Does your School Have A Chief Data Officer Yet?



The answer to this question is probably not.

With the kind of transformational change we are seeing as a result of technology and the rise of big data, a few schools have embraced a new role, that of Chief Data Officer.

In “The Chief Data Officer in Higher Education” University of South Carolina’s CDO Michael C. Kelly, walks us through his experience beginning in 2008. Long before he assumed this new role, Kelly tells us of a growing recognition by USC’s Chief Information Officer that the role of data was changing, moving beyond matters of access and security, to a need for data administration. Still, change was slow in coming. It wasn’t until 2012 when USC’s VP of Information Technology and their CIO, “recognized their concerns meshed with an increasing executive need to support and drive decisions with data” that the dedicated leadership position of Chief Data Officer was established.

Beginning in 2014 with a focus on improving collaborative data administration Kelly set out to more clearly define the role. For assistance in define the CDO’s role he looked to the private sector for best practices and found that, “all CDO models are rooted in the belief that data is both a valuable business asset and a significant opportunity and risk. Like all valuable assets, data needs active, intentional, and coherent management, perhaps best known as data governance.”

From the establishment of data stewards to the need for establishing standards of data governance, ensuring data quality and integrity assurance, right through to providing the reporting and analytics needed to support executive decision making, Kelly offers a vision for this new and important role. By the way, Kelly tells that at the time of the publication of this article in early June 2015, “There are roughly 8 CDOs in North American colleges and universities.” 

To read this informative and engaging article featured on EDUCAUSE click here.

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