Spotlight on Strategy with Mr. Steven A. Weiner

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 Steven A. Weiner.

Steven A. Weiner serves as President of Menlo College. He co-wrote The Value of Creating a Data Strategy (Chapter 1) with Kristina which focuses on why colleges and universities should care about creating a data strategy and the advantages of having one. In the chapter, they note that data available to higher education leadership has exploded in recent years, but that the varied approaches to viewing the data can be frustrating.

Key Chapter Takeaways

It’s often a challenge for college leaders to focus on strategic issues when so many day-to-day circumstances take precedent, such as finances, enrollment, trustees, and neighborhood relations. In writing the chapter, Steven enjoyed the opportunity to elevate data strategy as the critical issue to compete for leadership’s attention. He believes the primary message of his chapter and the book is the benefit to any institution of developing an overarching (i.e., cross-departmental) data strategy.

Mr. Steven A. Weiner On the Process of Writing

Steven knows finding a good writing partner isn’t easy, but counts himself extraordinarily fortunate to have found one in Kristina. He believes the best starting point is a well-conceived, well-crafted first draft. Steven wishes he had more time to devote to writing, noting:

“Writing is an opportunity to both coalesce my thinking as well as an opportunity to share it more broadly (and definitely more sustainably) than is possible with the spoken word.”


An Excerpt from Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities:


Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Data Strategy in Colleges and Universities: What is a data strategy anyway? And why would anyone want one? Colleges and universities already invest significantly in both data (dedicated staff, information technology systems, etc.) and strategy (planning, budgeting, etc.). Isn’t there enough emphasis on data and strategy? What more can be done in this space? There are plenty of books and articles devoted to either data or strategy, but oddly enough, this is the first to address the two combined—data strategy—in the context of higher education.

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.

If you are engaged in writing, do you find it helpful to work with a partner? In your opinion, what characteristics does a good writing partner possess? 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.