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A screenshot of UCI MAPSS data training for personnel.

The UCI Compass community of practice and UCI MAPSS data certificate help build data analytics skills among campus stakeholders.

UCI Compass

Colleges and universities are rich sources of data, collecting information on students’ academic outcomes, campus engagement, enrollment and credit load, and first destination after college, among other metrics.

To equip faculty and staff to utilize the data available to them, and in turn improve student success, the University of California, Irvine, created the MAPSS certificate program, awarding credentials to personnel who completed a digital literacy course.

The background: MAPSS, which stands for Metrics and Analytics Promoting Student Success, is part of a larger data initiative at the university, UCI COMPASS (short for Comprehensive Analytics for Student Success), which launched in 2016.

COMPASS unites data sets from across the institution to identify barriers in the student journey to success and “aspires to create a set of exemplary strategies, tools and approaches that can create a model for how colleges and universities can improve institutional performance and advance educational equity for the diverse students they increasingly serve,” says Astrud Reed, UCI COMPASS community of practice manager.

Within the UCI COMPASS suite is UCI MUST (Measuring Undergraduate Success Trajectories) Project, born in 2019, and MAPSS, started fall 2023.

How it works: MAPSS is an online certificate program, open to all faculty and staff members on campus, which teaches data literacy, analytics and tools. The program is funded by the UCI Office of Information Technology, the Student Data Warehouse initiative, the Office of Data and Information Technology and the Collaboratories at UCI.

The program is organized by three courses: foundations of data literacy; intermediate data analytics and business intelligence; and core analytics tools for business operations. Within the third course, participants are divided by their campus roles (faculty, adviser, leadership or administration) to provide more focused expertise.

The campus leaders section of track three includes material from the Merage School of Business on agility, productivity and team building in tech initiatives, for example. The faculty section talks about student data literacy training, increasing student success through data and increasing awareness of campus learning analytics tools.

One track takes between 8 to 12 hours to complete and is broken down into modules to be completed at the user’s desired pace, Reed says.

The program also provides participants with a micro badge that can be used in academic review requirements and professional development contexts.

“Each track contains materials to fulfill professional development criteria that include skill training or increased knowledge in leadership, productivity, new technology, campus tools and technology, data literacy/governance/visualization, statistics/analytics/data science, presentation, growth mindset, or communication,” Reed says.

Faculty and staff can also engage in a community of practice forum, DataGPS, which is hosted on the university’s learning management system, Canvas. DataGPS has additional training resources, a discussion board for personnel to engage with one another and connection to campus experts.

The group participates in in-person activities, such as a book club reading The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World by Michael D. Smith, which will launch this month and can be joined virtually.

The impact: MAPPS was “soft launched” to campus IT professionals, advisers and departmental leadership groups (around 800 staff and faculty members) with a full campus launch planned this spring, explains Reed (the university has around 27,000 employees).

Staff are creating a MAPSS Advisory Board to be charged with creating meaningful tracks for the various campus professionals, reviewing curriculum each quarter and updating as needed. The board will also help build MAPSS and DataGPS into campus culture.

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