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OIRA Director Bobbi Yonai to retire in 2013

August 10, 2012

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

After nearly 30 years as a member of the Syracuse University community, Barbara (Bobbi) A. Yonai, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), has announced plans to retire from the University in January 2013.

Yonai joined the SU community in 1984 as a graduate student and graduate assistant in the School of Education’s Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation Program. In 1985, she joined the Center for Instructional Development, later renamed the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning (CSTL). In September 2003, she was named director of CSTL, and in February 2006 she was appointed director of the newly created OIRA, dedicated to maintaining and providing accurate and up-to-date institutional research from across all campus units, for data-driven assessment reporting.

“It has been my privilege to be a part of the SU community and I am proud of the work produced by the dedicated staff at OIRA,” says Yonai. “My leaving SU is bittersweet because I will miss the daily interactions with my SU colleagues.  However, my husband is also retiring and we are looking forward to spending time together, traveling and volunteering within the community.”

“The University, and many of us within the SU community, will miss Bobbi deeply,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina. “Professionally, her efforts on behalf of the University and her leadership of OIRA and the many critical projects they have undertaken have made SU a better place—for teaching and learning, for research and for students, faculty and staff. Her integrity and dedication to the University are widely known and highly valued. Personally, Bobbi's deep collaborative nature and ability to work seamlessly with groups of all kinds have made her a friend to many of us.” 

As director of OIRA, Yonai is one of SU’s experts on institutional research and assessment and is recognized for her competence and dedication in analyzing and reporting SU’s key data. She has implemented numerous quantitative and qualitative projects related to understanding retention and attrition, including the reporting of the University-wide and school and college yearly statistics and student retention research studies. She has worked with every administrative and academic department on campus on research and assessment projects to best understand and improve the student, faculty and staff experiences at SU. All of this work has helped the University direct resources to the identified areas that support retention and success, as well as SU’s overall graduation rate.

Yonai oversees SU’s reporting to the NCAA, federal and state governments, and the various additional accrediting agencies that review the University’s programs. She serves on the Academic Coordinating Committee and has supported a wide range of University committees and task forces, including the Middle States Steering Committee and the University Assessment Committee.

With a dedication to nurturing a supportive learning environment at SU, she has also led program evaluations of new and existing programs such as learning communities, the new student orientation program and SummerStart. 

In 2004, Yonai received the Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contributions to the University’s Academic Programs. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education’s Higher Education Program, and in the Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation Program, from which she received a Ph.D. in 1991.

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