Institution Leaders Advocate for Data

Rachel Zinn
April 7, 2016

College leaders should be more engaged in federal policy discussions and can be powerful advocates for collecting data that helps improve education programs, according to a new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).

"Leading with Data: How Senior Institution and System Leaders Use Postsecondary Data to Promote Student Success" is based on interviews with top college officials from many states and types of schools. The report features four recommendations for institutional leaders, including "reach beyond campus boundaries to find and use data," and an encouragement for institutional and national leaders to collaborate more on federal policy.

WDQC coordinates with IHEP's Postsecondary Data Collaborative and is helping to put these two recommendations into action with community college officials who lead workforce development efforts.

For example, we help promote the Workforce Credentials Coalition, a network of community colleges trying to connect with data on industry certifications and employment in order to measure the success of occupational training. WDQC recently provided technical assistance to the North Carolina Community College System, a leader of the Coalition, about state policy models for facilitating access to wage records.

Through the National Skills Coalition's 2016 Skills Summit in Washington, DC, we engaged leaders at colleges, workforce organizations, and adult education providers in data policy advocacy. WDQC organized a panel discussion — which included IHEP Vice President of Policy Research Mamie Voight — to introduce audience members to the issues and prepare them to discuss the need for better federal data with Congressional staff. During Hill meetings, Summit participants from five states discussed the need for data about post-college employment outcomes with more than a dozen offices.

WDQC will continue to work with IHEP, National Skills Coalition, and other organizations to mobilize colleges and other training providers on data efforts that get better results for students, workers, and the economy.