Montclair State University has been selected to participate in a Data Literacy Institute aimed at increasing the use of data to boost student success, including the number of graduates.
A team from Montclair State will take part in the institute alongside 11 other public universities in its “transformation cluster,” working collaboratively as part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Powered by Publics initiative. The Data Literacy Institute is a joint APLU-Association for Institutional Research (AIR) effort and supported by funding from Ascendium Education Group.
Over the next two years, approximately 20 participants from each campus, representing a variety of departments, will complete coursework through the Data Literacy Institute, which will be developed by AIR. Coursework will be tailored to the needs of each participating institution. The first term will provide data literacy training to each cross-campus cohort of participants. The second term will focus on supporting participants in applying new data literacy skills to a unique student success challenge at their institution.
“Participation in the Data Literacy Institute augments the University’s existing student success work, with Navigate and Advising 2025,” says Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of University College David S. Hood. “The institute provides a cost-effective model for the University to realize the full potential of data on student success, by expanding the number of key stakeholders across the campus who have enhanced data literacy skills. The data fellows will become better equipped to understand and help the University to answer the big questions surrounding affordability, retention and completion in four years.”
“One of the central aims of Powered by Publics is to better leverage data to boost equity and student success,” says APLU President Peter McPherson. “Public universities have long recognized the immense value of using data to track and improve student success, especially for students from underserved populations. The Data Literacy Institute will work to bolster data literacy not just in Institutional Research offices, but across campus and especially among key decision-makers. A greater and improved use of data can make a real difference in a university’s ability to help more students succeed.”
“Unlocking the tremendous potential of data to inform better decisions and increase the success of all students requires universities to invest in the knowledge and skills of faculty and staff,” says Association for Institutional Research Executive Director and CEO Christine Keller. “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.”
The Data Literacy Institute will use a peer learning community model to provide in-person and virtual training on effective practices and tools to improve data literacy skills. The work ultimately aims 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.
The 11 other institutions participating in the Data Literacy Institute are: Bowling Green State University; Central State University; Illinois State University; Kent State University; Miami University; Oakland University; Towson University; University of Maine; University of Minnesota-Duluth; Western Michigan University; and Wright State University.