data use

4 essential tips for institutional leaders using data

A new report identifies how high-level institutional leaders successfully implement data best practices.

As data continues to play an increasingly important role in college and university operations as institutions leverage it to form policy and dictate practices, a new report has identified four best practices specifically suited for institution and system leaders.

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The report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)–supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–interviews higher-ed leaders to explore how those leaders are using data to inform both their short- and long-term decision making when it comes to policy and student success.

The report offers four recommendations and best practices, along with examples from universities, for institutional leaders who wish to use data in more meaningful ways across their campuses:

1. Establish a culture of data use for institutional improvement.

While every leader said data is valuable and asserted that they use it on a daily basis for decision making, the degree of sophistication varies. Some connect decisions, action plans and initiatives to data collected on campus, while others labeled themselves as “data-minded” but had not yet developed detailed or effective strategies to make its use a priority in effecting institutional change.

California State University, Fullerton established a digital data warehouse that pulls student information from various data systems across campus. University advisors use the dashboard to identify students who might not graduate on time and who might benefit from additional support.

(Next page: Data use tips 2-4)

Laura Ascione

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