- It is common knowledge now that data can help improve higher education, and the Institute for Higher Education Policy has dug deeper to figure out how senior administrators are actually using data, and what data, to improve student outcomes.
- In its report, "Leading with Data: How Senior Institution and System Leaders Use Postsecondary Data to Promote Student Success," IHEP finds senior leaders must lead by example in creating a culture that uses data to drive institutional improvement, making decisions based on data every single day and encouraging others far beyond the institutional research office to do the same.
- These leaders also seek out data beyond their own institution, incorporating state and federal data that adds context, and they support a federal student-level data system, maintaining a presence in national policy conversations that aren’t as obviously connected to campus initiatives.
Higher education institutions collect data every day, whether they use it or not. For many institutions, the challenge of turning to data is not figuring out how to get it, but figuring out what to do with it. Colleges across the country have developed predictive models to offer proactive interventions to students who are most at-risk of failing, improving retention and graduation rates that increase efficiency, and in some cases, tuition revenue. They have also used data to streamline processes in admissions and financial aid, to find patterns in faculty performance, and to make operations decisions more logically. The power of data is clear. The challenge is developing the tools and the habits to use it.