The Data Stewards Academy: Reflections from our Eastern Hemisphere Expert Cohort
Posted on 26th of August 2022 by Stefaan Verhulst, Sampriti Saxena
Since its launch in 2020, the Data Stewards Academy has hosted three expert cohorts from around the world as a part of their executive education course: Developing a Data Reuse Strategy for Solving Public Problems. An initiative by The GovLab’s Open Data Policy Lab, in partnership with Microsoft, the course helps data stewards from the public, private and third sector develop a data re-use strategy to solve public problems. Our most recent cohort was aimed at data innovators from the Eastern Hemisphere.
From April to June 2022, we welcomed twenty data leaders spread across fourteen countries, from New Zealand to Cameroon. Over eight weeks, the group learned about new strategies for re-using data to solve public problems. The cohort featured leaders in national and subnational government agencies, private sector data innovators, and senior practitioners and advocates from the civil sector.
Looking back on their time in the course, participants in the Eastern Hemisphere cohort highlighted the applicability of the lessons in their different contexts, the strong sense of community they built, and the impact the course has already had on their work. Below, we share a selection of their reflections and takeaways:
“As the saying goes, ‘In a world befogged by superficiality, moments of clarity are few and far between.’ The executive data stewardship course by GovLab offers that rare and special light bulb moment. The organization of the course was excellent and choice of facilitators exceptional. In just a few weeks, we gained knowledge and practical skills and a deeper meaning and understanding of what data stewardship is and learnt how as leaders we can develop data re-use strategies to solve public problems. I am happy to have been part of the amazing first eastern hemisphere cohort.”
- Eva Muluve, Research Fellow, Population Council - Kenya
“The Data Stewards Academy experience has been extremely relevant and valuable to work I am doing. Learning from how others have tackled similar challenges that I am wrestling with has been both enlightening and reassuring - I'm not alone! The course has helped me grasp a better understanding of different approaches to data governance and emerging concepts in data stewardship and how these are applied in different organizational, social and cultural contexts.”
- Sioeli Tonga, Program Manager, Pacific Community (SPC)
“Highly recommended course for people working on data science and large scale data led projects that have large scale impacts and complex collaborations.”
- Dr. Shyam Sundaram, Community Data Scientist
“Data stewardship is a critically important role for the future use of data for public benefit. The program is world class and provides learnings from the global leaders in the field.”
- Kristi Mansfield, CEO & Co-founder, Seer Data & Analytics
“This has been a most enriching experience! I have gained relevant knowledge, skills, and tools on the third wave of open data. The people and classmates that you will encounter is top-notch which could greatly enhance your network and community.”
- Anonymous Cohort #3 Alum
Now that the third cohort has come to a close, our participants have joined the growing Data Stewards Academy Alumni Network, a forum where data stewards can share knowledge and explore collaboration opportunities beyond the initial eight-week program. We are excited to continue to work with data stewards around the world in our future cohorts.
You can learn more about the course by visiting our course site. We have also adapted the executive education course into an openly accessible self-directed learning program available here. To receive updates on future Data Stewards Academy course offerings, please subscribe to The GovLab’s weekly Data Stewards Newsletter here.
Cover image by Sincerely Media/Unsplash is licensed under CC0