Think, Know, Prove–Data Requests

This week, a few members of faculty council had our first meeting with people from administration to talk through some issues we’ve been wondering about related to Student Services, Advising, Registration, and more. In the course of a conversation with Dean Bob Brown, I kept coming back to the thought, even as I was asking questions, that I really wish I had a way to more easily access a lot of information about our students.

For example, I’d like to be able to run a search in Peoplesoft for all currently enrolled students who have completed three or more philosophy classes. Then, I’d like to find those students and talk to them about classes. It seems like a simple thing that PeopleSoft (the panacea of all problems, as it was once touted) ought to be able to provide.

Instead, I would have to submit a request to Keenan, who would forward it to district, who would process it, run the report send it to Keenan who would send it to me and I’d get it, likely, sometime in July.


Talking to Bob Brown, I think we (Amanda, Chris Sabino and I–and Bob, too) all became conscious of how little information we get about our students successes–where they go, how many transfer, how they do when they get there, plus, for those who remain–how many graduate, how many are retained (across the college, in our departments, in our classes, even) and whether the changes we make are making any difference.

So, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s Think, Know, Prove to the question of what data would you seek out if the capacity to search PeopleSoft (or district records) were in your hands (or only one step removed)? What would you like to sift PeopleSoft (or other databases) to find?

When it comes to data, what do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?