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Data, Efforts that use Data, and Tying them Together

by Tod Massa 9. September 2016 23:21

One thing that has struck me over my career is just how often meetings are so focused on a topic and having the right people and representation in the room. On the surface this is a good thing and it usually makes meetings easier to manage than otherwise. However, what happens is that the topic tends to be handled in a vacuum as if it stands alone. I think it is a rare thing that a policy topic is not influenced by, or influences, other policies. I think wherever possible we should identify major policy intersections and ensure there is representation in meetings/task forces/workgroups etc.

 For example, the task force on streamlining enrollment projections needs to have representation not only from those producing the projections, but from those who use them. That is of course pretty obvious. But think also about how those uses differ, formally (in Code) and informally.  A task force on dual enrollment probably benefits from having representatives involved in high school redesign, the education quality initiative, and participation in Complete College America. In fact, each of these activities can probably benefit from representatives from the others. The problem becomes one of avoiding overworking people that are already busy.

From my perspective on data, with all the increasing demands for data, and there are many,  I want people to use as much of the same data as makes sense, while planning new data resources to meet multiple needs. I also want to learn new ways to think about the data we have and how to use it. There is still a lot I have to learn, especially when crossing traditional boundaries of higher ed.




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