Empowering Faculty with Data: Strategies for Making Data Accessible and Usable in Day-to-Day Roles


Data has become the lifeblood of modern organizations, including educational institutions. While administrative bodies have long been familiar with data analytics to shape institutional strategies, faculty members stand to gain immensely from these resources as well. Empowering faculty with data can lead to improved teaching methods, more effective student engagement, and ultimately, better academic outcomes. In this post, we will delve into strategies to make data both accessible and usable for faculty in their day-to-day roles.

Establish a Culture of Data Literacy

Open Forums: This spring, we will kick off a series of data literacy and data-sharing open sessions, specifically designed to foster data-driven discussions among faculty and staff. Hosted by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, these sessions will focus on conducting a comprehensive needs analysis to identify the most pressing data concerns and questions within the academic community. Leveraging our office’s capabilities in data analytics, we aim to empower faculty with the tools and knowledge they need to make data-informed decisions. The ultimate goal is to create a culture of data literacy across campus, where data becomes a shared language and a transformative asset for educational excellence.

Implement User-Friendly Data Dashboards

Simple and Customizable Dashboards: We are beginning our shift from traditional tabular, paginated reports that function primarily as lists to introducing robust and customizable dashboards. This transformation allows for a more interactive and dynamic way to visualize data, making it easier for faculty and staff to drill down into specific metrics and trends. Gone are the days of sifting through pages of numbers; with these new dashboards, users will be able to tailor the information display to their individual needs, facilitating quicker, more informed decisions. This move not only modernizes our data presentation but also empowers the campus community to engage with data in a more meaningful and effective manner.

Data Governance

Accessibility and Control: Recognizing the crucial role of data governance in the effective use of institutional data, we are thrilled to begin a partnership with an external expert in the field to expedite the formalization of our data governance framework. This collaboration will focus on establishing guidelines for data accessibility, creating a comprehensive data catalog, and defining critical data terms. By bringing in external expertise, we aim to quickly lay down a robust foundation that ensures high-quality, accessible, and well-defined data. This initiative will not only streamline how we handle data but also create a standardized, transparent system that enhances data-driven decision-making across the institution.

Real-Time Data Availability

Automated Data Collection and Alerts: In line with the commitment to empower faculty through data, my office will continue to supply real-time data analytics for informed decision-making (ie, our home-grown BERT systems and other real-time reporting engines such as PowerBI and others). We have already set the wheels in motion by implementing daily alerts aimed at data validation, ensuring the quality and accuracy of the information faculty receive. Building on this, we plan to expand our alert system to cover a wider range of metrics and indicators. Coupled with automated data, curation and collection processes, these steps aim to provide faculty with a dynamic, reliable data ecosystem. This ongoing initiative reaffirms the dedication to fostering a culture where good data serves as the backbone for academic excellence and informed strategy.

Feedback Loops

Faculty Input and Iterative Improvements: Central to a data empowerment initiative is the concept of feedback loops involving active faculty input and iterative improvements. We highly value faculty opinions on the utility and functionality of our data tools and analytics platforms. Through regular surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one consultations, we will actively gather feedback to assess the real-world impact and shortcomings of our data services. This invaluable input will then be used to make ongoing adjustments to our dashboards, metrics, and programs. The aim is to tailor our data to better suit the specific needs and preferences of our academic community. By adopting this iterative approach, we create a dynamic and responsive data environment that continuously evolves to serve our faculty better.

Future Directions

Advanced Analytics and Interdepartmental Collaboration: As faculty grow more adept at utilizing metrics, we plan to take our data empowerment initiatives to the next level by introducing advanced analytical tools, including predictive analytics. These tools will offer deeper insights and facilitate more strategic decision-making in areas like student engagement, course design, and academic outcomes. We will also be fostering interdepartmental collaboration through data-sharing initiatives. By breaking down data silos across campus, we aim to create a more holistic view of student performance and curriculum effectiveness. This interdepartmental synergy, coupled with advanced analytics, will pave the way for a richer, more nuanced understanding of our educational landscape, enabling us to collectively improve and innovate.


The importance of empowering faculty with data cannot be overstated. Through thoughtful implementation of data governance, user-friendly tools, and a culture of data literacy, we can put faculty in the driver’s seat of their teaching and research endeavors. By doing so, we enable them to be more responsive, insightful, and effective in their roles, benefiting not just themselves but the entire educational community.

By taking these steps, we are not just making data accessible but we are making it a transformative tool for academic excellence.

To excellence in education through data!

Brian M. Morgan
Chief Data Officer, Marshall University

Recent Releases