Meet Kris Dunman, QIP Program Manager
QIP Program Manager Kris Dunman earned her master’s degree in applied anthropology, which turned out to be a perfect fit for her role with QIP.
“Applied anthropology really focuses on community engagement and practical ways for helping people to work together and come to common solutions,” she said.
That is a key aspect of what the National Forum on Education Statistics (Forum) does.
Kris, who has worked for QIP since 2011 and holds Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, serves as QIP’s project director in support of the Administrative Improvement Project (ADI). ADI is a project of the National Center for Education Statistics, Institutes of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. The main focus of ADI is support for the Forum, and Kris manages the entire ADI support team.
The Forum is a voluntary group dedicated to improving the quality and promoting the use of elementary and secondary education data.
“The Forum brings together practitioners from federal, state, and local education agencies, as well as other organizations that work with education data, to develop best practice resources, address common concerns, and find solutions related to data collection, management, use, and disposal.” Kris said. “It's a collaborative group of people who get together and identify and develop best practices, and it’s important because it provides an opportunity for stakeholders at federal, state, local, and regional levels to speak to one another.”
One of the reasons Kris enjoys her job is that as a program manager, she gets to see how projects build off one another.
“I also get to lead a cross-functional team,” she said, “so I get to work with different QIP staff depending on the needs of each project. It’s especially interesting to find out who among QIP staff are experts in different areas and to be able to learn from them and use their expertise.”
Forum working groups—which include education data experts from across the country—develop best practice guides on a variety of education data topics. Kris’s team at QIP supports NCES and the Forum in forming working groups, drafting resources, responding to reviews, and disseminating resources.
Kris also manages QIP’s support for the Forum’s School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) course classification system, which education agencies use for maintaining and comparing course information, developing course catalogs, and conducting research. Kris said she appreciates the opportunity to support each annual update, which incorporates feedback from a wide network of SCED users in education agencies and national content organizations. QIP also has worked with the Forum to develop and update resources to support SCED users, such as a series of SCED videos, available at https://nces.ed.gov/forum/sced.asp.
Kris uses her PMP training to help ensure that each project she is responsible for has the support it needs. This involves ongoing communication—with the client; with QIP staff who support each individual working group, committee, or other project group; and with subcontractors. The team meets weekly, and there frequently are additional, smaller meetings to work on different projects. As a virtual team, this often involves using software to share projects and work collaboratively.
Kris said a crucial aspect to supporting each project is ensuring that staff have uninterrupted time to do “deep” work. “Many staff who work on Forum projects need time to focus on writing, conducting interviews, or other tasks that require concentration,” she said. “I try to ensure that meetings are concise, that I am respectful of team members’ time, and that I am aware of different members’ workloads.”
Kris said she appreciates QIP’s high standards and she is proud of the work she’s done. “I feel like I’m contributing to worthwhile projects,” she said.
Before joining QIP, Kris worked as a program specialist and research associate on projects related to improving adolescent health and education outcomes. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology/sociology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and her Master of Arts from the University of South Florida.
In her free time, Kris enjoys kayaking on the Susquehanna River.