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K-State Today

November 7, 2022

OIRA transformation — A catalyst for building a new data culture

Submitted by Bin Ning

Better integration and use of data have become ubiquitous and a core action across higher education, and K-State is no exception.

In 2018, K-State leadership envisioned the strategic use of data as a critical institutional asset. That vision was to ensure institutional data would be used for data-informed decision-making and to support K-State strategic initiatives, including K-State 2025 strategic planning, Strategic Enrollment Management efforts and Responsibility Centered Management budget processes. As a result, the new Office of Institutional Research and Assessment was established in 2019. Three years later, the office has completed its Phase I transformational work through collaborative work with units across the university. Some of the highlights of accomplishments include:

  • Led activities in analytics, Business Intelligence tool development, integration of data from multiple systems, assessment, and program review through building multiple cross-functional teams.
  • Built close collaborations with all academic colleges, campuses, and service units.
  • Transformed the culture of using data through Business Intelligence tool delivery, communication and training, developing more than 50 Business Intelligence tools for a wide spectrum of users across the university.
  • Created a strong service-oriented office culture by emphasizing friendly and timely responses to users' data requests.

The past several years of effort have laid a solid foundation for the Office of Institutional and Research Assessment to transition into the next phase of transforming institutional data culture. A few key initiatives planned for the next phase of work include:

  • Collaborate with multiple units to develop and implement an institutional data strategy.
  • Further transform the data-informed decision-making culture and services by promoting the shift from data insights to data action (Educause, 2022).
  • Lead data-gathering activities to support K-State's new strategic planning effort, including coordinating ongoing information collections, building baselines, monitoring key performance indicators and providing benchmarking information.
  • Work collaboratively with data custodians and ITS to strengthen implementation of a comprehensive, multilevel data governance structure.
  • Expand the office's central function as a data hub and facilitator to integrate institutional data assets for empowering stakeholders to enhance institutional effectiveness.
  • Continue to partner with ITS to develop a new cloud-based data warehouse.
  • Continue to improve analytical work in faculty and staff analysis.

More efficient and effective management and use of our data assets is a journey, not a destiny. The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment will continue to build upon its work of providing data insights that enables action to enhance institutional performance and operational efficiency and improve student success. Should you have questions, contact the office staff.