Managing a Large Project with ‘Grace and Fortitude’

September 16, 2013

in At Work With Statisticians

By Roseanne Sovka and Jan O’Brien

Marti Lea Thib and Jim Martell of British Columbia Stats are the leaders of a small team that manages a large survey project called the BC Student Outcomes project. Thousands of students are surveyed each year about their education, further studies and employment outcomes. The reports are available to the public on the BC Stats website.

The BC Student Outcomes Research Forum oversees the surveys—from data collection to the reporting of survey results, for bachelor degree, diploma, associate degree, certificate, apprenticeship and developmental students. The data are used extensively by the provincial government and the post-secondary institutions for accountability to taxpayers and for program quality review.

The project, celebrating its 25th year, is managed by BC Stats but is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Advanced Education, participating post-secondary institutions, and a number of system-wide organizations, including the Senior Academic Administrators’ Forum, the Senior Educational Services Administrators’ Forum, and the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer.

Marti Lea and Jim work in concert to keep all of the contributors in tune and in time with the score! It is a stressful job, but they both handle it with grace and fortitude.

Sovka is coordinator of performance measurement and research at the British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, and O’Brien is manager of institutional research at Okanagan College. They are co-chairs of the BC Student Outcomes Research Forum.