Thunderbird Data Scholars

The Thunderbird Data Scholars (TDS) Program is a micro-credential program offered by the MCC Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE). OIE is piloting the first level of the credential in AY2021-22 as part of the dissertation project of OIE Associate Vice President, Dennis Mitchell. Registration for the Fall 2021 pilot program has ended.

Thunderbird Data Scholar Credential Levels

The TDS Program will have three credentials: data apprentice, data practitioner, and data scholar.

TDS Level 1: Data Apprentice

Credential Requirements:

1. Successfully complete the Maricopa Data Foundations Course

Registration for the Fall 2021 pilot program has ended.

TDS Level 2: Data Practitioner

Credential Requirements:

1. Earn the Data Apprentice credential AND

2. Complete an applied research project AND

3. Share results at the annual TDS Conference

Note: process to complete this credential is TBD.

TDS Level 3: Data Scholar

Credential Requirements:

1. Earn the Data Practitioner credential AND

2. Demonstrate continued data use in work contexts AND

3. Mentor others in data use

Note: process to complete this credential is TBD.

Maricopa Data Foundations Course

The pilot version of the Maricopa Data Foundations Course, created in collaboration with the District Office of Institutional Effectiveness, is a six-week, self-paced online course. This pilot is being conducted as part of a dissertation research study of Dennis Mitchell, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at MCC.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand basic institutional data terms and measures.
  2. Understand the steps of a continuous, data-informed improvement process.
  3. Identify appropriate sources of data and institutional points of contact for help with data access or use.
  4. Articulate a problem or ask an acceptable data question.
  5. Understand data quality and accuracy.
  6. Understand and use data displays and representations.
  7. Assess patterns and trends in data.
  8. Understand and use institutional data related to inequitable student outcomes, including how to disaggregate data.
  9. Understand historical and social contexts of racial/ethnic-based inequities in student outcomes.
  10. Understand the differences between deficit, diversity, and equity mindsets in the approach to using data.

Course Modules

  1. Why Data? Learning the vital signs of continuous improvement.
  2. Maricopa Data Basics
  3. All my Xs (and Ys) – Understanding and Interpreting Data
  4. Becoming a dashboard wizard with trends and patterns
  5. Using data with an equity mindset
  6. Reporting data and course wrap up


For questions, please contact Dennis Mitchell -