Data, Departments, and Directing: Let's meet David Schaefer

David Schaefer headshotby Elizabeth Parsons, IT Services

When it comes to data and how Miami uses it, no one is better suited to telling its story than David Schaefer.

David is the director of the business intelligence team here in IT Services, which means that he is the guy you go to when you need data-focused resources and projects.

“I like to think of myself as a ‘data champion’ for the University,” he said, “meaning that I want to provide data to departments at the university to help them be successful in meeting their goals. If I do that, the university will be successful.”

He ensures his team has what they need – like answers to project questions or training – and makes sure they are in sync with the University’s goals so that they can be ready to provide assistance for future projects, as well. “Higher education is changing and technology around data analytics is changing, so we need to be ready to provide the right data and tools,” he said.

David and Data Governance

One of David’s new responsibilities is beginning an effort to grow the “data governance” practices at Miami.

“I’ve been diving deeper into it since I began in my role last year,” he said. “The idea is to bring people together to better coordinate the university’s data. There are many aspects to data, so it’s exciting to bring a diverse group of representatives together to talk about the data sources we have, are they properly secured, who should have access, do we have a shared definition, what training for staff is needed, and so on.”

Be on the lookout for more about data governance! As David learns more and positions himself as a subject-matter expert in the area, he has a lot of ideas about governance and plans for the future of data at Miami.

Miami Merger with a love for travel

David has a robust academic background that includes two degrees from the Farmer School of Business (bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s of business administration in management), along with an associate’s degree in computer science from Franklin University. He’s always been interested in programming, and had a job as a programmer at Columbia Gas after graduating from Franklin. But how did he wind up back at Mother Miami?

“My wife happened to see an ‘Applications Analyst’ opening in IT Services at Miami in the Columbus Dispatch,” he remembered. “As a Miami Merger, we thought it would be fun to come back to the university, so I applied and the rest is history.”

David Schaefer is shown with Grant Summers (left image) and his son RJ (right image) in Italy and Iceland, respectively

For fun, David loves to travel and spend time outdoors, hiking and taking in the countryside! In 2019 he went to Italy with his friend Grant Summers (Miami, 1992), and this past May, he traveled to Iceland with his son, RJ, a 2021 Miami graduate. His claim to fame, though?

“For those old enough to remember the TV series Cheers, I met Norm (George Wendt) in Oxford during my undergraduate years. He was campaigning for his brother-in-law who was running for local office. Norm is a short guy.”

In all seriousness, IT Services is lucky to have David around. His calm demeanor, positive attitude, and careful thoughts are all boons to the department. Thanks for all your hard work, David!