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Making better decisions with data

by Anthea Ayebaze | Sep 28, 2016

One of our strategic initiatives is to “develop a culture focused on institutional effectiveness” and one of the ways we will do that is to enhance use of information and decision-making. What does this mean for us on a day-to-day, operational basis?

An example is the way that we have begun to evaluate positions that are open because of retirement or resignation. Rather than reflexively fill the position, cabinet is now asking faculty and staff in those areas to present a business case explaining the need for the position. By “business case,” we mean an explanation of how the position advances our strategic priorities. In most cases, the decisions are fairly straightforward, but in others, the information that we receive helps us decide whether filling the position is the best use of limited resources. All of this is intended to help us meet our fifth strategic priority which is “deploying our resources well.”

We have been applying the same approach to decisions about new programs and will use it to evaluate the effectiveness of recruiting and retention efforts, among others.

This approach will help us contain our costs and keep Manchester affordable for students. It will help us draw new resources to fund new initiatives and capital projects. Over time, the result of using data to inform decisions will be a better alignment of our resources with our goals.