Inside Clemson

Xu named director of institutional research

Pic of Juan XuBy Jackie Todd, Clemson University Relations

An accomplished leader with 25 years of experience in higher education research and analytics, statistical data analysis and key performance metrics has joined Clemson as the university’s director of Institutional Research (IR).

Juan Xu, Ph.D. will manage the workflow of critical reporting, compliance and accreditation projects, and lead the IR staff to enhance processes, tools and insights to support the university’s mission and ClemsonForward.

“It is a sincere delight to welcome Juan and her family to the Clemson Family,” said Jeremy King, associate provost for institutional effectiveness. “She brings an impressive blend of interpersonal skills, collaborative posture, institutional research experience and a fastidious commitment to student and faculty success that will all be needed to meet the aspirational goals of Clemson Forward for the benefit of our students, their families and the State of South Carolina.”

King said that Xu’s experience as director of student research in the Office of University of Analytics and Institutional Research at the University of Arizona focused on student success, a key element of the ClemsonForward plan. He added that her understanding of the elements of traditional institutional research as well as the value of business intelligence, predictive analytics and data visualization made her a good fit for the position.

Xu also brings international perspective… personally and professionally.

The youngest child of farmers in a rural Chinese village, Xu knew firsthand the rigors of farming life. She watched her parents work very hard just to make ends meet. But farming wasn’t in her blood. Her dream was to go to college and live in a city.

She did just that. The first-generation college student earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Harbin Institute of Technology – a top nine university in China. During that time, she gained a strong interest in higher education while working in the higher education division of the Heilongjiang province’s state department of education.

American higher education, according to Xu, is the best system in the world. With that thought, Xu moved to the United States and earned her Ph.D. in leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

After graduation, Xu worked in institutional research at the State University of New York and became manager and then director of the office of Institutional Analysis at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.

At Clemson, the new Institutional Research director will first focus on getting the lay of the land and connect with colleagues.

“I’m so glad to be here,” said Xu. “I was drawn to Clemson University because of its reputation as an outstanding academic reputation, its stated strong commitment to individual student success and the people I got to know during the search process.”