7P2 Determining Informational
and Data Needs
Individual departments and units at Western identify their needs for data and information based on both external and internal requirements. Informational needs are frequently determined by accrediting bodies, program review activities, and program policies.
Internally, Western determines its needs for information and data collection, storage, and accessibility based on administrative requests, institutional teams requesting data and providing feedback, needs expressed by departments and units, and requests for data beyond those tracked and published by the IR. Department representatives often work collaboratively with administration, the Institutional Research Analyst, and campus information services to provide data for use at department or unit levels.
Western’s implementation of the Banner Gold project is an example of how it considers unit needs. Needs were assessed by representatives across the campus, led by an independent consultant. Forums were held for all faculty, staff, and students. Input was used to identify and to resolve hardware and software processing issues at the implementation level (2P3-2P4).
Another example of determining informational and data needs is the Student Engagement Action Project. Western used representatives from across the system (2P1) to provide input. Teams analyzed data for critical cohort student groups (2P3) and recommended tactical recruitment and retention plans.
A challenge for Western is institutionalizing a process for determining informational needs across the system. Western's five-year strategic plan Building the New American Regional University identifies Using Measurement and Assessment as a priority and establishes the support of institutional research and assessment and the creation and development of a comprehensive University assessment plan focused on student learning and mission effectiveness as important goals.Western launched an AQIP Action Project in Using Measurement and Assessment in April 2007 with an expected completion date of 2009.