AIR's Leah Ewing Ross and Stephan Cooley are featured in an episode of the Assessment Institute's new podcast series, Leading Improvements in Higher Education. Podcast episodes profile people, initiatives, institutions, and organizations improving conditions in higher education. Thought leaders engage in discussions about enduring and emerging topics, themes, and trends affecting colleges and universities. IUPUI’s Stephen Hundley, Chair of the Assessment Institute, serves as host.
Ross and Cooley touch on the impact of the pandemic, importance of stakeholder relationships, and much more. At one point, Hundley asks about the importance of data-driven decision making, and Ross responds that she avoids using the term "data-driven."
"The action of this work belongs with the people, not with the data," Ross said. "We need to do far more than count things. We need to ensure that the humanity stays in data use, and that we don’t approach this work as a series of algorithms. Because this work is about people—students, faculty, staff, stakeholders. Their experience and needs can’t be fully captured or predicted by computerized processes.... None of us should be satisfied with the simple act of making a data-informed decision.... We need to be curious about where information comes from and identify relevant context. And Institutional Research has long led higher education in this work and this type of approach to the work. The responsibility is ours—meaning all of us in higher ed."