Principles for Responsible Use of Student Data for Academic Support and Student Success Analysis

UC Santa Cruz has a tradition of educational innovation founded on principles of equity and excellence and is committed to creating an environment where all students, who reflect the full diversity of California, can succeed. The Division of Student Success provides campus-wide coordination and leadership for student success programs and activities across departments, divisions, the colleges, and administrative units to help all students graduate, graduate in good time, and thrive academically.

The Slug Success system is a new technological innovation being implemented at UC Santa Cruz, under the auspices of the Student Success Evaluation and Research Center (SSERC) in the Division of Student Success, that provides many tools for targeting academic support services and improving educational practice and policy, including predictive and descriptive data analytics, data dashboards and reporting, case management, targeted outreach, student services appointment centers, electronic advising notes, and tutoring coordination.

These innovative tools are intended to support the campus commitments to equity and excellence and promote student success. These principles are meant to help guide our campus use of Slug Success in an ethical and responsible way aimed at supporting academic progress and nurturing the hopes and dreams of our diverse student body.

1 ­­ Open futures.  The Slug Success system should enable opportunity, not foreclose it. Slug Success must be used in ways that enable students to demonstrate aptitude, capacity, and achievement beyond their own or others’ prior accomplishments. Students should not be wholly defined by their visible data or our interpretations of these data. Slug Success users must be trained on how to understand the data presented in the system and to intervene appropriately. Trainings must explicitly address ways to counter implicit bias and the limitations of data to ensure open futures for all students. The campus community must engage in continuous consideration of how the system equitably enables and encourages academic progress.

2  Transparency.  Open, timely, and accurate communication and information about the Slug Success system must be readily available to UC Santa Cruz stakeholders, including (but not limited to) what kinds of data are collected and how they’re used, who has access to which data, and best practices, guidelines, and campus policies.

3  Rigorous methods.  Analysis, interpretation, or manipulation of student data (including predictive modeling) within/from the Slug Success system must be methodologically sound, based on accurate and comprehensive data, and free from bias. Predictive models must be rigorously tested for bias and accuracy.1

4  Data security & privacy.  Data stewards, on behalf of data owners, will insure data used in the Slug Success system are secure and protected in alignment with all federal, state, and university policies and regulations.2

1 "It is crucial to address bias in predictive models, ensure the statistical significance of predictions beyond race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and forbid the use of algorithms that produce discriminatory results. An algorithm should never be designed to pigeonhole any one group” (Ekowo & Palmer, 2017, p. 10).

2 See also: and