Wright State selected to take part in Data Literacy Institute

Wright State University has been selected to take part in a Data Literacy Institute initiative designed to increase the use of data to boost student success and the number of graduates.

A team from Wright State will participate in the initiative along with 11 other public universities over the next two years. The Wright State team will be led by Tim Littell, associate vice provost for student success.

The institute will use a peer-learning model to provide in-person and virtual training on effective practices and tools to improve data literacy skills. The goal is to develop a data literacy program model that could be continued at participating institutions and available for adoption by other colleges and universities across the country.

About 20 participants from each campus, representing a variety of departments, will complete coursework through the institute developed by the Association of Institutional Research.

The first term will provide data literacy training to each cohort. The second term will focus on helping participants apply new data literacy skills to a unique student success challenge at their institution.

“Public universities have long recognized the immense value of using data to track and improve student success, especially for students from underserved populations,” said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). “A greater and improved use of data can make a real difference in a university’s ability to help more students succeed.”

Wright State interim Provost Douglas Leaman said it is exciting for the university to be part of the initiative.

“Data play a critical role in assessing student success, but it is equally critical to understand which data are most important to informing our decisions as an institution,” said Leaman. “Collaborating with the APLU and these partner institutions will help Wright State assess more effectively how we are using data to enhance student retention and recruitment across a range of student demographics. Most importantly, this program moves beyond simply sharing information on best practices by providing training to participants across campus so that the information is shared widely to a range of constituent groups.”

Christine Keller, executive director and CEO of the Association for Institutional Research, said unlocking the potential of data to make better decisions and increase student success requires universities to invest in the knowledge and skills of faculty and staff.

“The Data Literacy Institute is an important step in recognizing the importance of institutional-wide data literacy and its role in building stronger connections among data providers and data users to close equity gaps for the benefit of students,” she said.

The other participating schools are Bowling Green State University, Central State University, Illinois State University, Kent State University, Miami University, Montclair State University, Oakland University, Towson University, University of Maine, University of Minnesota-Duluth and Western Michigan University.

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