be presented as time allows or as needed for informed decision making.

Does OIE provide help with assessment projects?

Yes! OIE aims to promote a more meaningful and intuitive approach to higher education assessment practices. We believe that assessment should not only make sense and facilitate evidence-based decision making, but also build a culture of collaboration and innovation. With research methods and data analytics expertise, OIE can help you shape an assessment activity to make it valid and driven by answerable questions, help you keep your assessment plan on track, help you interpret the assessment findings with data visualization dashboards and help you facilitate discussions with your colleagues about the results. Assessment projects often include request for institutional data and requests for survey assistance. Check out our Introduction to Academic Assessment and our Guidelines for Administrative Assessment.

To learn more about Assessment at QC, please visit our Assessment website.

To request assistance from OIE, send an email to

Where can I find CUNY-wide institutional data?

The CUNY Office of Institutional Research (OIRA) conducts a wide variety of quantitative analysis to guide policy and evaluate academic programs and administrative processes at CUNY. CUNY-wide data reports can be found on the​ OIRA website.


What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization tool that OIE staff (and others around the college, nation and world) use to present data in ways that make it easier for the user to understand and and utilize. Tableau is used to transform data into interactive dashboards for which the user can apply filters or select parameters to select the data that appears on the dashboard.

How can I access Tableau?

​There are two versions of Tableau that the OIE staff oversee, Tableau Public and Tableau Server. Tableau Public is a platform which stores Tableau dashboards which the OIE staff has published for public use, requiring no password to gain access. The QC OIE Tableau Public profile can be found here.

Tableau Server is a platform which stores Tableau dashboards which the OIE staff has published only to a limited number of Queens College faculty and staff members, which requires users to login using their QC credentials. We have a limited number of Tableau Server licenses at Queens College. Currently Department Chairs and a small number of other faculty and staff have access.

To access data displays available on Tableau Server, go to​ and log in with you QC credentials/CAMS account (the user id and password you use to log in to your work computer on campus). Contact the ITS Help Desk or 718-997-4444 for help with your QC account information.​

How can I learn more about Tableau?

​Tableau offers free training videos on their website as well as YouTube.

There are also tutorials available from

Faculty Workload

What is faculty workload?

​The Collective Bargaining Agreement between CUNY and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) has articulated expectations regarding the amount of teaching that a faculty member is expected to do in a given year and how that teaching workload may be managed over time. CUNY colleges have the discretion to substitute other kinds of activities in place of teaching, including research, administrative work, and advising. At Queens College, decisions about release time from teaching to pursue these other activities has been largely at the discretion of the chair of a given department. CUNY refers to the process by which we manage a faculty member’s contractual obligations as managing “faculty workload.”

A faculty member’s annual workload is comprised of instructional workload (the hours associated with courses for which that faculty member is an instructor) and non-instructional workload (the non-course-based hours for which a faculty member is released from teaching). Prior to 2018-19, professorial faculty had a 21 hour workload; lecturers and instructors had a 27 hour workload.

As a result of the latest collective bargaining agreement, faculty workload was reduced for all faculty by three hours, phased in over three years (one hour per year) beginning in 2018-19. Visiting faculty have the same workload requirements as for the equivalent rank. According to the latest Workload Settlement Agreement (12/8/2017), the annual undergraduate teaching contact hour workload of faculty in Substitute titles shall be three hours greater than the annual undergraduate teaching contact hour workload stated herein for the equivalent rank.​

Faculty workload is managed in the CUNYfirst system which automatically collects instructional workload from the assignments of faculty to classes each semester. Non-instructional workload is manually entered into CUNYfirst by staff in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, in accordance with data submitted by department chairs in the departmental workload plans.

What is the Workload Collection Process?

Please visit the Instructional Guide titled “Workload Collection Process”. ​

How is instructional workload entered into CUNYfirst?

​Instructional (teaching) workload is automatically collected in CUNYfirst when instructors are assigned to classes by department staff. By default, the workload hours for a class are the same as the class contact hours. Departments may need to adjust the default workload values in CUNYfirst to account for JUMBO sections (upward adjustments) or TEAM TEACHING, CROSS LISTED CLASSES, RESEARCH/IND STUDY CLASSES (downward adjustments). The departments are responsible for making those adjustments within the first month of the semester.

How are adjustments to instructional workload entries (jumbo sections, cross-listed classes, team-taught classes, internships, and research) made?

Please visit the Instructional Guide titled “Adjustments for Instructional Workload.”

How is non-instructional workload entered into CUNYfirst?

The Provost collects annual workload plans from each academic departments. These plans are then provided to staff in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for data entry into CUNYfirst (prior to 2017-18 departments were responsible for managing the non-instructional workload values in CUNYfirst. OIE took over that responsibility in an effort to ease the burden on academic departments.

What about teaching and/or administrative work at the Graduate Center?

The Graduate Center enters teaching and administrative workload into CUNYfirst for all QC faculty who teach at the Graduate Center. Graduate Center workload should not be entered into CUNYfirst at Queens College.

How are annual workload plans collected from department chairs?

​​OIE provides each department with a form (as a Google Sheet spreadsheet) for reporting each faculty member’s expected instructional and non-instructional workload. Departments are asked to report teaching and non-instructional workload for each faculty member for both the fall and spring terms. Any changes to non-instructional workload must be communicated in an email to Suwen Brunot ( to be reflected in CUNYfirst.​

How do we make adjustments to non-instructional workload entries?

​You may contact Suwen Brunot ( or Rachél Fester ( with any corrections to non-instructional workload entries.

I’m unable to view workload from the Graduate Center on CUNYfirst. How can I view this data?

​In CUNYfirst, a faculty member with workload at both Queens and The Graduate Center must look at separate screens to see workload at both institutions. OIE has made available a report that combines workload at both institutions into a single report so faculty and chairs can have a more comprehensive view of individual faculty member’s workload. Please contact Suwen Brunot ( or Rachél Fester ( for access to that report.

What is the process for assigning instructors to classes in CUNYfirst?

Please visit the Instructional Guide titled “Assigning Instructors to Classes with the correct job code” for more information.

What if an instructor’s name is not appearing in the list of available instructors to assign to a class?

In order for an instructor (full- or part-time faculty member) to be assigned to a class (and to get workload credit for that class) the instructor must be listed in the CUNYfirst Instructor/Advisor table and associated with the department that offers the course. See the document “Requesting Instructors to be added to the table” for the process for requesting to add an instructor to the CUNYfirst Instructor/Advisor table.

What is the process for requesting new instructors to be added to the table?

​Please visit the Instructional Guide titled “Requesting Instructors to be added to the table”.

What is the process for requesting instructors to be removed from the table?

You may contact Suwen Brunot ( or Rachél Fester ( with a list of instructors who should be removed from the Instructor/Advisor table. Please provide full names as displayed on CUNYfirst and EMPLIDs.

How can I learn more about how to manage faculty workload for my department?

OIE has developed some training guides that provide information to ensure that workload is assigned managed properly by staff in academic departments. Please see the instructional guides available here.

Who can I contact with questions about faculty workload or related data issues?

​You may contact Suwen Brunot ( or Rachél Fester ( with any questions or concerns.


When was Queens College last reviewed for accreditation?

Our last Decennial Middle States Self-Study took place in Spring 2017. Through the Collaborative Implementation Project, QC was one of 15 institutions chosen to work with MSCHE’s new, streamlined standards. On June 22, 2018, MSCHE not only reaffirmed our accreditation, but also took note of our participation in the project and praised our self-study process and report. The 2017 self-study report can be viewed here.