Lyon welcomes Randy Peterson as new director of institutional research

Lyon College welcomed Randy Peterson as the new director of institutional research this May.

Peterson majored in English at Hendrix College and earned his master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“I also completed everything but the thesis for a master’s degree in technical and expository writing at UALR.”

He continued, laughing, “My professional life always seemed to get in the way of writing that thesis!”

He is originally from Salem, Ark., in Fulton County.

“I grew up in this area,” Peterson said. “I have many great memories of coming to this campus for academic competitions and events in high school.”

He has always loved Batesville and believes institutions like Lyon play an important role in “improving the quality of life in the region” and opening doors for students.

“I’m very proud to be a part of that.”

Peterson said institutional research is about collecting, synthesizing and analyzing institutional data to help Lyon College’s leadership make informed decisions. The job is multifaceted- part information systems management, part social science research, part business intelligence and part technical writing.

“I’m fortunate to inherit a rich collection of resources from my predecessor,” he said. “I plan to build on what has already been done, standardize and organize the resources we already have and make them more accessible and usable to the Lyon community.”

Peterson and his wife, Sammi, moved to Batesville in May with their dog, Lilly, and their cat, Joel. 

His second vocation is teaching writing. Over the past 20 years, he has taught composition and professional writing at UALR, the University of the Ozarks and Hendrix College.

In his spare time, he has been getting into amateur astronomy and recently acquired a vintage late 1970s Celestron C5 telescope.

“When I was a teenager, I was heavily into amateur astronomy, and I’ve been trying to get back into it,” Peterson said. “I’m looking forward to trying some photography with the telescope.”

Before coming to Lyon, Peterson worked as the institutional research director at Hendrix College for five years. He previously worked at Kentucky Wesleyan University for a few years and the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville for seven years.