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themes and initiatives
Theme: Enable Data-Driven Decision-Making

Strategy: Implement and expand platforms and tools for analysis to decentralize access to data, support efficient, data-driven decision-making and promote assessment.

Accurate, accessible data and analytical tools are essential to managing the university, assessing outcomes, and continuously improving curriculum and operations. The university requires more data for an expanding scope of interests. Gaps in the availability or capture of data must be filled to enable the execution of international strategy, forecasting key revenue streams such as research, and managing major cost drivers including space and utility costs. The unit of analysis needs to be both macro and micro. While aggregate data is important, assessment and management decision-making require more granular data at the level of the student/individual, the course, and the lab. More data needs to be more accessible to more people without requiring specialized training or technology support. The necessity for rapid decision-making and the immense scale of university charges dictate a tiered service model that readily provides data to the individual for routine reporting, to the analyst for decision-making support and to the expert for advanced analytics and modeling.

Progressive strategies will serve to close data availability gaps, provide improved analytical tools and promote seamless integration. Data must also be monitored for appropriate usage. The supporting training and tools should be established yet transparent to facilitate access while maintaining compliance and security. Coordination is required to design efficient data capture processes, minimize duplication of data sources and promote the overall effective use of university data.


In the next three years, the university will:

  • Develop a staff that is skilled in understanding, safe-guarding and using data.
  • Establish mature data governance practices.
  • Reduce the number of data silos and facilitate analysis that combines data from multiple sources.
  • Address high priority needs to improve data availability in support of faculty activities, international partnerships, and sustainable research.

To realize these objectives, the university should pursue the following initiatives:

  • Enable powerful institutional analytics to inform decision-making and expedite the review of complex analytical questions that require combining and manipulating data from many sources (e.g., retention).
  • Provide staff with a common tool set and broader access to data with significant analytical responsibilities in management centers and administrative departments.
  • Integrate information silos and improve the university’s ability to facilitate faculty collaborations and leverage its institutional relationships more holistically. Deploy a faculty life-cycle information system that simplifies the efficient capture and reporting of faculty interests, accomplishments and activities. The solution should support university-wide needs such as monitoring international activity and providing tools to facilitate the formation of research collaborations around areas of faculty interest. It should also provide the flexibility for management centers to collect additional information.
  • Deploy better tools for measuring student learning outcomes to provide faculty with real-time impact assessment of different pedagogical methods and inform the continuous improvement of the curriculum.
  • Establish a data governance structure and appoint an overall coordinator for the management of data and analytics. Data governance will manage consistent definition of data, establish systems of record for data, recommend guidelines and practices to enable appropriate data access and promote development of a culture of assessment and data-driven decision making.
  • Implement data protection requirements at the infrastructure level through explicitly designed security architectures to meet regulatory and intellectual property protection needs.