Chief Data and “Disruption” Officer Looks for Ways to Help Students and Institutions Succeed
By Roberta Hyland, Chief Data Officer, National Student Clearinghouse
The world has changed a great deal since I started as the National Student Clearinghouse’s first Chief Data Officer more than two years ago. Educational institutions have been tested in unprecedented ways with a global pandemic and inequities in education highlighted by events and data.
This uncertain environment is an important opportunity to rethink how educational institutions can leverage data so they can do the most for their students. The pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed our approach but rather increased the demand for Clearinghouse’s services and its data. It is imperative that we support the institutions on a more rapid basis.
Many institutions understand the value of data, but don’t have the expertise or resources to fully organize it across their enterprises, comprehend it, apply it and take action. High school counselors for example, can be tasked with tracking if a student successfully transitions from high school to college, but counselors have enormous workloads and are often without the tools to monitor or act upon the data. Through our expertise and scale, the Clearinghouse helps schools with data and analysis that is effective, efficient, and ready-made.
While the Clearinghouse’s data can be crucial in its ability to steer leaders toward recognizing trends and the need for action, it also helps schools make decisions at a more granular level. If a student has frequent changes in enrollment intensity or enrollment status, the data can alert an institution that the student may be at risk of dropping out. Our job is to help an institution understand that educators need to further engage with this student to ensure they are successful.
Furthermore, there is a growing interest by employers to partner with educational institutions to identify and hire employees as the nation recovers from COVID-19. Data is an invaluable tool for workplace skills matching to find candidates with the proper skills to fill open positions. If there is a particular area where the data shows a lack of people who have a computer science major, then a good question to ask: how do we partner with an education provider to put students on that path and create those connections into the workforce?
Actionable data can be a positive disruption for institutions that are looking to better understand their challenges and opportunities. My colleagues and I acknowledge that CDO, which stands for Chief Data Officer, also stands for chief “disruption” officer. I say this because we are always looking for ways to innovate and disrupt the status quo to ultimately help learners and institutions succeed, a clear role of the Chief Data Officer.
“…we are always looking for ways to innovate and disrupt the status quo to ultimately help learners and institutions succeed, a clear role of the Chief Data Officer.”
Chief Data Officer, National Student Clearinghouse