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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.


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October 2017 Council Meeting

by Administrator 3. November 2017 17:26

In this week's meeting, the Council approved the 2017 Enrollment Projections and Degree Estimates. We will have them on the site shortly. The Agenda Book is here and the relevant item can be found on page 79 of the Resources agenda.

I also presented to the Academic Affairs committee on the need and desirability of a Council working group develop a data agenda. The text for that discussion is below. Two members have volunteered to work with me over the coming months to create a work plan to develop a Data & Policy Agenda to further inform the Council's work.

Background Information/Summary of Major Elements:

At a recent meeting, Council members discussed the formation of an advisory body for SCHEV’s data resources, including the Virginia Longitudinal Data System. Building on that conversation, this agenda item contemplates the development of a “data and policy agenda for the Commonwealth.” The agenda would be guided by the goals of The Virginia Plan for Higher Education and anticipate a broader role for the Council in administering the Virginia Longitudinal Data System.

SCHEV has been collecting student-level data since 1992. Like many states, SCHEV’s data collections are based on a model developed by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems nearly 30 years ago. At the time, the model was designed primarily for resource allocation and planning. While those purposes still are important, state and institutional policy makers today want to address other issues, such as student success in and after college.

In addition to student data, SCHEV also collects and has access to data relating to institutional appropriations, equipment and facilities, student tuition and fees, and student financial aid. And, as lead state agency on the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, SCHEV has the responsibility to develop – in cooperation with agency partners – a coherent agenda for addressing questions that cross agency divisions.

Among the duties assigned to Council, at least two (numbers 9 and 30) deal directly with data information systems and their policy implications:

9. Develop a uniform, comprehensive data information system designed to gather all information necessary to the performance of the Council's duties. The system shall include information on admissions, enrollment, self-identified students with documented disabilities, personnel, programs, financing, space inventory, facilities, and such other areas as the Council deems appropriate. 

30. Administer the Virginia Longitudinal Data System as a multiagency partnership for the purposes of developing educational, health, social service, and employment outcome data; improving the efficacy of state services; and aiding decision making.

SCHEV’s role in promoting a sound and vigorous system of higher education requires a breadth of scope that goes beyond just our colleges and universities. For example, we work closely with pre-K-12 partners through high-school outreach and teacher education programs. Our involvement with the New Economy Workforce Grant Program and the Virginia Research Investment Committee also places SCHEV in the middle of workforce and economic development. 

As the Council looks to the future, it would be beneficial to develop a data and policy agenda to guide the work of staff and our partners. How can SCHEV best use its data resources to ensure excellence in Virginia higher education, the graduates who pass through our institutions, and the impact of both on the Virginia economy?

Questions that might be addressed include the following:

1.How should we use the data we have more effectively to meet the needs of the Council and the Commonwealth?

2.What are the essential policy questions we should ask and how do we use our data to inform the answers?

3.What data collections do we suspend, continue or expand? Are they complete and suitable for achieving the goals of The Virginia Plan? 

4.What improvements should we pursue to make our data more accessible and transparent to stakeholders?

5.What are the best means to communicate data sources, findings and reports to various audiences?

6.What other data sources should we consider incorporating into our system?

7.Are there data elements that currently do not exist that should be created?

8.What financial resources will be necessary to achieve the outcomes of the data agenda?

The process for developing a data and policy agenda should involve stakeholders who contribute to and use SCHEV data and the policy formulations that derive from the data. Staff recommends that Council leadership for this initiative rest with the Academic Affairs Committee. 

Financial Impact: Development of a data and policy agenda will have a fiscal impact on the Council and, potentially, on partnering agencies and institutions. Costs include staff time, travel and meeting expenses and contractual services, all of which we anticipate can be accommodated, at least initially, within the existing agency budget. Staff also will pursue opportunities for grant funding to support the planning effort.

Timetable for Further Review/Action: Based on the discussion at the October meeting, staff will develop a more concrete work plan and timeline relative to the development of a data and policy agenda and present it at the January meeting.


Resolutions: N/A



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