Armed with information, our clients do great things. They develop wise strategic plans; they advise students toward opportunity and success; and, when tough decisions need to be made, they make smart choices, supported by data.
Community College Week recently published an article, showcasing Fayetteville Technical Community College’s use of data to inform decisions of all types across its campuses: from admissions to career counseling to grant writing, and more. It highlighted how the college’s partnership with EMSI gains them quick access to quality data, making it easier to make informed choices.
“This is good data to have, especially when you are doing strategic planning,” said Larry Keen, president of Fayetteville Tech. “There’s no more gut feeling or shooting from the hip. It’s enhanced our ability to make wise decisions.”
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“We are facing the same tough decisions, but now we have data to back up those tough decisions,” said Carl Mitchell, the college’s vice-president of human resources, workforce development and institutional effectiveness.
The college formerly relied on tools familiar to community college administrators, including surveys of local students and graduates, state surveys, federal data such as IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems), retention analyses and graduation rates.
But those tools can be unreliable due to volatile economic conditions, incomplete or conflicting data from government sources or incomplete data sets.
[EMSI’s Analyst] draws on 90 sources of independent data simultaneously. With just a few clicks of a computer mouse, users can access historic economic and occupational data, regional and state data and anticipated projections. EMSI’s Career Coach tool puts data in the hands of students and parents, Keen said.
Data was also central to the college’s redesign of its auto collision and repair program. The college found that its traditional auto body program, focused on refinishing, was not cutting it. Today’s cars contain sophisticated technologies and exotic materials and auto body technicians must grasp those and more. The new program offers nine different certifications designed to train auto collision specialists to work with new technologies in car design.
“The data has helped us do our job,” Keen said. “We really have a grand opportunity if we take advantage of it.”
If you’d like to learn more about Fayetteville Tech’s data-driven approach, read this series of case studies:
- In part one, we share how Fayetteville Tech used an Economic Impact Study and Career Coach to prove its value as an institution and the value of its individual degree programs to government officials, students, parents, and the community at large.
- In part two, we explain how FTCC has implemented Analyst to answer pivotal questions throughout the institution (including academic program reviews and strategic planning) and has used both Analyst and the Gap Analysis Report to optimize its resources for the specific needs of its region.
- And in part three, we’ll see how FTCC’s use of data has given it an off-campus impact, and learn about their plans for the future.
For more on FTCC’s economic impact study, see this landing page the college created that includes report links and a press conference featuring Keen.