Monday, August 3, 2009

Analytics in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (2)

Guest Blogger: Dr. Linda Baer, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Minnesota State College and Universities

The dashboard used at the system level by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities enables Systems-level administrators and members of the Board to follow the aggregated performance of the system on ten key variables.

These ten variables fall into four strategic directions for the MnScU system: 1) access and opportunity, 2) meeting state and regional economic needs, 3) quality programs and services, and 4) innovation and efficiency.

At the present time, six of these ten variables are being used actively: 1) percent change in enrollment, 2) net tuition and fees as a % of total income, 3) related employment of graduates, 4) licensure exams pass rates, 5) persistence and completion rates, and 6) facilities condition index. The other four measures, while important considerations that figure in the Board’s deliberations, have not yet been adequately defined in a “quantifiable” manner to be “lit up” on the dashboard.

The first page view of the dashboard is the aggregate for the entire MNSCU system. The familiar “speedometer” view. In addition, the user can “drill down” to examine the performance of individual campuses, as reflected in the second page view for Alexandria Technical College. In addition to the variables displayed on the second view, many other statistics can be portrayed and presented in graphical form.

The dashboard has proven to be an excellent mechanism for engaging the Executive Team and the Board in understanding summative performance against the high-level strategic directions of MnSCU and its 32 institutions. It is also the basis for judging the performance of the President and his team and these measures are part of the performance evaluation criteria .

But the use of measurement at MnSCU goes far beyond the high-level outcome elements of the dashboard. Individual MnSCU institutions have a rich set of measures which they use to get at the effectiveness of the processes and people that actually generate those outcomes. Many of these institutions utilize a rich palette of Baldrige and/or AQIP measures to understand, refine, and redesign the performance of their processes and people. This sort of continuous churning and improvement is critical to the effective use of analytics.

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