Workshop Confirms: Data is Not a Four-Letter Word

Dr. W. Allen Richman, Senior Director for Research

While data is technically a four-letter word, the meaning behind those four letters runs much deeper. Middle States Commission on Higher Education staff members Dr. W. Allen Richman, Senior Director for Research, and Mr. Douglas MacDonald, Senior Analytics Specialist, led two sessions on May 23, 2019, for individuals who read “data” in the title and skip the rest of the workshop description.

The 40-plus participants who converged on the Commission offices over two identical workshops were led through an interactive session that helped participants determine the metrics that best reflected at their respective institution’s missions; defined lead and lag metrics; created a basic dashboard using free software and publicly available data; and discussed how to make these best practices a reality at their own institutions.

Dr. Richman and Mr. MacDonald understand that the explosion of data that is impacting every institution can be overwhelming. The workshop was designed for participants to determine what data to examine and how to best present it to the those regularly asking “how are we doing?” with answers anchored in established benchmarks and realistic expectations.

Mr. Douglas MacDonald, Senior Analytics Specialist

The workshop was originally presented as pre-conference workshop at the 2018 Annual Conference.