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  Improving Data-Informed Decision Making, Phase One

Committee Members

Dr. Steve Kurtz

Dr. Diana Stuart

Dr. Amy Henson

Kay Crecelius

Alan Wells

Lisa Edburg

Leslie Evans


Launched March 2015

Closed August 2016

  1. Briefly describe the project in less than 100 words. Be sure to identify the key organizational areas (departments, programs, divisions, units, etc.) and key organizational processes that this action project will affect, change, and/or improve.


This action project is the first step in a campus initiative to improve data collection for informed-decision making.  This project’s goals are to compile all of the data resources available on campus, decide what additional data the college needs to be collecting, and post a resource list for all employees to access. This resource list will be the first step in streamlining the process of obtaining data needed for reporting and decision-making across campus.


2. Describe your institution’s reasons for initiating this action project now and for how long it should take to complete it. Why are this project and its goals high among your institution’s current priorities? Also, explain how this project relates to any strategic initiatives or challenges described in the institution’s recent or soon-to-be submitted systems portfolio.


The College decided to initiate this project in response to the Systems Appraisal Report and Strategy Forum participation.  Much of the feedback received in the Systems Appraisal indicated a need for the College to institute a system of data-driven decision making. The Strategy Forum team is focusing its efforts on centralizing data to assist in data-informed decision making, and this project serves as the required action project that was generated as a result participation in HLC Strategy Forum in February of 2015.


This project is expected to take six months to complete. 


3. List the project goals, milestones, and deliverables along with corresponding metrics, due dates, and other measures for assessing the progress for each goal. Be sure to include formal evaluations when the project progress will be reviewed.:



Due Date


Compile list of known data resources

One month  after launch

Baseline inventory complete

Survey employees: What do they collect, where, and what else is needed?

Six weeks after launch

50% of employees respond

Conduct employee focus groups

Ten weeks after launch

25% of data collecting employees participate

Tabulate results and compile data “wish list”

Fourteen weeks after launch

List of results and a data wish list created

Post resource list on internal server and ask for employee feedback

Eighteen weeks after launch

Employee comments and usage statistics

Finalize inventory list and determine next steps

Twenty weeks after launch

Completed inventory of collected and desired data

4. Describe how various members of the learning community will participate in this action project. Show the breadth of involvement by individuals and groups over the project’s duration.:


This project will be guided by the Strategy Forum Team which includes the College President, Dean of Arts & Sciences, Associate Dean of Instruction, a Board of Trustees Member, the Director of Human Resources, the Institutional Researcher, a Professor of Business Education, and the Assistant Accreditation and Course Assessment Specialist.


The Institutional Researcher will start the project by compiling known sources of data on campus. Next, the Dean of Arts and Sciences and her staff will conduct an employee survey, which will be followed by focus groups directed by the Director of Human Resources. After the results are analyzed and posted, employees will then be contacted for additional feedback.  The Team will be relying on employee feedback to help guide the direction of this project. 


5. Describe how the institution will monitor project progress/success during, and at the completion of this project. Be sure to specifically state the measures that will be evaluated and when.


Progress and success will be measured throughout the project by the metrics established with each action step. The first step, compile a list of known resources, will be considered successful once the baseline inventory is complete.   

The Team set a goal of 50% of employee participation in a survey and 25% of employee participation in focus groups.  Once the results from the surveys and focus groups are tabulated, the list of results and a data wish list will be considered measures of success for that action step.  The measures for the resource list posting are the comments received and any usage statistics gathered.  Finally, the project will be considered successful once an inventory of data resources on campus is completed and posted in a location on the college’s intranet along with a list of needed data resources.  


6.Describe the challenges that may be encountered in successfully completing the project or for institutionalizing the learning from the project’s goals.


The Team does not anticipate any major challenges in completing this phase of the project. Future phases focusing on personnel and physical space may pose larger challenges as fiscal resources are limited. 


7. Provide any additional information that the institution wishes for reviewers to understand regarding this action project.


This project is the first in a series designed to consolidate and centralize data for decision making on campus.  After participating in Strategy Forum, the College recognizes that the overarching goal is complex and has many variables to ensure its success.  The Team decided to take the first step by reflecting on the current status of data-informed decision making on campus. This step involves a comprehensive examination of current data collected, a review of additional data needed, and the creation of a space to house data.  Additional projects will include reallocation of human resources and physical space to accommodate more efficient data collection and analysis with the goal of encouraging all employees to make more data-informed decisions.