Embracing data-informed decision making
At Montgomery County Community College, data brings departments together to gain insights.
- Montgomery County Community College now measures all of its programs with shared data and metrics
- Having a culture around metrics is helping departments learn from each other
- Leaders can make more insightful, data-informed decisions
Kevin Pollock, President, Montgomery County Community College
I think some of our biggest priorities at our institution, honestly, are adapting to some of the changes that are happening around us. Change is happening all over in higher education right now.
Technology is helping us deal with change in so many facets. We are very data informed. We don't like the phrase data-driven, because data doesn't really drive anything. It's the information that we need in order to make better decisions in what we're doing. We want to be informed in our decision-making process.
We're also using analytics a lot now. We asked faculty to create a series of measurements for every single program to determine the efficiencies of the programs. So, our faculty created 22 measurement points. Some of those we ask them to put in, fall-to-fall retention rates, graduation rates, the basic pieces that we're monitoring. But they put in a lot of other things, too.
We have data that we can go through. All 43 of our programs can pull up how much information there is for each of these different pieces. The best part of utilizing this data, we're looking internally and comparing internally.
We used a heat model for that. So, we color coded everything. Green are our outstanding areas. Reds obviously are not. And my staff and faculty laugh, because I always say nobody was green across the board, but nobody has red across the board. That has broken down a lot of those data pieces and those data silos.
We have faculty now from cross programs that are talking to each other. How are you having a better graduation rate than we are? They're talking about a class schedule across the boundaries.
The English department, and the math department, and those other courses, how are they fitting? How come our students are not going in and getting those classes and graduating on time? So, it's opened up a lot of questions that our faculty and our staff want to work our way through.