Developing a Data-Informed Campus CulturePublished Mar 2021
Data-informed decision-making has always been – and always will be – a smart approach to policy, including at institutions of higher education. Just over one year since the COVID-19 pandemic radically and abruptly shifted every aspect of higher education, states and institutions are tackling the same student success goals as before, but with smaller budgets, uncertainties around enrollment, and the potential for a prolonged recession. In the face of such challenges, the need to consult and apply data has never been greater. Students continue to face challenges of online or hybrid models while also navigating life in a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American and Pacific Islander students and students from low-income backgrounds. To understand – and overcome – current obstacles in higher education, campuses across the country who have not yet cultivated a culture of data usage need to do so – stat.
This report outlines how to create and strengthen such a culture from top to bottom and across postsecondary institutions in order to support students most in need of the social mobility and economic security that higher education can provide. Drawn from a wide array of institutional experts on developing data-informed interventions that close gaps in access and completion, these approaches promote the collaborative use of data while also accounting for the capacity of an individual institution. The interviews and report were completed with support from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.