Jaganathan to oversee institutional research and analysis

Shiva Jaganathan, who has nearly 20 years of experience with institutional research at universities, has been appointed associate vice provost/associate vice president for institutional research and analysis at Rice. He assumed his new role Aug. 17.

Shiva Jaganathan, associate vice provost and associate vice president for institutional research and analysis

Shiva Jaganathan

Jaganathan will lead the Office of Institutional Research (OIR), which produces data, metrics, reports and analyses for internal use and compiles and submits data to external sources, including the state and federal government and various rankings groups. The office also collaborates with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and other campus representatives on the design, implementation and analysis of campus surveys, as well as dissemination of findings. Reporting jointly to the provost and the vice president for finance, he will play an essential role in supporting planning, resource allocation and strategic decision-making.

Jaganathan and his OIR team will also work closely with the Office of Information Technology on the creation of Rice’s institutional data warehouse and data reporting facilities.

“Institutional research traditionally has been in the business of collecting data to analyze current situations and predict future trends,” Jaganathan said. “I want the entire university community to be able to take advantage of the wealth of information that we can provide.”

He said universities are finding new ways to put their institutional data to use, thanks to the analyses made possible by data warehouses, which take information from multiple databases and convert it into the same standard format and date-stamp everything for reliable metrics. This allows the data to be analyzed faster and in more depth.

For the past two years, Jaganathan served as executive director for the University of Connecticut’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, where he built a data warehouse and led the creation of a more updated institutional research office to support assessment, accreditation and other administrative needs.

Jaganathan also helped create a data warehouse for the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he spent 18 years in leadership roles ranging from senior coordinator of computer applications and senior data warehouse architect to relational database services administrator for institutional research.

He said the new data warehouse at Rice will enable the OIR team to integrate the data that has been collected at the university over the years, including class size, demographics, choice of majors, faculty size, grants, honors and a host of other facts and figures. He said he enjoys the challenge of high volume data and noted that working with numbers has always been a “natural thing” for him.

“I am looking forward to working with Shiva and his team in the Office of Institutional Research,” Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said. “He has a demonstrated ability to develop and lead highly collaborative, cross-functional teams and is clearly committed to placing OIR’s analytical capability in service to departments and schools across campus.”

A search committee that included faculty members and administrators conducted a national search to fill the position. “The committee was impressed by the range of expertise that Shiva would bring to this role,” Vice President for Finance Kathy Collins said.

Jaganathan is originally from India, where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras. He came to the U.S. in 1993. He earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and 10 years later he pursued an M.S. and a Ph.D. in modeling and simulation, also at UCF.

During that 10-year period, he became a research associate and fellow and then a senior software development engineer and project lead for the Florida Solar Energy Center. The center tested solar energy panels and batteries in different locations for certification by the state, and Jaganathan excelled at collecting the data. He developed models to automate the process and provide meaningful analysis of the results. His success there led to his interest in helping universities develop an automated process for collecting data about students for institutional research.

He said he hopes to contribute to Rice based on his experiences and successes at UConn and UCF.

“Rice is a top-tier forward-thinking university, uniquely positioned to achieve greater heights,” Jaganathan said. “Having a strong institutional research office that harvests the benefits of a data warehouse and analytical capabilities will enhance the university in multiple ways.”

When he’s not collecting and analyzing data, Jaganathan enjoys playing tennis and traveling with his wife of 18 years and daughter, who will be starting high school this month in Sugar Land, Texas.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.