Since before the 1930s, Whitworth University has been creating and publishing Fact Books, also known as 10th Day Reports. Once the school year commences, universities all over the nation have exactly 10 days to create a type of census by gathering information and reporting it back to the federal government. Those statistics are used for marketing, communication and advertising purposes throughout the rest of the school year.
The Fact Book data includes enrollment history, department size, ethnicity ratios and tuition increases. The report holds valuable information that helps the university make decisions that influence the Whitworth 2021 Vision and Strategic Plan. Once administrators can see the completed report, they can better determine where their time and energy should be spent to best help the university grow.
Director of Institutional Research Gary Whisenand said that when he joined the university in 1992, the Fact Book was only three pages long. Since then, he has taken this report under his wing and expanded it to 39 pages of information and data.
“What the Fact Book does is it tries to report significant numbers that are useful for communication as we try to produce evidence for decision making,” Whisenand said.
Whisenand referred to the report as being a snapshot or benchmark of what the university looked like at beginning of the school year. Whitworth can then use the numbers to compare the peaks and plunges from previous Fact Books as well as from the data warehouse.
“Unfortunately when I got here 20 years ago, there had been a lot of incomplete records and varying levels of information available,” Whisenand said. “So when I joined the university, I wanted to make sure we were adhering to the vision that we set for ourselves.”
One of the visions that Whitworth’s 2021 Plan had set out was a cap of 2,300 students. The 2012 Fact Book reports that Whitworth has 2,249 full-time matriculated students this year. Whisenand said that the number of students on campus today is close to the maximum number of students Whitworth will hold.
The largest increases in majors took place in the biology, psychology, health science, business management, elementary education and English departments. The Fact Book allows Whitworth officials to track the majors that are attracting the most interest in full-time and part-time students.
The six-year graduation rate is 75.9 percent this year. This means that 75.9 percent of students that started Whitworth six years ago have now graduated. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the six-year graduation rate has exceeded 70 percent.
“We refer to the Fact Book all year long,” Whisenand said. “This is how the institution can decide how they can meet the needs of their students.”
One item that came out of the Fact Book was the higher percentage of ethnically diverse students. Seventeen percent of the full-time student body comes from underrepresented populations.
“This is the most diverse group of freshmen that we have ever accepted,” Whisenand said.
Jennifer Ingram Staff Writer
Contact Jennifer Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org.