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IES Grant

Title: The Strategic Data Project for Higher Education
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Kane, Thomas Awardee: Harvard University
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 11 months (5/1/19 –3/31/20) Award Amount: $199,277
Type: Training Award Number: R305U190001

Co-Principal Investigators: Fullerton, Jon; Whitfield, Cristina

The research team for the Strategic Data Project (SDP) at Harvard University will examine whether its approach of recruiting, training, and placing data analysts in LEAs and SEAs can be extended to the postsecondary level in order to help postsecondary institutions improve completion rates (especially for disadvantaged students) and incorporate workforce outcomes into program planning and evaluation. Under this project, the SDP will develop

  • a recruitment and selection model for higher education data fellows;
  • a curriculum framework and resources to prepare the fellows; and
  • a plan for developing the program including funding sources and scaling strategies.

This work will be carried in four Phases.

  • In Phase 1, the team will carry out a needs analysis for postsecondary institutions.
  • During Phase 2, the research team will develop overview of the new Strategic Data Project-Higher Education (SDP-HE) and obtain stakeholder comment on it.
  • In Phase 3, the researchers will then create a model of the SDP-HE program and identify funding sources to develop and implement it.
  • During Phase 4, they will prepare to launch a pilot study of the SDP-HE program by creating a fellow selection model and curricular framework.

The project will produce a white paper that summarizes the data and analyses needs of and challenges faced by postsecondary institutions. At the conclusion of the project, the research team will have identified the components of the SDP-HE program including a selection model for fellows and the tools to carry it out and a curriculum framework as well as a placement strategy for fellows. In addition, they will identify at least 10 postsecondary institutions or systems interested in taking part in the pilot cohort of fellows, a business model to make SDP-HE sustainable, and potential sources of funding for the pilot study.