Washington, DC – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Association for Institutional Research (AIR) today announced they received a $670,000 grant from Ascendium Education Group to pilot a Data Literacy Institute aimed at helping APLU member campuses better use data to increase student success. A network of twelve public universities working collaboratively as part of APLU’s Powered by Publics initiative will pilot the Data Literacy Institute with cross-departmental teams on each of their campuses. The project will help advance APLU and AIR’s longstanding commitment to promoting the use of data to improve retention and completion.
“One of the central aims of Powered by Publics is to better leverage data to boost equity and student success,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “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.”
Over the next two years, approximately 20 participants from each campus, representing a variety of departments, will complete coursework through the Data Literacy Institute, which will be developed by AIR. Coursework will be tailored to the needs of each participating institution. The first term will provide data literacy training to each cross-campus cohort of participants. The second term will focus on supporting participants in applying new data literacy skills to a unique student success challenge at their institution.
“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 & 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 Data Literacy Institute will use a peer learning community model to provide in-person and virtual training on effective practices and tools to improve data literacy skills. The work ultimately aims to develop a data literacy program model that could be continued at participating institutions and available for adoption by other colleges and universities across the country.
The institutions participating in the Data Literacy Institute 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.