A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

New Director Takes Helm of IRDS

May 11, 2017

Jenna AllenUC Merced’s Institutional Research and Decision Support (IRDS) office has a new leader.

Jenna Allen, who joined the campus in late March as IRDS’s new director, brings more than a decade of experience in institutional research and higher education data systems to her role.

IRDS provides ongoing support for campus planning and decision-making to help advance the educational mission and effectiveness of the institution. IRDS falls under the umbrella of the Division of Planning and Budget.

Although she’s new to Merced, Allen is no stranger to the University of California. In addition to graduating summa cum laude from Temple University in Philadelphia, she earned a master’s degree in public policy and social research from UCLA and has held several positions with the UC — in the Office of the President, where she served two different stints, and at UC Berkeley.

“I really love working for the UC system,” Allen said. “I believe in public higher education and in the UC’s mission to serve the state of California.”

Allen started with UCOP in 2005 in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, then joined the newly formed Office of Institutional Research, first as a research analyst and then a data management coordinator.

In 2011, Allen moved to the Berkeley campus to join its Office of Planning and Analysis, where she took on a dual role as institutional research analyst and business analyst team leader for the campus data warehouse implementation. In 2015, she moved to Student Affairs Information Technologies to serve as the reporting lead for the campus’s Student Information System replacement project.

Allen spent her first few weeks at UC Merced meeting with and talking to various people to get a sense of the opportunities and challenges at UC Merced.

“I think it took Merced to complete the UC vision — you can’t truly serve California if you aren’t drawing students from the San Joaquin Valley,” Allen said. “If you take a minute to consider what is being done here, for me, it only took that one minute to decide that I wanted to be a part of it.”