- Purdue, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of South Carolina all have chief data officers — people to lead the use of analytics in higher ed decision-making — and these leaders all have different insights about their roles.
- Campus Technology reports Purdue’s CDO helped develop a new data governance structure to refresh old policy and when questions come up, stakeholders from all corners of campus are included — a process that takes longer, but engages all the right people early in the process.
- At UW-Madison, the CDO’s office is planning a comprehensive culture shift about who should be looking at data and how they should be using it, and at the University of South Carolina, they are building out their data warehouse and creating new systems given their analytics and reporting goals.
As the collection and analysis of data has taken a central role in higher education decision-making, both in the classroom and beyond it, colleges and universities have recognized the need for chief data officers in addition to the chief information officer. The CDO can take the 50,000-foot view and guide policy relating to data, focusing primarily on the data governance structure on a campus. That person can also, however, lead a culture shift, like at UW-Madison. The chief data officer can be a campus’ main advocate for using data and encourage faculty, department chairs, deans, provosts, and presidents to incorporate data analysis and be more strategic about answering questions.
EDUCAUSE named learning analytics technology to its list of top 10 strategic technologies of 2016 and its No. 7 IT issue of the year. Analytics, the annual report points out, can help colleges and universities operate more efficiently and differentiate their brands through innovation.