CIMA Spotlight

CIMA has created our Member Spotlight to highlight our members and institutions across the country. Read below to see our spotlight from each newsletter! If you have any interesting uses of data or stories you’d like to share in our Member Spotlight, please reach out to data@aplu.org.

Lisa Freeman, President, Northern Illinois University, CIMA Chair

What three words best describe your university? Diverse, accessible, and affordable.

What makes your university great? Our university serves a majority of students who might not have another chance to have their talent matched with the opportunity provided by higher education. Most students are the first in their families to go to college and are from marginalized or low-income communities. The transformative impact is evident, as our students uplift themselves, their families, and their communities. At NIU, we’re constantly changing lives and making a meaningful impact, making it an exceptional place to work.

How long have you been involved with CIMA? Do you have a favorite memory of your involvement? I’ve been involved with CIMA since its inception, with a brief break after becoming a university president. All the CIMA meetings I’ve attended have been helpful to me in whatever role I was serving. My favorite memory would be the Portland CIMA summer meeting in 2016. We had a large constituency from NIU that really wanted to talk to other institutions about how they were using data, how they structured institutional research, institutional effectiveness, and accreditation. Everybody was so willing to have those discussions; talk about problems they had and hadn’t solved yet. Our whole team remembers that meeting as very collegial, informative, and fun.

Tell us about the last time you saw an interesting use of data, personally or professionally. The State of Illinois has a commission pioneering an adequacy-based funding formula for four-year universities that results in equitable distribution of state-appropriated funds. The Commission is grappling with approaches to fund universities adequately, equitably, and stably to best serve all students, including underrepresented students. Seeing people from across the country who work in the K-12 space, elected political leaders, analysts and modelers, and university leadership come together and put students at the center of conversations has been incredible. It’s not done, but it speaks to the power of data in driving decisions and actions.

What’s your favorite way to spend your free time? On the water of Lake Michigan. My husband and I spend almost every weekend on our boat, sometimes even working remotely! The water helps me think not about the everyday problems, but about the larger issues. It’s inspiring as well as relaxing.

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Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Project & Initiative

Powered by Publics is convening nearly 125 change-ready institutions within 16 “transformation clusters” focused on solving different pieces of the student success puzzle. Participating institutions are working collaboratively to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.