Retooling data management toward systems thinking
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RETOOLING DATA MANAGEMENT TOWARD SYSTEMS THINKING. Jim Purcell. Cliff Note Overview of Systems Thinking.

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Retooling data management toward systems thinking

RETOOLING DATA MANAGEMENT TOWARD SYSTEMS THINKING

Jim Purcell


Cliff note overview of systems thinking

Cliff Note Overview of Systems Thinking

  • A discipline called “systems thinking” treats interrelating activities of physical processes, informational systems and organizational groups as integral whole entities. Its guiding principle is called The Primacy of the Whole. The parts cannot be understood fully except from a holistic frame of reference.

  • Theorists on the organizational side include Peter Senge, whose influential 1990 book ‘The Fifth Discipline’ promotes these ideas.

  • Senge (pronounced sen-ghee)


Retooling data management toward systems thinking

Projected Population Change

2000-2025

Oklahoma will grow 20% by 2025. Growth is 18th in the nation.

Do we want this growth to be of educated citizens?


Student pipeline

Oklahoma is better than the national average in the high school graduation rate of 9th graders; however, OK lags behind the nation in the percent of students who enter, persist, and graduate from college.

Student Pipeline

Of 100 9th Graders, How Many . . .

This impacts Brain Gain Goals

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. US Census Bureau


Retooling data management toward systems thinking

Inefficiencies within the education pipeline are particularly disappointing considering the following:

OK ranks 43rd in students going directly from HS to College


Graduation rates percent of bachelor s students graduating within six years 2000

70

65.4

60

53.0

50

40

30

22.3

20

Ohio

Illinois

Utah

Idaho

Iowa

Maine

Florida

Texas

Nation

Alaska

Indiana

Hawaii

Georgia

Virginia

Arizona

Oregon

Nevada

Missouri

Kansas

Montana

Colorado

Louisiana

Michigan

Wyoming

Vermont

Alabama

California

Kentucky

Maryland

Oklahoma

Arkansas

Mississippi

Wisconsin

Nebraska

Minnesota

Delaware

New York

Tennessee

Washington

Connecticut

New Mexico

West Virginia

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

New Jersey

South Dakota

North Dakota

South Carolina

North Carolina

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Graduation Rates – Percent of Bachelor’s Students Graduating within Six Years (%) - 2000

OK ranks 46th in graduating students “on time” from college.


Projected change in employment by education and training 1998 2008

Projected Change in Employment by Education and Training, 1998-2008

Education andPercentTraining CategoryIncrease

Doctoral Degree23

Master’s Degree19

Bachelor’s Degree24

Associate Degree31

Vocational Training14

Work Experience12

On-Job Training7

All Occupations14

Source: Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor


State per capita personal income v share of adult population with bachelor s degree or higher 2003

No state with a low proportion of Bachelor’s degrees has a high per capita income.

OK03

OK00

No state with a high proportion of Bachelor’s degrees has a low per capita income.

State Per Capita Personal Income v. Share of Adult Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (2003)

$30,000

$28,000

$26,000

$24,000

Per Capita Income

$22,000

$20,000

$18,000

$16,000

15%

20%

25%

30%

35%

40%

45%

Population with Bachelor’s Degree or higher


State per capita personal income v share of adult population with bachelor s degree or higher 20031

State Per Capita Personal Income v. Share of Adult Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (2003)

DC

CT

$30,000

NJ

MA

$28,000

MD

NH

$26,000

VA

NY

DE

AK

RI

CO

MN

CA

WA

From 2000 to 2003, Oklahoma increased in the number of bachelor’s degrees for Oklahomans age 25 and older from 20.2 to 21.9 and from 47th to 42rd in the state rankings.

$24,000

IL

Per Capita Income

NV

MI

FL

HI

VT

WI

$22,000

OH

PA

WY

GA

OR

KS

TX

SC

MO

IN

ME

IA

AZ

NE

$20,000

TN

NM

KY

NC

ND

AL

SD

OK

MT

UT

AR

ID

$18,000

LA

WV

MS

$16,000

15%

20%

25%

30%

35%

40%

45%

Population with Bachelor’s Degree or higher


Progress over time

Progress over time

AMC = American Community Survey is conducted by the Census Bureau


Interstate comparison

Interstate Comparison

  • A map comparing the states can best explain our progress. Using the Jenks optimization statistical formula, states can be organized into ‘natural clusters’ that minimize the variation within the clusters.

  • The following map displays the three natural groups of states.The good news is that Oklahoma is now at the top of the bottom group. With effort, Oklahoma could surpass Iowa and find itself in the middle group.


State population with bachelor s degree or higher age 25 years and older 2003

State Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher Age 25 Years and Older, 2003

22.5

34.7

25.3

24.1

21.5

21.9

23.7

19.0

24.5


Retooling data management toward systems thinking

  • Progress has been made.

  • Oklahoma has the potential to achieve an important psychological (and statistical threshold) in the next few years.


Talk in terms of systems thinking about

Talk in terms of Systems Thinking about:

  • Planning -- Institutional Goals

  • Assessment

  • Accreditation

  • Institutional Research

  • Data Management/ Web Development


Reference

Reference

  • The online publication The School Administrator Web Edition, November 2004, describes applications of Senge’s Laws to education.

  • Senge identified certain patterns that occur again and again. He calls these reoccurring patterns:the laws of systems thinking


Today s problems come from yesterday s solutions

Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions

  • Why are educators struggling to reduce class sizes today?

    • 1900s efficiency experts convinced educators that increasing class sizes would make their schools more efficient.

    • Large classrooms built upon this assumption.

  • Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress Cataloging systems.

  • Timeliness versus Accuracy.


Today s problems come from yesterday s solutions1

Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions

  • HEGIS Codes: Not revised since 1970 –system created in mid 70’s - Not directly relate to CIP

  • Uncollected data points

    • Full names

    • Hours attempted

  • Facilities inventory report

  • Imperfect Data –

    • different institutional interpretations of definitions, not enough test of reasonability checks

  • No real deadline- Point of exhaustion


Today s problems come from yesterday s solutions2

Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions

  • Summer Reading

    • Week of Welcome discussions with faculty in three small groups meetings and with the author.

    • Assessment: Only 25% read it.

    • Redesign: Added to English Composition class. 80% read it.

  • Pause to think day

    • Mid-semester event to celebrate intellectuality.

    • Assessment: Pause to drink day

    • Redesign: No more day.


Today s problems come from yesterday s solutions3

Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions

  • Crack Children Study

    • None of your kids will fall through the crack

    • Assessment: Extensive Study – A few cracks

    • Redesign: Orientation, Freshman Experience, Early Intervention

  • Historical Context important

  • Vested Interest in Past Solutions

  • Undoing the past may be an important part of the future


The harder you push the harder the system pushes back

The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.

  • Haven't we all felt the counter-push in our job?

  • The harder you try to convince faculty that they need to improve their teaching methods. . .

    • the more they resist and the harder it is to get them to change.

      • 5 question course evaluation and they got to pick the courses to be evaluated.

  • Crimes against the humanities

  • Data that fights back

    • Many to many links

    • The one question that they want answered, we do not have the data for.

  • Expect opposing viewpoints.


  • Behavior grows better before it grows worse

    Behavior grows better before it grows worse.

    • Short-term solutions can exacerbate larger issues. When salaries are frozen, short-term financial pressure is relieved. However, staff morale begins to falter.

    • Deferred maintenance on buildings.

    • Across the board budget cuts

    • Hope Scholarship

      • Declining hours enrolled

      • Increased course withdrawals

    • It may be hard to recognize the connection between the two.

    • Unintended consequences are a part of the future.


    The easy way out usually leads back in

    The easy way out usually leads back in.

    • When we stick to what we know best and apply the familiar solutions, we find comfort.

      • “Nip it in the bud”

      • More money

    • Grade inflation

    • Low admission standard to maximize revenue

    • Keeping remediation because it is a revenue generator.

    • Croaker Sack

    • A little difficulty now saves a lot of difficulty later.


    The cure can be worse than the disease

    The cure can be worse than the disease.

    • “The familiar solution is sometimes not just ineffective, but also dangerous.”

    • Reducing summer salary.

    • ADA web regulations.

    • Eliminating educational programs to balance the budget masks the need for more money and can trigger a long-term dismantling process.

    • Program elimination at the University of Alabama.

    • Change must be based upon sound evaluation.

    • Understanding side affects is important.


    Faster is slower

    Faster is slower.

    • “Natural systems have an optimal rate of growth.”

      • It is usually much slower than we would like.

    • System conversion– Oracle, PeopleSoft, SCT

    • Policy changes are developed in an hour, but go through campus governance for years.

    • Hiring a consultant often necessary.

    • It takes time to build consensus.

    • People need time to emote, contemplate and acquiesce.


    Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space

    Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space.

    • Rising tuition may lead to fewer degrees. People may not see the connection for 6 or more years.

    • Amount of student loans may impact future quality of life.

    • Dry campuses may move the problem of underage drinking off campus.

    • Rising cost of litigations may be a factor in dry campus policies rather than the desire to protect the student.

    • A college president hated his college dorm experience and thus never supported residence halls.

    • The past impacts the future.


    Small change can produce big results but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious

    Small change can produce big results, but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious.

    • Small, well-focused actions can produce solid improvements, but only if done in the right place. This is called leverage.

    • Kitchen Cabinet - impacts attitudes of input

    • New IR /Assessment emphasis

    • Perception of presiential avialaibiltiy

    • In the absence of comm rumors fly.

    • Library location, Library access, hours, etc.

    • Pinpoint accuracy in change is better than the shotgun approach.


    You can have your cake and eat it too but not all at once

    You can have your cake and eat it too, but not all at once.

    • Sometimes dilemmas, from a systems point of view, are not dilemmas at all.

    • Once you change from a "snapshot" to a "process" mode of thinking, they appear differently.

    • Instructional Computer technology

    • It is a matter of time and small steps.


    Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants

    Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants.

    • Systems are alive, and their character depends upon the whole. To understand difficult problems or plot strategy, you will have to see the whole system that creates the issues.

    • Department split over ideology - neither alone would survive

    • Simon and Garfunkel


    Retooling data management toward systems thinking

    • Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm.But the harm does not interest them.--T.S. Eliot

    • Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do.

    • --Virginia Woolf


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