To: Executive Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Heads of Schools, Divisions, Departments, and Offices
From: Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President
Date: April 18, 2014
Re: Centralized Assessment Activities
Across higher education it is now clear that there are huge opportunities to make gains in student success from the effective use of assessment and data analytics. Earlier this year, Purdue took the first step in this direction by creating the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness, with the charge of using data analytics to report on key areas of institutional improvement, including affordability, student learning and growth, faculty activity and institutional excellence.
The leaders of the OIRAE have developed a plan for marshalling and distributing resources for data collection, analysis and reporting across the campus administrative units. I’ve reviewed that plan and found great merit in its promise to enhance our effectiveness in this important area. Here are a few examples of the benefits the plan stands to produce:
- Integration of data currently held in multiple, siloed units to produce data that is broader in scope, is more readily produced and results in a better foundation for improving student success and institutional excellence;
- Elimination of duplicative efforts in assessing and analyzing frequently-reviewed questions using disparate data;
- More efficient use of highly-skilled computer technicians (statisticians, query-writers, data process developers) across units, to ensure consistency in data capturing, while freeing resources for data evaluation;
- Alignment of the many efforts to survey students and faculty into reliable and repeatable assessment activities that yield useful results.
The OIRAE leadership and staff will be held accountable to these goals and to producing them with no diminution of service to the units that rely on complete and accurate data.
As outlined in the plan, effective April 30, the personnel and operations charged with assessment and data activities within Student Affairs, Student Success, Academic Affairs, the Center for Instructional Excellence, and Information Technology at Purdue will be centralized under the leadership of Chief Data Officer, Brent Drake. This centralized assessment group will report to Diane Beaudoin, who will serve as the interim director in addition to her current duties for the Provost’s Office. The personnel in Housing and Food Services and Diversity and Inclusion who conduct data and assessment activities will have a dotted-line reporting to Diane Beaudoin, with the objective of eliminating redundancy and inconsistency of data involving those units. Additionally, the department of Space Management and Academic Scheduling will report directly to Brent Drake. When practicable, staff comprising the new assessment group will continue to work within their current locations.
My expectation is that this new coordination of assessment and data analytics will allow Purdue to make better informed decisions and will help the University to continue to improve and be a national leader in data-driven student success.