Bring data together to tell a story. Your story.
Today in higher education, data lives everywhere. Twenty years ago, it may have been acceptable to say that data didn't exist on some particular point of interest; but not today. Today, faculty have data on students. So does student life. Enrollment management. Financial aid. The business office. It's everywhere. But, we don't always know where it lives. Today's campus struggle is that data lives in silos all over campus.
And these silos may exist for any variety of reasons. In some cases, there has never been a reason to share the data. In others, campus politics or feelings of job security have pushed individuals to exert control over information. Yet, regardless of why, not having a combined, holistic dataset prevents campuses from truly making data-informed decisions aimed at enhancing institutional progress and student success.
Data should be informing the stories we tell. From pitching prospective students on why they should come to our campus to or explaining to alums the value of the degree they've received, anecdotal stories simply don't work today. Three-minute videos about "successful" stories may whet the appetite, but they crumble under the pressures of an ever-increasingly demanding and informed public.
To tell an effective story, we need to have the whole picture. And this is only possible when the silos are gone and data flows freely. It's about data democratization. It's about not having roadblocks artificially created that limit our ability to truly prioritize students. It's not that everyone should have access to all available data. But, somewhere on campus, all of the data should be brought together for use when appropriate.