Over the last decade, there has been increasing demand to assess institutional performance and student outcomes from various groups including the System Office, individual colleges, accreditation agencies, grant funders, policy advocates, elected officials, educational organizations, media outlets, and other government agencies. With these growing demands there is a need for a robust informational system and efficient collection process that result in accurate, timely and accessible data beyond the limitations and scope of the current system.
The Data Initiative officially kicked off on May 4, 2012 and is led by Chris Cline and Bill Schneider. Executive oversight is provided by Dr. Saundra Williams from the System Office and Dr. David Shockley, President of Surry Community College. This multi-year initiative will aim to be completed by 2015.
Contact Chris Cline (919) 807-6985 or Bill Schneider (919) 807-6979
The Data Initiative encompasses a collaborative and holistic approach with input from a diverse, cross-functional representation of staff members from the System Office and colleges from across the state. The Data Initiative Coordinating Team is responsible for determining the Focus Area Teams and recommending strategies resulting in optimal outcomes. The Data Structure & Entry Steering Committee and Data Access Advisory Team work in symphony to ensure we have an end to end solution from data entry to data analytics.
The nine Focus Area Teams are subject based groups to address the research needs and associated data elements/definitions as they pertain to student and institutional effectiveness. These nine focus area teams include Basic Skills, Student Characteristics, Student Support, Student Progression, Student Course Success & Learning Outcomes, Course Sections, External Sources, Faculty & Staff, and Finance & Facilities. Below are more detailed descriptions of each of the Focus Area Teams.
Focus Area Teams
BASIC SKILLS: Enrollment and progression data related to students in Basic Skills programs. Established and implemented based on immediate federal reporting needs.
STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS: Enrollment related data focused on student admission, entry, background, and characteristics.
STUDENT SUPPORT: Information focused on financial, academic, and personal support, special accommodations provided to students. Includes assessments of financial and remediation needs.
STUDENT PROGRESSION: Student cohort tracking that includes success rates relating to retention, graduation, transfer, and employment.
STUDENT COURSE SUCCESS & LEARNING OUTCOMES: Student course progression and performance data and associated learning outcomes.
COURSE SECTIONS: Course information and section data that includes course availability, section logistics (where, when and how, length, etc.) and section enrollments.
EXTERNAL SOURCES: Data collected by outside agencies and/or housed outside of Colleague which assist in the evaluation of student and institutional performance.
FACULTY & STAFF: Employee and position characteristics that include salaries, employee background, employment status, and position details.
FINANCES & FACILITIES: Budgetary and facilities information that includes summary, financial data and detailed facilities data.
Partnership with SAS
To facilitate this effort, NCCCS has partnered with SAS to develop a software solution and training that would enhance data collection and analysis for the state’s 58 community colleges. The first step in this multi-phase solution was the development of a dashboard prototype which was presented to the State Board and the Community College Presidents. The software and dashboard tools will assist in the creation of a new data dictionary and enhance analytic capabilities.
Professional development will be provided to ensure consistent data entry and aid users in effectively using the software and dashboards. The nine Focus Area Teams will begin in Spring 2013 with the aim of completing their initial work within two years. This will facilitate the creation of new data marts for colleges and System Office.
Objectives and Desired Outcomes
- Expand the individual and collective inquisitiveness of stakeholders within the NC Community College System to ask research questions that inform decisions and policies.
- Develop data definitions based on research needs and reporting requirements.
- Ensure data integrity and consistency through appropriate and uniform entering and collecting of information across the System so data extracted are valid and reliable.
- Incorporate a data review process that ensures accountability through the validation of submitted data.
- Develop focused topic-based data marts that will serve a wide variety of analytical research needs including, but not limited to, strategic initiatives, grants, and business and student centric needs.
- Expand information accessibility by making all data users aware of the availability of predefined reports, web-based dashboards, statistical software, and training.
- Enhance advanced analytical capabilities to empower researchers focusing on specific topics and initiatives.
- Utilize research findings and reports to educate policy makers on the extent to which various factors impact outcomes, including student enrollment, student learning, student completion, faculty and staff development, budget allocation, etc.
Most Recent Activity Report
June 2013 Activity ReportWednesday, June 19, 2013 - 14:54
Focus Area Teams are dividing into subgroups to address college and system-wide research needs. For example; the Faculty/Staff team created subgroups to address Full-time/Part-time Employment and Workload. The Finance & Facilities team has divided into three subgroups: Financial Statements/CAFR Data File Extraction/IPEDS reporting, Space Utilization/Facilities Usage, and Program Cost.
The nine Focus Area Teams, the engine of the initiative, continue to investigate their federal, state, local, and system-wide research needs and develop the NCCCS data dictionary. The data dictionary will provide clearly understood data element definitions allowing for ease of data entry and improved data quality.Next Steps:
1. Recommend modifications to current data collection and reporting processes
2. Install and validate technology solutions
3. Create initial data quality reports
4. Gather business requirements for initial dashboardsMeetings: Coordinating Team meeting
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