For Immediate Release – January 20, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516



GENESEO, N.Y. – Catherine Hackett Renner has been named director of institutional research for the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Renner, who previously was visiting associate professor of psychology at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., assumed her new duties on Jan. 17. Her responsibilities at Geneseo will include generating reports that include statistics about the college, such as graduation rates, student-faculty ratios and specific groups of students.

"Catherine brings a great deal of experience to her new position and we look forward to having her in this important leadership role," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Conway-Turner. "Her expertise in statistics, data management, institutional research and campus-wide programs will be a great asset to Geneseo. With great enthusiasm, I welcome Dr. Catherine Renner to the Geneseo community."

Renner will play a "critical role" in providing these reports to the Office of the Provost as the college strives toward continual improvements, said Conway-Turner.

Renner received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nazareth College in Pittsford, N.Y., and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Prior to her experience at Hobart and William Smith College, Renner was associate professor of psychology, institutional research fellow and assessment coordinator at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. During her nine years at West Chester University, Renner conducted yearlong program reviews mandated by the State System of Higher Education, and she implemented a campus-wide system for assessment of learning outcomes.

Renner lives in Webster, N.Y., with her husband, their two children and three dogs. A native of Mount Morris, N.Y., Renner’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John M. Hackett, still reside there, and her sister, Patricia Cornelison, graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 1978 with a degree in geology.

"I’m the best alumna Geneseo never had. I wrote my high school papers in Milne Library, and when I was home from college and graduate school for vacations, I was a frequent visitor to the library," said Renner. "It gave me an early awareness of the kind of community Geneseo is; a genuine public institution, welcoming members of the community into the life of the college. I’m looking forward to finally being a legitimate part of such an excellent college.

"SUNY Geneseo has built an excellent reputation throughout the northeast, and I am looking forward to being part of its continued development," said Renner.

"Institutional research plays a central role in the ability of the college to remain proactive by keeping abreast of the current issues in higher education and assessing how those issues are represented on campus," said Renner. "Through the analysis of the data maintained by the college, institutional research plays a vital role in assisting the college in determining how well it is meeting its goals and achieving its mission. Most importantly, through the development of special projects, institutional research assists the college in identifying areas that may need special attention as well as areas in which the college excels."

Renner’s main research specialization is in factors that affect human judgement and decision-making such as personal relevance and overconfidence. She has published and presented numerous papers in this area as well as collaborated in other areas including health psychology, assessment of student learning outcomes, and applying cognitive psychology to research and teaching methodologies.

Provost Conway-Turner added that Renner will be able to utilize her experience with several different institutions in her work at Geneseo.

"What was really interesting about Catherine is how much she enjoyed looking at the data and understanding what it was all about," Conway-Turner added, noting that Renner’s background in psychology has allowed her to measure in quantitative and qualitative terms.

"It’s one thing to have a vision of where the college is going and another to have the data that backs it up," said Conway-Turner.

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