“I feel that leadership is service, and I am being a good leader when I am focusing on how I can serve our students, college and my staff,” said Dr. Sadya Khan. Her commitment to this ideal led to her being named this year’s recipient of the Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award.

Khan assumed her position after a short stint as the department’s assistant director, and in the seven years since she joined the college, she has been a driving force behind several important initiatives. Her general responsibilities include overseeing institutional research functions such as state and federal reporting; providing data, tools and training for the college; conducting surveys; producing benchmarking reports; and overseeing the Institutional Review Board.

In addition, the planning aspect of her job requires her to take a lead role in institutional and strategic planning, as well as departmental planning. One of her nominators stated, “She supports the college at the highest strategic levels. These often occur where most employees rarely get to see the outcomes of her leadership but are vital to the health, effectiveness and compliance of the institution.”

Although much of Khan’s work revolves around facts and statistics, she works hard to translate that data into information people can apply in their daily work. “To have the ability to provide real insights to people, things they may not have realized about their particular area, and the ability to give them access to the information and help them understand it, I think is a real service we provide,” she said.

Her nominator noted that, “It is not typical for someone to be able to sift through complex data and then communicate it in clear and compelling ways. Sadya has that unique combination of skill sets.”

Khan’s dedication to making useful information readily available was realized in the creation of the data dashboards her department introduced in 2016. “Ever since I started, it was a dream of mine to make data accessible to people without needing to go through a process to request it from us,” she explained. “And it wasn’t my doing. I provided the leadership, but it was the hard work of my team. Having the dashboards gives people the ability to get things customized to their needs. Whether they’re faculty or staff, they can get data they need with a couple of clicks of a button.”

A project Khan is most proud of is the Retention Academy, which she helped develop with the Completion Commitment Committee. This program allowed faculty and staff to participate in a year-long professional development experience learning to use data to address issues related to retention. “It was nice because they completed a research project, so they could say they did research, conducted a pilot and had findings to present. All of the retention scholars were proud of the work they did, and it informed best practices at the college that continue to this day in classrooms and other departments,” Khan said.

One of her nominators added, “An additional benefit of the Retention Academy is that the initiative trained a new group of leaders who have since increased their leadership roles across the college.”

Working with so many different people on campus is one of the aspects Khan finds most satisfying in her job. She does this on the Completion Commitment, Data Usage and Strategic Priority Indicators committees she co-chaired this year, as well as in her daily duties. “I love to collaborate and innovate, think of ideas, different ways of doing things and how they can benefit our students and employees,” she said.

And, as one of her nominators pointed out, “After anything is done, Sadya asks, ‘Did it benefit our students?’ When the evidence supports the effectiveness of a project, she is the first to begin thinking about how to expand it and how to make it even better.”

Khan was surprised and humbled to learn she was the recipient of this award. “I am grateful to my nominators, colleagues, supervisor and team – everybody who is a part of my work at Moraine Valley and makes it such a wonderful place,” she said.