In February 2016, NIRSA relaunched its collegiate recreation benchmarking instrument, the Institutional Data Set (IDS), on an all-new platform. Since this launch, data has been reported for 282 institutions. This makes the IDS the most robust dataset of collegiate recreation programs, services, facilities, and operations in the nation.

The strength of the IDS is based on the active participation of our members, and NIRSA would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who has contributed data to the IDS. In July 2016, the NIRSA Research & Assessment Committee began an intensive and exhaustive review of the IDS to identify content areas that needed additional questions or clarity. Their aim is to improve the overall user experience, and their efforts have resulted in an IDS that builds on the strengths of the initial version and adds value to its use across the Association.

An array of all-new features

Data collection for the 2015–16 school year is now underway, but members can still enter data for the 2014–15 academic year. For members who have entered data for the previous year (2014–2015), you now have the option to copy all of your previous year’s data into this current year’s dataset. This means you do not need to re-enter data throughout the entire platform. Any data that requires updating can be changed on an item-by-item basis. This drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to complete data entry for institutions that have data for the previous year.

This year’s revisions also included changes to accommodate our growing international member base. For example, Canadian certifying bodies for fitness-related staff have been added to the programs and services section while Canadian athletic conferences have been added to the institutional details section. Links to unit converters have also been placed in the platform to facilitate data entry when converting metric units to standard or for monetary conversions. Members will also notice help text has been placed throughout the platform to aid in explaining questions and answer choices.

Overall, the clarity of the content and its relevance to the Association have substantially improved. NIRSA thanks the Research & Assessment Committee and our Canadian members, who volunteered to review the platform, for the concerted efforts to build on the strengths of the IDS.

So make sure to participate!

With these revisions, the IDS has become more user-friendly and more meaningful to a broader spectrum of our Association. Members can continue to use the IDS to compare various aspects of recreational sports to help inform decisions related to programs, services, facilities, finances, and personnel. The power of the IDS, however, relies on the active participation of our Association members. As a member, please consider entering data on behalf of your institution and strengthening the IDS for your colleagues!


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Research Coordinator Ruben Guzman.
Research Coordinator at |

Ruben Guzman is currently the Research Coordinator at NIRSA