Dr. Mei Yao aims for university effectiveness


Yao at her desk in the Office of Institutional Research.

PEMBROKE — Dr. Chunmei (Mei) Yao has joined UNC Pembroke as the director of the Office of Institutional Research. The office is responsible for data management, reporting and analysis, surveys and assessment to help the university plan more strategically.

Dr. Yao comes to Pembroke from Virginia Commonwealth University where she was a senior research analyst in the Office of Planning and Decision Support. Prior to VCU, she worked at SUNY Oneonta as an associate director of institutional research. With five years of experience in higher education institutional research, she was previously employed in finance, publishing and instruction at the college level.

Yao earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in world history from Nankai University and studied relations between the U.S. and China during the 1970s. She earned a Master of Arts degree in educational psychology and a doctorate in higher education leadership from West Virginia University in Morganton.

She describes herself as a numbers person.

“Our office works with other entities of the university to improve institutional effectiveness,” she said. “For example, if our research could help to improve retention by one or two percent, how much money would that save the university?”

In China, Yao worked for the Chinese equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as associate chief editor for the Journal of Economic and Marketing Information. She followed her husband to West Virginia University, where he continued his studies in mining engineering, and seized the opportunity to advance her own education and career.

As a graduate student, Yao used her language skills to translate ancient Chinese literature and documents. She also developed her skill in educational technology and in compiling course evaluation and surveys for the university’s Department of Education Leadership Studies.

“UNCP is my type of university,” she said. “I drove to work early this morning between corn fields with no cars in front or behind me.”

For information about the Office of Institutional Research, call 910-775-4445 or email [email protected]

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