Kristina Powers Headshot

Spotlight on Strategy with Dr. Kristina Powers

At the IEHE, we are always excited to have the opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done by our colleagues. As part of the launch of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: From Understanding to Implementation, edited by our own Kristina Powers, we’re bringing you a series of profiles of the higher education professionals who share their knowledge and expertise in the book.KP Powers headshot

Dr. Kristina Powers serves as President of the Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education, and co-wrote Chapter 1: The Value of Creating a Data Strategy with Steven Weiner, the President of Menlo College. But her biggest contribution to the final book product was her editing expertise. Through the development of “Data Strategy,” she recognized the importance of multiple perspectives and experiences to inform and educate on the topic. She notes that if the book had just a single author, it would not have had the wide array of thoughts on a developing and important topic. 

Key Takeaway

Kristina looks at editing a book like managing a large project with multiple stakeholders throughout an entire organization — much like creating a data strategy — data people and data stakeholders permeate the institution.

“Clear communication, deadlines that set people up for success, and detailed information are essential skills that are transferable to other large and squishy projects.”

She recommends to others who lead projects that cut across multiple departments to grow and refine these skills to make the process easier for everyone.

Dr. Kristina Powers On the Process of Writing

Kristina enjoys the research and writing process and especially likes co-authoring with others. She finds that she learns a lot from working with others on a tangible project like a chapter or book. Her advice on writing is to write early and often. As for her own personal writing style, she says:

“I’m an early bird — up by 5:30 am. Some of my most productive writing is early. However, my favorite time to write is big blocks of time — like traveling on an airplane. It is amazing how much you can write on a three to four hour flight. Even if I don’t have the references to insert — writing the content really helps to expedite the next draft.”

An Excerpt from Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities:

Excerpt from Preface to Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: In an era of big data, there seems to be more data, yet fewer answers, in all industries and sectors. No group of organizations has really figured out how make the most effective and efficient use of data—yet. Additionally, employees across the board, from analysts to senior leaders, are dissatisfied with their current data access, the wait time for results, and the complexity of completing ostensibly simple reports, to name but a few areas in need of improvement. 
To this dissatisfaction with current data conditions we bring an optimism that it is possible to leverage improved tactics and new technology. To put it bluntly, there has to be a better way to manage this data chaos. While there are plenty of books and articles devoted to either data or strategy, this is the first to address the two combined—data strategy—in the context of higher education. Any group that is the first to publicly share their thoughts, ideas, and research on a topic takes pride in advancing new knowledge but acknowledges that their efforts are only the beginning and that much work remains to be done. This is true of the 20 authors across 13 colleges, universities, and organizations who contributed to this book.

Want to read more? Order your copy of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: From Understanding to Implementation now! You can also read more about the chapter authors and an extended excerpt from the book.

Do you enjoy coordinating the efforts of many people toward a common end, like an editor of a book with multiple chapter authors? What are some of your best strategies have you used to manage those kinds of processes and be efficient with communications? Tell us about it in the comments below.