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UAMS College of Public Health administrator awarded National Data Institute fellowship

Angie Choi, Director of Admissions

Angie Choi, Director of Admissions

August 21, 2013

Angie Choi, director of admissions for the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), has been awarded a National Data Institute (NDI) fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), joint sponsors of the NDI. The NDI fellowship is an intensive introduction to large national data sets, data tools, and public policy.

Choi is one of about 60 NDI fellows – faculty, graduate students, and institutional researchers – from across the country who wish to increase their knowledge and skills using large data sources for research in science, engineering or postsecondary education.

The NDI is operated by the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), an international professional association for institutional researchers in higher education. It provides professional development opportunities for its members to support them in data collection and analytics that are needed by academic leaders and policymakers.

In July, Choi participated in a week-long institute in Arlington, Va., where NDI fellows were introduced to 20 large NSF and NCES data sets.

Some of these data sets date back to the 1950s and amount to millions of records across hundreds of variable fields, Choi said. Data collection for most of the sets intensified with the renewed emphasis on higher education in science following the 1957 launch of the first satellite, Sputnik, by the Soviet Union.

Thanks to the workshop, Choi said she now has a better understanding of the legislation that brought these national data sets into being and how the data are used to shape public policy, and also how the data are used by institutions of higher education in decision making that affects finance, strategic planning, and usage of resources.

The skills Choi will gain as an NDI fellow will enable her to compare UAMS to other universities across an array of variables including selectivity in the admissions process, revenue sources, faculty expenditures, grants, even square footage use.

“This has totally elevated my awareness on how to use these data institutionally,” Choi said. “I can look at characteristics of institutions that have schools of public health.”

Choi selected two NSF datasets – the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) – with which to hone her analytical skills. She is using these datasets for her doctorate in Higher Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She wants to explore disciplinary pathways and productivity of scientists and engineers as they progress from their undergraduate training and perhaps on to a master’s or doctoral degree. She is interested the trajectories followed by graduates in various disciplines – at what point they enter the workforce, sub-fields or new pursuits and how their training and research translates into productivity.

“Where did their research go? What is the pathway to a job? What is the impact of these disciplines on people getting jobs and what are they producing for this country?” are some of the questions that Choi wants her research to answer.