Internal Allocations to Support Unit Strategic Plan
In 2015-16, ISA continued its rebuilding efforts begun in 2014-15. We needed to quickly stabilize a staffing situation in considerable flux with key leadership retirements and several resignations from both the data reporting and survey research units. As a result, the office has conducted and successfully completed searches for 4 EHRA and 3 SHRA positions in the last 18 months, including a new Director of Institutional Analytics to lead the newly- aligned functions of data management, external reporting and data visualization. Staffing trends for the office are summarized below.
Despite the considerable turnover, we have conducted an extraordinary team building effort to shift from a hierarchical unit arrangement, where planning, institutional research and survey research were siloed activities often relying on a single incumbent with content expertise, to a project-based teams approach for tackling analytic questions across functional data realms.
FY 2016 Strategic Initiatives Aligned with the University Implementation Plan
Create an institutional data hub that allows campus users to process and seamlessly integrate information from multiple data sources across the university.
ISA has partnered with OIT and SAS to assemble an extendable and sustainable information architecture built on a scalable foundation for developing visually interpretable methods of data analysis that foster knowledge discovery and can produce useful, revealing and actionable results. The first phase of the project is underway with the construction of a road map for consolidating previously separate and unaligned institutional data stores. Hardware has been purchased and is undergoing configuration for development and production environments. Meanwhile, two distinct yet interdependent teams have been established to develop the data structures and analytical framework of the system. The initial building block will focus on the existing well‐defined catalog of student information as the logical starting point. A University Data and Analytic Solutions Team (UDAST) has begun to evaluate requirements and collect use cases for a common data model to more efficiently and effectively provide analytical products. A concurrent Enterprise Data Architecture Team (EDAT) has formed to establish a federated system design and to develop uniform naming conventions, access roles, usage rules and documentation. The initial product roll‐out will be an online institutional factbook with a consistent graphical presentation layer of summary reports and drill‐down capability.
Lessons learned from this process can then serve as a template for future incorporation of cross‐ functional data from other operational areas of the university such as finance, human resources, research administration, facilities management and advancement to create a consolidated and reliable view of enterprise information for reporting and analysis.
Establish an analytic research agenda to explore and explain significant institutional planning issues (e.g., resource allocation strategies, faculty retention, and course demand).
An interactive forecast tool was created in FY 2016 to permit users to adjust new student enrollment inputs and calculate downstream enrollment impacts automatically. The tool is designed to test enrollment scenarios quickly and allow the Enrollment Planning Committee to produce more refined output for broader distribution.
The online Institutional Data Profiles tool for college annual review first implemented in FY 2015 was expanded in FY 2016 to include a metrics summary sheet, dashboard graphics and department‐level detail. Development has begun on a similar tool to support academic program review.
ISA also supports the institutional implementation of Academic Analytics, a comprehensive scholarly productivity database that provides its clients with discipline level peer comparisons to support strategic planning and decision‐making. Exploration of the Academic Analytics database of research accomplishment (publications, citations, research funding and honorific awards) facilitates rapid discovery of trends, patterns and centers of strength and weakness in the university’s scholarly productivity and competitiveness
Work with internal stakeholders to properly link data management procedures and analytic information needs.
Data Verification Tools‐‐In FY 2016, ISA launched a data quality assurance initiative to allow campus units to verify and validate data obtained from operating systems of record to strengthen institutional data management and reporting capabilities. Prompted by increasing demands by UNC‐GA for campus unit‐record information to feed the system‐level Student Data Mart project, the office has developed a suite of tools for use by Admissions, Financial Aid, and Registration and Records to validate data element values prior to the tenth‐day census snapshot. The goal is to ensure the quality of the data, assess the systems that produce the data and develop action plans to improve both. Next steps are to expand the system to address data definitions and processing issues evident in the Human Resources Data Mart.
Digital Measures‐‐ISA is actively supporting institutional use of Digital Measures Activity Insight for faculty activity reporting. The system provides a single location for maintaining information on faculty professional accomplishments and can produce customized reports throughout the year for academic departments, college administration, accrediting agencies, and other external reporting requirements. The College of Education has joined the Poole College of Management in the adoption of Digital Measures as its reporting tool for all departments within the college. Other development activities include a pilot project with the College of Veterinary Medicine to determine the feasibility of developing a specialized activities report for its departments.
Devise new tools to assist units throughout the review and assessment processes, including documentation of accreditation requirements, policy context and best practices.
In consultation with the Graduate School, DASA and College representatives, ISA developed a technical solution for a new central repository for student learning outcomes assessment plans and reports in support of the university regulation (REG 02.90.01) and standard operating procedures instituted to ensure that assessment results inform planning and decision‐making and provide a gauge for institutional effectiveness. The new system allows the campus to store assessment plans, data, results, and evidence on use of results in a way that is most useful to faculty, program directors and administrators and accessible to relevant external audiences. Work continues with the Task Force on Assessment Reporting to devise expanded capabilities that will allow the university to manage workflow and input reports from program directors, department heads and deans. The goal is to create a unified and accessible system that fosters continuous improvement and documents the institution’s effectiveness in accomplishing its teaching mission.
Another new development in FY 2016 was the creation of a point & click interface populated with data on post‐graduation employment information derived from the annually‐administered Future Plans Survey, which permits drill‐down by college, department, and academic major. The tool provides a more complete picture of the employment and further education of NC State’s alumni and is a useful resource to programs and departments engaged in unit review.