Enabling Better Decision-Making through Better Data

by Simone Knapp

Working closely with data stewards and experts from across campus, the office of Information Strategy and Analytics (ISA) has spent the last three years developing ways to acquire, integrate and provision institutional data in a more effective and reliable manner than ever before.

The results have been putting the power of data into the campus community’s hands. Initiatives such as uView enable members of the community to query student enrolment data through self-serve access, instead of calling multiple people and then waiting for a report.

Russell Isinger, registrar and director of academic services with Student & Enrolment Services Division (SESD), said “the relationship between ISA and SESD is a close working one, and ISA is supporting strategic enrolment management through better data.” He indicated that the rolling registration reports allow SESD to see trends now, and in the future could be used to respond to changes in enrolment.

The U of S now has common institutional definitions; something that couldn’t have been done without the work of the ISA, said Isinger. This in turn has resulted in a better nomenclature report for the institution.

“The work ISA is doing is developing a culture of central reporting. Data is easier to access and is being pulled from a single authoritative data source, resulting in quicker and more accurate information,” continued Isinger.

Troy Harkot, director of the ISA, says implementing the information strategy has allowed the U of S to leverage data as a key institutional asset that can be used to monitor progress against plans and inform decision-making at all levels of the university as identified a priority in the Second Integrated Plan.

“Our work has also resulted in ongoing collaborations with data steward delegates to ensure that there is a continuous focus on data quality, accuracy, reliability and availability in an attempt to build and maintain trust and confidence in an important institutional asset,” said Harkot.

The ISA was created in 2009 to implement the recommendations of the 2008 campus-wide information strategy.