Spotlight on Strategy with Dr. Erin Holmes • Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education
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Spotlight on Strategy with Dr. Erin Holmes

Spotlight on Strategy with Dr. Erin Holmes

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.

Headshot of Data Strategies in Colleges and Universities Author Dr. Erin Holmes

Dr. Erin Holmes serves as Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and wrote Chapter 5: Leveraging Existing Information from Department Plans. In the chapter, she explains how to leverage existing information to streamline the data strategy process, noting that some departments may have data strategy elements in their existing departmental plans.

Key Chapter Takeaways

According to Erin, the key takeaway is that good research practice is paramount. In writing the chapter, Erin was reminded of how applicable the research process is to a data strategy, and the value in using  data from other parts of the institution for efficiency. Other departments may have data available for your use, but if their research methodology was not sound, it will likely be of limited value.

Dr. Erin Holmes On the Process of Writing

Erin’s tip for writers in collaborative projects is to cede ownership of the work, and don’t take criticism personally. She adds:

“Writing for me is a very long process and once I recognized that, I have enjoyed the process much more.”


An Excerpt from Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities:

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Data Strategy in Colleges & Universities: This chapter will discuss ways to leverage information held throughout a college or university. While the chapter’s title emphasizes information in department plans, the term “department plans” will be used expansively to include strategic plans, program reviews and assessments, accreditation documents, and reports developed within institutional silos. First, the chapter presents a knowledge creation model adapted for a higher education setting. It then suggests places to find existing information. Next, it discusses the application of traditional research methodology to the process of leveraging existing data and what to look for in existing information, the types of data used as well as the types that cannot be used, and how to enhance existing data. Finally, the chapter addresses how to bring all the data together in a cohesive whole.

Want to read more? Preorder your copy of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: From Understanding to Implementation now (release date is November 5, 2019)! You can also read more about the chapter authors and an extended excerpt from the book.

Is writing is a long process for you? What ways have you found to make yourself more efficient/productive with your writing? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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