I recently attended the 28th Annual Ithaca College EdTech Day with HelioCampus Director of Implementation Services, Susie Chang. Ithaca College made its campus available to over 60 vendors and 200 attendees, ranging from regional vo-tech schools, local high schools and regional community colleges, as well as many of New York’s public and private colleges and universities.
It was a fantastic opportunity for educators, students, and technologists alike to learn about recent advancements in technology supported education. There were over 40 breakout sessions ranging from assistive technology for higher education, to new ways of improving online learning experiences. (There was even a demonstration on self-driving cars… yes - they had a self-driving car at the conference!)
HelioCampus was honored to have the opportunity to partner with Ithaca College Chief Analytics Officer, Dr. Yuko Mulugetta, to co-present a session entitled “Rethinking Analytics at a Higher Education Institution”. Dr. Mulugetta and HelioCampus’ own, Susie Chang, took the audience down a very common path of data struggles for many institutions. Many colleges and universities find themselves “data rich and information poor,” said Dr. Mulugetta. With IR teams spending in excess of 80% of their time on operational, regulatory and statutory reporting, it leaves very little time for high value strategic analysis.
The moral of the story: There is a common need across higher education for an analytics culture shift.
Many, if not all, transformational culture shifts require people to change the way they behave. In order to change the way people behave, leaders must first change the way people think. For the Ithaca College IR team, it began with a thought shift away from their historical role as a reporting function and migrating toward Dr. Mulugetta’s idea of a “House of AIR” (Analytics and Institutional Research.)
So, how do you build the Ithaca “House of AIR”?
Step 1: Build a solid foundation to the “house” through a sound data governance structure
Step 2: Advance beyond reporting toward high value analytics. This ultimately promotes an understanding of factors affecting everything from recruitment & admissions, to persistence, retention and even graduation.
Step 3: Create a “Data Informed Culture.” On February 21, Ithaca College held their inaugural “IC Data Day” which celebrates and promotes a culture of data-informed decision making for student success.
Ithaca partnered with HelioCampus to implement their institution-wide analytics solution for a number of reasons including:
- Our fully extensible platform and use of best of breed cloud technologies;
- Our higher education expertise. We come from higher education so understand that a cookie cutter approach doesn’t work within higher ed; flexibility is paramount.
From my standpoint, I was very impressed with the openness and willingness of the session attendees to speak candidly about their own analytics challenges. In the end, the consensus was that given the internal and external pressures being placed on higher education institutions today, analytics is going to continue to play a major role in helping institutions operate more efficiently and effectively.