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New Data Literacy Institute Will Help Institutions Harness Data for Student Success

man working on laptop with overlay of graphs and data

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Association for Institutional Research (AIR) are teaming up for a pilot that will provide data literacy training to APLU member campuses. The Data Literacy Institute, funded by a $670,000 grant from Ascendium Education Group, will offer coursework developed by AIR on the use of data to boost student success.

In a peer learning community model, participants from 12 public universities from the APLU's Powered by Publics initiative will complete the Data Literacy Institute training over two years. The participants will represent a variety of departments on their campuses. The first term will cover data literacy skills tailored to the needs of each participating institution, while the second term will focus on applying those skills to each institution's particular student success challenges.

"One of the central aims of Powered by Publics is to better leverage data to boost equity and student success," explained APLU President Peter McPherson, in a statement. "Public universities have long recognized the immense value of using data to track and improve student success, especially for students from underserved populations. The Data Literacy Institute will work to bolster data literacy not just in Institutional Research offices, but across campus and especially among key decision-makers. A greater and improved use of data can make a real difference in a university's ability to help more students succeed."

"Unlocking the tremendous potential of data to inform better decisions and increase the success of all students requires universities to invest in the knowledge and skills of faculty and staff," said Christine Keller, executive director and CEO of the Association for Institutional Research. "The Data Literacy Institute is an important step in recognizing the importance of institutional-wide data literacy and its role in building stronger connections among data providers and data users to close equity gaps for the benefit of students."

The institutions in the pilot are: Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Illinois State University, Kent State University, Miami University, Montclair State University, Oakland University, Towson University, University of Maine, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Western Michigan University and Wright State University. Ultimately the goal is to develop a data literacy program model that can be deployed by colleges and universities across the country.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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