Accessing and Using Data to Inform Decisions
During summer, you may have some time to delve more deeply into an analysis of institutional/unit data. Such an undertaking can inform program development and review, annual reports, faculty development, and budget decisions.
Perhaps you simply want to review your unit’s data in the Banner system which has reports related to advising, budgets, scheduling, student evaluations of faculty, etc. You may want to know how many majors you currently have in comparison to the numbers of five years ago. Or you may want to know FERPA authorization for a student. You may want to identify faculty who have outstanding roll verification work. You can sort and retrieve the data in Banner to answer a wide variety of questions and to inform your decisions.
The existing COM reports (Common Reports for All Users) can offer a wealth of information. You can also talk with IT’s Enterprise Information Systems, a group that creates reports pulling from centralized data collection, such as Banner. Rick Crain is the Assistant Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Information Systems.
If you’re conducting a program review, you may want to know that in the University System of Georgia (USG), academic programs go through a four-step life span.
- First, the need for the program must be part of a program forecast that you prepare for your department.
- Then programs go through a two-step approval process whereby they must first be approved by the University of North Georgia (UNG) and then by the Board of Regents. There are very specific steps in each case that must be followed.
- Once approved and in place, actual numbers of program enrollees must be verified against the estimates you submitted.
- Finally, every five to seven years you must submit to the BOR the number of graduates you are producing to justify the continued existence of the program.
The USG New Program Review site contains all the pertinent information you will need from the BOR perspective to submit a program for USG approval once it has been approved by UNG to move forward. The online Deans and Department Heads workshop in eLearning will offer some insights and resources as you work through this process. (All unit heads at UNG are allowed access to this site; contact Mary Carney for more information.) If you are looking at curriculum reform, this article may be of use: Facilitating Program, Faculty, and Student Transformation: A Framework for Curriculum Redesign, by Fowler and colleagues.
Taking a wider lens, you may want to consider how other colleges and universities approach the analytics of student success. Lumina Foundation funded a look into this question in a project shared by the Association for Institutional Research, NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and EDUCAUSE. You can see their report: Institutions Use of Data and Analytics for Student Success.
Of course, UNG’s Institutional Effectiveness department will offer support in your retrieval and analysis of institutional information.
Summer is a great time to reflect on your unit’s long-term goals and to delve into data that will inform your vision and your leadership.
Fowler, D., Lazo, M., Turner, J., & Hohenstein, J. (2015). Facilitating program, faculty, and student transformation: A framework for curriculum redesign. Journal of Transformative
Learning, 3(1), 59-73.