Institutional Effectiveness

The Institutional Effectiveness curriculum was designed to provide the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for understanding institutional performance both inside and outside of formal education settings. This option area focuses on the role of assessment, evaluation, and other research and analysis techniques in supporting institutional planning, policy formation, and decision-making. The Institutional Effectiveness option at NDSU is the first program in the nation with this focus at the doctoral level.


The Institutional Effectiveness (IE) option focuses on mid-management needs regarding assessment, evaluation, research, and institutional analysis. This curriculum was designed to provide the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for understanding institutional effectiveness both inside and outside of formal education settings.

The Ed.D. degree in Education with a focus on Institutional Effectiveness is intended for individuals seeking employment as scholar-practitioners in primary, secondary, or higher education (such as directors of institutional research or assessment) and other educational settings (such as museums, educational publishing, curriculum development, and training). The Ed.D. degree focuses on translating theory and research into practice, and has the larger goal of preparing scholar-practitioners who will be well-informed, credible leaders in the field of institutional effectiveness.

The Ph.D. degree in Education with a focus on Institutional Effectiveness is intended for individuals seeking employment as scholar-researchers in higher education (such as faculty in institutional research, assessment, or policy studies), and other educational settings (such as museums, educational publishing, curriculum development, and training). The Ph.D. emphasizes the study and synthesis of theory and research, and is intended to produce dedicated scholar-researchers committed to the advancement of knowledge and scholarship in the field and may also produce scholar-practitioners who wish a strong depth in research preparation for practice. 

Career Paths

The primary emphasis of institutional research has been associated with higher education institutions. However, national trends toward accountability at all levels of public and private education are leading to more demand for professional educators to become engaged in data driven decision making. 

Given the current and projected future demands on accountability, the doctorate contributes to the development of professionals who are competent to lead the vast array of data-driven accountability activities in a variety of contexts, including program evaluations, student assessment, and national accreditation procedures. This program serves educational institutions within the region and also foster scholarship and research opportunities through collaborative practices with other institutions on a national (and potentially international) scale.

Examples of career opportunities for successful graduates in the institutional effectiveness option includes:

  • Institutional analysis specialists or directors at colleges or universities
  • Directors, coordinators, and evaluators involved in alternative delivery of educational programs
  • Research professors in comprehensive universities
  • Consultants serving education, business, industry, government, and military enterprises
  • Educators responsible for accreditation and assessment


  • Deadline to Apply: February 1
  • Program Start: Autumn semester
  • Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: Master's degree
  • Minimum Program Hours: 60, post master’s degree
  • Coursework: Foundations of doctoral scholarship and educational research, institutional quality control, assessment techniques, strategic planning
  • Other requirements: Dissertation

View the Ed.D. Curriculum Sheet or Ph.D. Curriculum Sheet

Areas of Concentration

We offer courses in the following concentrations for those who are interested.

Concentration 1: Institutional Analysis in the adult and post-secondary levels at public and private institutions and agencies (Aligned with Association for Institutional Research and other professional standards).

Concentration 2: Assessment and evaluation in K-12 curriculum levels at public and private institutions and agencies (See Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development , or American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education , etc.)

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