The Evolution of Institutional Research

As I attended NC/SCAIR this year, I was impressed by the breadth of skills and talents that an IR professional must have. Now, more than ever, Institutional Research and Effectiveness offices are required to not only help stakeholders across campus understand and use data for strategic decision-making but, as a result of COVID, need to be able to pivot even more quickly than usual to address new questions and provide new analyses.

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Financial Sustainability and Planning: Status Quo is no Longer an Option

In this new era of Covid-19, institutions are scrambling to meet students’ unique needs while also remaining functioning and delivering high quality education. They are facing many unparalleled challenges such as declining or flat revenues and increased expenses to new competition from other attractive learning alternatives. It is now more important than ever to properly plan and budget to account for this new landscape. Status quo is no longer an option.

One way colleges and universities can strive to maintain financial sustainability and longevity is by having a long term strategic financial plan. Now, more than ever, effective and efficient budgeting and planning is at the forefront of sustainability. Having the right plan will set the course for success.

There are several budgeting methodologies available to help achieve a strong plan.

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SAIR 2020: How Institutions Are “Plotting the Course in the Future” in Light of the Current Challenges

The SAIR 2020 Virtual Conference wrapped up October 2, and HelioCampus was delighted to have had the opportunity to be a Gold Sponsor for the event. Despite being virtual, SAIR board members shared that this year posted the highest attendance numbers on record.

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The Role of Financial Analytics in COVID-19

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education is facing an uncertain path. Even with the overall economy on high alert, most experts would agree that the full impact of the pandemic has yet to be felt. Institutions are facing challenges to their business model, including declines in state funding, questionable enrollments, and uncertain endowment returns. The additional costs needed to deal with the crisis could be material.

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Data Stuck in Your LMS?

As a result of the rapid response to COVID-19 this spring,  many institutions were forced to become fully virtual almost overnight. Without an efficient means of extracting, organizing and presenting LMS data, administrators were left with complex and time-consuming incremental database queries and manual manipulation of data.

In partnership with our clients, we developed the LMS Explorer Kit to allow institutions to extract data from their Learning Management System (LMS), including instructor and student course activity, and create a series of data visualizations to help inform action and decision-making around deployment, training, course development and usage. The LMS Explorer Kit includes the code to extract data from Canvas and Blackboard Learn. A sample dashboards is below:

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Using Data to Respond to COVID-19

“Disruption” and “disruptive innovation” are common themes among higher education watchers and analysts.  The current pandemic was not the type of disruption that was predicted but certainly is causing more disruption than could have been imagined in such a short period of time. 

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Moving from Data to Action at INAIR 2020

With public gatherings across the country being cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, we were extremely fortunate to be able to attend the Indiana Association for Institutional Research (INAIR) annual conference on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was a great chance to connect with IR professionals in the Hoosier state and discuss the many ways their institutions are using data to improve the student experience.

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Effective Data Management in Higher Ed: Obstacles and Solutions

As colleges and universities increasingly turn to data to make key decisions around retention, recruitment, and spending, greater awareness is being paid to data management and governance. In the industry, “there is a real struggle to connect data sets—across institutions—in meaningful ways,” says Pennie Turgeon, VP for IT and CIO at the New York Institute of Technology and former VP of IT and CIO for Clark University. Turgeon champions a more comprehensive approach to data management. We sat down with her to learn more about institutional challenges to data management, and best practices for making it all work.

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Presidential Priorities: 5 Areas of Concern for College and University Presidents

From 1987 to 2017, tuition at public universities in the U.S. increased by a staggering 213 percent – and that’s after adjusting for inflation.1 At a time when higher education costs are rising exponentially and people are debating the ROI from a degree, there is increased pressure for college and university presidents to be multi-dimensional leaders who can lead institutions safely into the future. Today, presidents are expected to have expertise in multiple areas, including academic affairs, faculty discussions, financial management, technology, public relations, and more.

How are college and university presidents juggling these responsibilities? What are they worried about, and which areas are they prioritizing? Read on to learn what presidents are focused on — and how some forward-thinking leaders are getting ahead of the curve by leveraging the power of data analytics to ensure success for their institutions, down the road.

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