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Powered by Public’s (PxP) Cluster 13, the Data Integration Cluster, developed a Data Maturity Index (DMI) to assess institutions’ data culture and readiness for strategic data use by identifying both strengths and areas in need of improvement.

Data Maturity Definition

The DMI is an assessment tool for users to evaluate their institution’s data capacity and support a learning community for improving the use of data across campus. The DMI defines Data Maturity as:

“The ability of an institution to improve the organizational, procedural, and technical levels of its data ecosystem to leverage institutional data to produce insights that inform strategic initiatives that meet institutional goals and support student success.”[1]

The DMI assesses stakeholder perceptions of institutional data capacity on 31 items across a number of dimensions, including data governance, collection, quality, dissemination, analysis, culture, and evaluation.

DMI Implementation

Cluster 13 members distributed the DMI to stakeholders at their institutions, and Cluster 14 teams that participated in the Data Literacy Institute (DLI) also took the assessment. The five institutions participating in Cohort 1 of the DLI completed the DMI both before and after participation, and 5 institutions in Cohort 2 took the DMI before participating. Taken together, a total of 200 individuals have completed the DMI.

DMI Findings

Strengths. Across all respondents from 15 institutions, the highest rated item was about the extent to which the institution has identified key stakeholders who will transform the data culture. This item, within the Data Governance topic, received an average of 4.1 out of 5.

Areas of Need. Specific areas of need that emerged based on relatively low average scores include:

  1. A central repository for data storage;
  2. Staff data training; and
  3. Access to reports from a central platform for individual departments.

The two questions about overall data maturity were among the lowest scores, pointing to a need for initiatives such as DLI to improve data usage across institutions. These scores could be indicative of all the different aspects of data maturity – governance, collection, analysis, etc. – being considered together, and reflective of overall data culture.

Pre/Post-DLI 1 Findings

With the first Cohort of DLI institutions, the DMI had the opportunity to track progress on data maturity indicators before and after participation, reflecting increased knowledge and awareness from the program. Of the 91 Cohort 1 participants who responded to the DMI before participating, 37 responded to the post-survey. Across the 29 topic-specific items on the DMI questionnaire (excluding overall questions), participants indicated an average of a one-point increase on a scale of one to five, from 2.7 to 3.9.

Future DMI Use

Cohort 1 institutions are planning to build their own data literacy programs, which may include the use of DMI. The DMI results will inform action plans to build on strengths identified and address the primary areas of need.

The DMI is available to all institutions in the PxP network and APLU will offer support for any institution wanting to implement the DMI on their campus. Please reach out to or to learn more.

Cluster 13 Institutions

  • George Mason University
  • Ohio University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of New Hampshire

Cluster 14 – DLI Cohort 1

  • Kent State University
  • Montclair University
  • Oakland University
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Wright State University

Cluster 14 – DLI Cohort 2

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Miami University - Ohio
  • Tennessee State University
  • University of Maine

[1] Powered by Publics. The Data Maturity Index. November 2021. Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Tags: DMI, data, Data Maturity Index

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