Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

HFC Analyst Eileen Brennan addresses pandemic’s effects on higher ed

Eileen Brennan, Business Intelligence Systems Analyst for HFC Institutional Research and Reporting (IRR), wrote an article titled “Responsibilities and Opportunities for Institutional Effectiveness” for the Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education (IEHE) as part of its “Forward Thinking” series.

Brennan, who has worked at HFC for five years, was contacted by Kristina Powers, the president of the IEHE, to contribute an article to help educational leaders look and think ahead as they navigate higher education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The timing of this was just a few weeks into Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe status,” said Brennan. “It’s my look at some things we in higher education can be thinking about as education changes in the wake of the pandemic, including our responsibilities, our accountability, and our offerings.”

Changing higher education

The article opens by noting that the pandemic has changed our way of life. This is not the first time our way of life has been changed in the wake of a crisis, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 economic recession. The article focuses on core responsibilities and opportunities for institutional effectiveness, as there are many challenges to face in the months ahead.

It discusses an educational institution’s responsibilities to communities and student success, as well as higher education’s impact on society. It also focuses on opportunities for curriculum development, and takes on the role of higher education in a world dealing with the pandemic and how the new liberal arts pathways may be just as important as an emphasis on career/technical and STEM programs.

Brennan’s expertise

Brennan earned a bachelor’s degree in public information and reporting from the University of Missouri Columbia and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She is also one of 30 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) educators across the nation participating in a program operated by the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), under a contract funded by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Their purpose is to educate and develop skills for submitting and using IPEDS data.

Brennan is also chair of the Michigan Community College Data Evaluation Committee (MCCDEC), an organization funded through a state Perkins grant that provides guidance on collection, interpretation, and evaluation of data. She is vice chair of the Michigan Community College Collaborative for Accountability, Research and Effectiveness (MCCCARE), as well as a member of the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC), an IPEDS advisory group.

“I’m proud to have Eileen on the IRR team,” said Dr. Lori Gonko, HFC Vice President of Strategy and Human Resources (SHR). “She is an institutional research expert and thought-leader on a national level, and we are lucky to have the benefit of her expertise at HFC.”