The mission of the North Carolina Community College System is to open the door to high-quality, accessible educational opportunities that minimize barriers to post-secondary education, maximize student success, develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce, and improve the lives and well-being of individuals. The 2018 NCCC Summit was a wonderful opportunity for educators and administrators across the state to come together and share knowledge and best practices for improving educational outcomes.
The keynote speaker challenged the audience with the following thoughts:
- Change is hard.
- We want to transform, but how?
- We are being impacted by huge technical, data, and cultural changes in the state and the world.
- How do we ensure we are current and relevant?
This theme of relevancy was mirrored in the two sessions I attended about the transformative use of data on campus.
First, I listened to Dr. Pamela Senegal from Piedmont Community College talk about her initiative to assess campus culture and climate through the Personal Assessment of the College Environment instrument. What I took away from this session is that leaders need to hold themselves accountable for change. Institutional change is hard; it happens over time through deliberate strategic steps. Dr. Senegal described how you have to change the culture before you can effectively use data, and you have to use data so that you can measure change.
Second, I listened to the Strategic Enrollment Management team at Forsyth Tech talk about their journey of using data to streamline recruitment, retention, and marketing outreach. To be successful, they had to break down silos and work towards a common goal on campus. Communication, shared priorities, and the use of a single source of data enabled their efforts.
In both sessions, there was an acknowledgement that the most effective community colleges implement data-driven decisions to enhance organizational effectiveness. For many organizations, culture change is required for big data adoption. HelioCampus’ CEO, Darren Catalano, has blogged on this topic for EDUCAUSE Review, based on his experience as the Vice President of Analytics at the University of Maryland University College.
I'm looking forward to next year and learning more about data utilization in the NCCC System.