AUSTIN, TX, September 4, 2018 — Unizin, a higher education membership-based consortium, announces the release of the Unizin Data Platform (UDP) as well as the formation of Security and Privacy Taskforces. Unizin’s 25 member institutions serve over 915,000 students.
The UDP is a foundation for data products and services that support learning analytics, application development, research, and business intelligence. It collects and standardizes data from a variety of sources, simplifying data management and saving member institutions time and effort.
“The UDP is higher education’s most comprehensive, multi-institutional effort to own and integrate our data to improve our educational mission,” said Brad Wheeler, Unizin Co-Founder and Board Member, and Indiana University’s Vice President for Information Technology and CIO. “No other entity will be able to offer our faculty researchers the ability to learn as much about the process of learning, student progress, and student success.”
Today, Unizin announces that five institutions are implementing the UDP. Three founding members are collecting data from their Student Information System (SIS) and Instructure Canvas, their Learning Management System. As part of the phase one roll out of the UDP, these institutions will leverage holistic data about their learners in academic contexts and then take actionable steps to increase student success. Unizin is also working with its partners, such as Turnitin and Top Hat, to integrate Unizin member data with the UDP. Additionally, several Unizin members are integrating data from their teaching and learning tools to the UDP. As the UDP rolls out to all Unizin member institutions, the consortium will operate the largest, richest, and broadest collection of anonymized learner data in higher education. In the future, the research conducted through members’ collaboration will benefit the entire field of higher education. “UDP is foundational to our mission at Unizin. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to changing the higher education landscape, creating a laboratory for the improvement and advancement of teaching and learning,” said Michael Hofherr, Unizin Board Chair, and Vice President and CIO at The Ohio State University.
Since its inception, Unizin has taken steps to become an industry leader in the privacy and security space, laying the groundwork for institutions of higher education to implement standard, consistent policies and to have forward thinking security controls. In recognizing the magnitude of data available in the UDP and implications for security and privacy, Unizin announces the recent appointment of Stephan Nicklow as Assurance Officer. In this role, Nicklow oversees all security and privacy measures for the UDP and other Unizin initiatives. Since his appointment in May, Nicklow has formed a Unizin-member based Security Taskforce comprised of University Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and a Privacy Taskforce. These taskforces guide Unizin in data and privacy security measures.
Rob Lowden, Unizin Interim Executive Director and Board Member states, “With an absolute focus on security, privacy and the associated policies that govern proper administration and controls, Unizin’s Assurance Officer (AO) and membership taskforces for security and privacy have ensured that the greatest measures and preparation have been taken to protect data and privacy. With the strong foundational work from the Unizin AO and the Chief Information Security Officers (CISO’s) as well as the Chief Policy Officers on the Policy Taskforce, Unizin members are set-up for success and assurance of the curation of their most valuable data assets enabling them to have confidence in their ongoing efforts.”
Prior to Unizin, Nicklow served as a compliance Consultant at Ernst & Young and, prior to that, a Quality Assurance Specialist at General Motors. Nicklow holds an MS in Computer Information Systems and a BS in Business Management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
To further support Unizin’s suite of technology and data products, Etienne Pelaprat was promoted to Chief Technology Officer in July 2018. Prior to this promotion, Pelaprat served as Unizin’s Director of Product Management. Pelaprat joined Unizin in 2015. Previously, he served as product manager at Courseload. Pelaprat holds a Ph.D. in Communication from University of California at San Diego.
Unizin’s mission is to improve the learner experience with digital teaching and learning resources. Unizin is membership-based and governed by its Founding Member institutions as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). It is currently composed of 25 institutions and 915,000+ learners, making it one of the largest educational organizations in the country.