June 25th, 2019

Where in the World is DPM Research?

Trains, planes, and –of course- London’s famous black cabs! As a new entrant into the world of institutional research and data management, the Edudata Summit provided a first-class platform to watch the discussion unfold. How should universities be using data? How do we interpret data limitations? Once reports have been produced, what do institutions do with this data and how should they attempt to communicate their findings?

Connecting with delegates gave me the chance to better understand how institutional research affects universities around the world: influencing rankings, inspiring collaborations, and measuring student satisfaction, to name only a few capabilities. There are many points along the data value chain from acquisition to usage. The difficulty lies in managing this data and learning how to use, interpret, and refine these points to make decisions.

Perhaps what struck me most was the discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in a new data education landscape. As institutions use data to answer critical questions, we can learn more about questions such as: Which student groups are underrepresented in campus programming?  What educational benefits are available to students and who has access to these benefits? The challenge is finding better and faster ways of collecting and producing data, taking into account who gets to be included in these samples and the ethics of inclusion and exclusion.