Columbia State Community College announced the hiring of Rion McDonald as Director of Institutional Research. McDonald comes to Columbia State from Charleston, West Virginia where he served as research and planning analyst for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. He began his duties at Columbia State on August 10.
“This position is an exciting opportunity for me on many levels,” said McDonald. “Most importantly, I am looking forward to being a part of Columbia State’s ongoing effort to make data-driven decisions that benefit the school’s students, the community, and the state of Tennessee.”
As institutional research director, McDonald is responsible for conducting institutional research, providing institutional data, communicating data to internal and external audiences, and preparing reports for internal use and external agencies. He will design and administer appropriate institutional educational studies and analyze the results, prepare and submit reports as required for the Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, U.S. Department of Education and other external agencies, prepare semester enrollment reports, annual reports and other documents, and maintain centralized research files and institutional profile data.
McDonald will also be responsible for conducting research to support annual strategic planning and institutional effectiveness, obtaining and reporting data, completing surveys and preparing analyses that support institutional decision making as requested by the president or vice presidents, maintaining a website that provides enrollment trends and other institutional profile data, preparing reports that clearly communicate institutional data to internal and external audiences, and working with other college departments to obtain needed data, complete reports, and present institutional data. His duties also include interpreting and assuring implementation and compliance in the department with the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Commission on Higher Education, and Columbia State policies.
Prior to his time at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, McDonald served as institutional research specialist for the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. McDonald earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also earned two master’s degrees: one in Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the other in Economics from the University of Alabama.