Picture of Sheri Jones

Spotlight on Strategy with Ms. Sheri Jones

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.

Head shot of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities author Sheri Jones.

Ms. Sheri Jones serves as Senior Vice President of University Services & Strategic Planning at Ashford University. She wrote Chapter 10 – Student Affairs Leaders’ Perspectives which addresses the challenges student affairs leaders must navigate as consumers of data. Eight years ago, Dr. Jones built the Office of Institutional Research at Ashford with Kristina Powers, who then served as Director of IR for the institution. In writing this chapter, Dr. Jones reflected on that work to appreciate how they approached the process. They built the office with intentionality, ensuring that research is applicable for decision making, and presented in a way that is relevant, useful, and relationship-building.  

Key Chapter Takeaways

Sheri says the most important thing to remember from her chapter is to build relationships and learn how to speak and present practically about the research that’s been done. Make an intentional shift from the results that you found to the decisions that need to be made. This will keep your reports and presentations from collecting dust on a shelf, instead prompting meaningful change for your institution.

Ms. Sheri Jones On the Process of Writing

Sheri says she was a reluctant participant at first, having never written a book chapter before. But as a result of the experience, particularly working with Kristina as an editor, she would eagerly do it again. She says,

I did enjoy the process [of writing], but it sure feels good to complete it. I love to learn, so I enjoyed that and the process of being drawn out of my head.”


An Excerpt from Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities:

Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: Students are the largest group of decision-makers at an institution of higher education. Providing leaders with tools and information to make informed decisions is critical and does not happen by accident. It occurs with a thorough understanding of an institution’s student population and collaborating with multiple departments simultaneously to support student success. This chapter offers some insights into the current challenges facing student affairs leaders as consumers of data.

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.

Have you attempted something you’ve never tried before and enjoyed it more than you expected? What made the difference for you and made it a successful experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.




The Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education (IEHE) innovates and improves higher education standards through our strategic research, publicly available resources, and partnerships with colleges and universities. We provide extensive expertise on data strategy, IPEDS, institutional research and student success to drive institutional effectiveness.