Supporting DEI in Higher Education Through Data Analytics
Over 40 percent of higher education institutions participating in an EDUCAUSE QuickPoll reported that they are in the early stages of using analytics to support diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI). Another 20 percent reported in the same poll that they were developing plans to do the same.
It is easier now than ever to understand students on a deeper level with the help of analytics derived from data. The increase in data surrounding interactions between students and the choices they make has allowed institutions to better analyze and assess student pathways. This knowledge allows institutions to uniquely enhance student success in their own way.
Using data analytics to help support DEI can be extremely beneficial for institutions, but the long road to getting it right comes with its share of challenges.
Combining Analytics Know-how with DEI Expertise
Analytic systems first and foremost can be costly and can be extremely difficult to understand when you don't have the technical knowledge to operate them. Ethical and equitable analytic systems can be even harder to establish especially since they require institutional support to be effective.
Challenges remain even after you’ve attained the new data, because you will still need people who understand the data both from a technical point of view and a DEI point of view. This can prove difficult when these elements are lacking.
When asked about pursuing analytics initiatives to advance DEI goals, over half of the respondents indicated that they need DEI expertise across the institution. Even with the data, many respondents understood they need more knowledge about what to do when the data reveals inequalities.
The Trifecta of Expertise for Supporting DEI with Data Analytics
Teams of experts are needed to cover all bases of effectively using data analytics to support DEI. There are three areas of expertise that need to be covered to understand and utilize this data.
For this trifecta, you’ll need familiarity with DEI issues and practices, content knowledge of educational principles, and technical data analytics skills.
- Technical data analytics skills to help with reading and understanding the data.
- Content knowledge of educational principles to understand the content students are learning and how they interact with one another.
- Familiarity with DEI issues and practices to help with outlining what needs to be done to support DEI at the institution.
One person will most likely not have expert knowledge in all three of these categories. That's why it is important to have a team of individuals working together to utilize this data. For example, an IT professional that has a lot of technical data analytics skills may not be well-informed about DEI issues and practices, and vice versa.
While it's important to have a team working with the data, it is even more important to have a plan to use the data.
Using Data Analytics to Support DEI Effectively
Following another institution that has effectively used data to support DEI at their institution might be nice to try but most likely won't work the same at your own institution due to differences in people, process, and culture.
Start with where you are. Each institution is at its own stage in the process and each has its own unique needs, challenges, opportunities, and resources. Every institution must create a unique process for itself.
Keeping this in mind while using data analytics to support DEI initiatives is not a one-and-done. It is important to have patience when pulling data, analyzing it, making plans based on this analysis, and following through with those plans regularly and consistently.
Overall, it will be an entirely new set of data that will need a carefully crafted team to oversee, but the benefits will help create a unique and effective way to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at your institution.
The InvokeDEI™ solution can aid in this process to use data analytics to support DEI initiatives.
With InvokeDEI™ you will be able to:
- Identify which student groups may be underserved (and to what extent).
- Learn how to prioritize and structure new, data-driven DEI initiatives.
- Incorporate socio-economic, socio-emotional, and cultural factors into your DEI equation.
- See where and how engagement patterns indicate opportunities for intervention.
- Thoughtfully identify disproportionate impacts to student communities.
- Enhance economic and educational opportunities.
This AI-enhanced dashboard cross-references demographics with hundreds of other public and private factors in seconds, unveiling previously unseen connections that inform real, measurable, and meaningful interventions.
Every student deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. InvokeDEI™ will allow you to enhance student equity access by learning about the different cohort characteristics across the institution, helping you to improve economic and educational opportunities for students.
It allows you to better understand your student communities and address disproportionate impacts, to identify interests and concerns relating to DEI, and to proactively address them through efforts focused on where they will be the most effective.