Last week, I had the privilege of attending Achieving the Dream’s (ATD) Data & Analytics Summit which focused on the data needs of community colleges today, and what to expect going forward. During the conference, I represented HelioCampus, as a corporate sponsor, and in support of one of our first community colleges partners, Harford Community College. With limited expectations before the Summit, this opportunity really changed my perspective and opened my mind to the world of community colleges and the communities they serve.
The Opener – The Importance of Playing Both Offense and Defense
The CEO of ATD, Dr. Karen Stout, opened the conference with an interesting analogy describing how colleges are having to use “offense and defense” tactical plays to survive in todays market. Offense – pertaining to having a vision and making decisions for tomorrow, while still playing defense – pertaining to tackling current individual difficulties. This is where I had my “ah ha” moment – not because I am an avid Philadelphia Eagles football fan, but because this is exactly how we help clients every day at HelioCampus. We help our partner institutions make unique plays to not only stay in the game, but to win, by analyzing their data and providing meaningful insight & recommendations.
My Favorite Session – This League Focuses on The Part-time Student
One of my favorite sessions during the conference focused on the importance of part-time students at community colleges. I enjoyed this session because it was interactive and I was able to hear the needs, difficulties and challenges of several community colleges directly from the attendees of the conference. Since part-time students are the “bread and butter” of total enrollment for community colleges, it’s important that community colleges shape their culture to fit the needs of their largest population. However, part-time student face multiple challenges which make it tough for community colleges to decide which “offensive or defensive play” to make.
We Need to Make a Shift – New League, New Plays, Better Results
Receiving insight straight from community colleges helped me understand that our analysis, recommendations, and results will be different for each community college partner – which is a great thing! Although data is data, and people will treat it as such, the information, insight, recommendations and results will be different, depending on the which particular offensive or defensive play is most fitting. This is a whole new league, which deserves new plays (like the Philly Special) for better results. Here at HelioCampus, we are up for the challenge and ready to help our partners win by assisting them with different strategies and new plays to tackle whatever obstacles they are facing.