Finding Perspective During COVID


It’s a weird world right now.  Like many in the U.S., I write this as I work from a basement bedroom in my house that was recently converted to a home office.  Like many around the world, my interactions with others are by phone calls, text messaging, and virtual meetings.  These communications have allowed me to behave like the fabled newscaster – now dressing business from the waist up and early morning casual (including the pink fuzzy slippers) from the waist down.

Today’s post is a break from the regular work of the NDUS-IR in order to share a valid and reliable resource for COVID data and modeling.  I first encountered the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) last June as I arrived on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a two-week complex systems and analytics course.  Over the course of those two weeks I was surrounded by some of the brightest adult learners from around the globe and educated by some of the most amazing minds.  One thing we studied was the modeling and data science behind social systems.  In a simple sentence, modeling and predicting events like the current coronavirus pandemic is who NECSI is.

Ahead of the curve, NECSI data scientists began proactively researching and modeling corona in January 2020.  They post their work for anyone to access at  Their work is credible, focuses on facts and data science, and brings a sense of  understanding and discernment to what we are all experiencing in our lives right now.  We all need a little bit of that.  How about taking a break from the talking media heads to spend ten minutes reading about four concepts that may help us think clearly about the coronavirus epidemic?

Once my staff and I settle into our new normal of working remote, we will return to sharing the work we have been doing.  I hope these days find everyone healthy and secure.  Remember to take care of yourself.  And don’t forget to wash your hands.


Dr. Jennifer Weber is the Director of the NDUS-IR department.  Her primary functions are to oversee the department and provide system level enrollment reporting to the State Board of Higher Education.  She also oversees system wide IR Shared Services, works closely with the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and serves as the state coordinator for federal reporting.   As the NDUS-IR is also contracted through the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) for data analysis and reporting, the department is ultimately responsible for the data of all students attending public institutions in the state of North Dakota, pre-kindergarten through graduate school.  Jennifer’s passion is educational data privacy, and her current efforts include producing guidelines and advisement for the roles and responsibilities of higher education when applying artificial intelligence/analytics to student data.