Data Projects get Underway!!

Based on a need at our campus, I decided that this year I would look for partners/projects to dive into learning to use data!

I found some willing partners and we’ve gotten off to a great start!

1) Started the local data users interest group – priority one is to get the training, permissions and connections to access the student dbs in data warehouse (dw). By mid-October we should be able to start doing some queries in access – after some initial training in Lynda.com

2) Presented to our Enrollment Management Team (EMT) last week on Data Use in SEM: A Case Study of Student Satisfaction: Process and Product. Presentation

3) Analytical Hierarchical Process in decision-making – The Retention (RAPS) subcommittee (of EMT) is finishing up their year-long work investigating the issue on campus. The goal is to improve retention rates on campus according to the Core Council recommendations – Various sub-groups explored the different issues from first-year engagement to faculty roles, to campus climate, to student preparedness and support. The final subgroup reports (included issues and action steps) went to the leadership of the subcommittee. At that meeting, it was discussed how to best proceed in editing and reporting the findings. Our new registrar, Jeff Warner, introduced the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) as a means to rank-order the strategic objectives to send forward to EMT and campus leadership. An explanation of this process can be found at the following links provided by Jeff

http://www.sbuf.se/ProjectArea/Documents/ProjectDocuments/06F167EF-B243-48ED-8C45-F7466B3136EB%5CWebPublishings%5CHow%20to%20make%20decision%20AHP.pdf  

http://colorado.edu/geography/leyk/geog_5113/readings/saaty_2008.pdf

Here is a practical explanation  of the process of NOAA. http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/sslmc/july-06/ahptutorial.pdf

 A Wikipedia explanation : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_Hierarchy_Process

Jeff explained the model to me and together we met with the leadership of RAPS to explain the process and get it underway. This included setting decision criteria and weighting them. Leadership culled strategic initiatives (those needing funds, approval, or campus buy-in) from the report (this is in juxtaposition to tactical initiatives which do not need money, approval or buy-in – which could go directly onto departments for consideration) which would then be fed into the model for evaluation in a pairwise comparison against the chosen criteria (# of students impacted, likelihood of positive impact, personnel needed to carry out the initiative, sustainability of the impact) by all the members of the RAPS subcommittee. For each comparison, the evaluator has to decide which of 2 initiatives is more important (and to what degree – a 9-point scale), based on that particular criterion.

Cost was not chosen as a criteria since in these economic times, it would have biased the list of initiatives too heavily. The group felt it was better to let the final decision, which could have cost as a factor, be left to the upper echelons of leadership. The goal of this process was to be able to send forward the findings of the group along with the prioritization and ranking based on everyone’s feedback.

Because the campus has not done these types of projects before, there was some hesitancy about it. However, in a spirit of learning through a pilot process, they chose to move forward. Right now we are piloting the initial pairwise rankings of the main strategic initiatives. As soon as the pilot is finished, the group will move to a computer lab where then entire group will get an explanation of the process and assistance as they fill in the Excel spreadsheet with their pairwise comparisons. Jeff will do the calculations and the outcome should be the ranked list.

4) Training – I’m taking STAT 500 as an audit right now as well as other professional dev opp’s to get up to speed with some of the technical aspects. SP 2013, I’ll take HIED 830 – Designing Institutional Research Studies and my PD plan includes some AIR workshops on data.

5) LL ED Learning community project – Paired with PSYCH 100, I am exploring whether the pairing is impacting retention – while I’m also learning the nuts and bolts of a mini ed research project – IRB, etc… This needs a post to itself – I am learning a LOT which I hope to be able to share with faculty interested in LCs, action research, or SoTL.

6) Data Decisions Academy - Data Foundations – through Association for Institutional Research (AIR) – learned nuts and bolts of retention studies – Blog post with details

7) Data Warehouse and Access Query level one training

8) Learning Analytics & Knowledge MOOC with George Siemens – this bore fruit immediately – connection with researchers in UK for lifelong learner inventory (ELLI) to use in fall reading course – planning now for early summer Schreyer supported colloquy to get training on the model.

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