2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Unified Data Models



2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Action Plan: Unified Data Models with illustrations of humans at workspaces and charts depicting data

Increasingly, data collection and analysis are core functions of higher education institutions. However, an EDUCAUSE QuickPoll revealed that just one in four (25%) of respondents believed the structure of data functions at their institution was ideal for their analytics needs, and only 16% of respondents indicated that their institutional data functions operate cohesively. This misalignment of strategy and resources within higher education institutions is becoming an urgent issue, with implications for data privacy and security, student recruitment and retention, and the holistic student experience.

Building on the trends, technologies, practices, and scenarios described in the 2023 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: Holistic Student Experience Edition, an expert panel was charged with envisioning the preferred future of unified data models in higher education and creating an action plan targeting that future.


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Goals for Our Future State


Asked to describe the state of unified data models that they would like to see in higher education 10 years from now, panelists collaboratively constructed their preferred future.

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Linear steps from Individuals to Units and Departments to Multi-Unit Collaboration to Multi-Institution Collaboration

Panelists generated a list of actions that individuals, units and departments, and multi-unit or multi-institutional teams can take to arrive at this preferred future in 10 years.

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Planning for the Road Ahead

Chart illustrating to describe your preferred future and then work backwards from long-term milestones and activities (easy and hard) to mid-term milestones and activities (easy and hard) in order to get to short-term milestones and activities (easy and hard).

Envisioning the future we want to see is important and exciting work, but real progress can only be made when individuals like you create change. Use the recommended activities to solidify your vision of the future and make plans to take action.

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Expert Panel

The 2024 Horizon Action Plan panel comprised nine higher education experts.

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EDUCAUSE Horizon Report is a registered trademark of EDUCAUSE.