Featured Topics at EACUBO 2019: The State of Higher Education & Looking to the Future

As I attended the 2019 EACUBO Annual Meeting in Baltimore Maryland, I was surprised not only by the quality of the content but also by the importance of such events. I believe that large gatherings, such as this,  of like-minded people is key to disseminating ideas and highlighting where the industry is heading. I was fortunate enough to attend several sessions on topics like Cloud Migration, Alignment of Technology and Strategic Plans, Data Security, Program Margin and Program Prioritization, to name a few.

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EDUCAUSE 2019: Data, Analytics & Ethics Continue to be a Focus

The HelioCampus team was at EDUCAUSE last week, along with a large contingent of higher education IT. We had a great time meeting with current clients and talking with many of you about your analytics plans. As in years past, data continues to be a hot topic, and was so reflected in the EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues (listed below:) 

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Performance-Based Funding is Catalyzing the Need for Institutional Analytics

The shift to Performance-Based Funding (PBF; sometimes also known as “Outcomes-Based Funding”) as a means of determining state allocations to higher education institutions is one of the dominant trends shaping higher education today, particularly within the public sector. Over 30 states now have some sort of PBF initiative on the books, with others likely to follow within the next decade. Accounting for the impact of PBF has thus become a critical element for university leaders to ensure the financial health of their institutions.

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SAIR Conference: "Tools for Transformation" & More

The Southeast Association of Institutional Research (SAIR) conference was held in Greenville, SC from September 29 – October 1, 2019. The SAIR Conference is an excellent forum for the dissemination of information and interchange of ideas on problems of common interest in the field of institutional research. The theme of the conference was “Tools for Transformation,” and, naturally, data analytics was a hot topic.

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NACAC 2019: A Focus on Analytics

I was recently able to spend three days in Louisville, KY at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) annual conference, talking to people about enrollment management practices. A major theme of the conference this year was data, and how to use data to improve the efficiency of admissions, recruitment, and enrollment operations. Institutions are looking to improve the matching between students and schools, more effectively communicate with their prospects, and ensure that they enroll a class of a size and academic preparedness consistent with their institutional missions.

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2019 Achieving the Dream Data & Analytics Summit: Continuing the Climb Towards Student Success

Last week I attended the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Data & Analytics Summit in College Park, Maryland. Achieving the Dream is an organization dedicated to the success of community college students and closing achievement gaps, especially for low income students and students of color.  Our client, Harford Community College (HCC) is one of 277 colleges currently partnering with ATD to build institutional capacity and develop transformative student success initiatives. HelioCampus’ partnership with HCC has allowed us to not only support the immediate analysis needs of the institution but also provide key performance metrics for ATD.

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Session Highlights from the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference

The 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference (HBCU) was held September 8 – 11, 2019 at the Renaissance Washington in Washington DC. The conference focus was on how HBCUs can successfully compete for top opportunities while providing education and economic experiences that can improve standards of living for the students, people, and communities they principally serve.

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An Opportunity to Transform Institutional Analytics

When I first started in higher education data analytics in 2013, after transitioning from academic astrophysics, my initial impression was: “This is it, huh?” I was a bit underwhelmed by the sophistication of the data tools and analyses that were used for decision making. Of course, over the course of 6 years in various positions in IT and IR at the University of Kentucky (UK), including three years as Executive Director of Institutional Research and Lead Data Scientist, I learned that using data analytics at an enterprise scale was far more complex than I had imagined. The barriers to success will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in the higher education industry: source data systems that are not integrated, not accessible, and not designed for reporting or analytics; the unglamorous but hugely important work of educating people, updating processes, and changing culture; and all the natural complexity inherent to an organization that can daily see over 50,000 people set foot on campus.

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Driving Success in Nontraditional Student Populations: 6 Best Practices for Analytics Programs at Community Colleges

Our latest eBook explores the topic of analytics programs specific to community colleges. It is an unfortunate truth that discussions of analytics and predictive modeling in higher education often neglect to include community colleges. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that the majority of community colleges have an open-door admissions policy. Not requiring SAT scores or a specific high school GPA means they often have less robust data sets on incoming students than universities with stricter acceptance requirements.1 But the absence of specific data points does not mean analytics programs are not needed at community colleges, only that those data needs are different.

After all, more than a third of credit-seeking community college students are nontraditional (over 24 years of age), a stat which begs the question: do the high school grades of a 42-year-old professional looking to expand a skillset really tell us much about their likely success as an adult learner? Community colleges have a unique set of challenges and, like their four-year counterparts, data can help
address these challenges, boost student success, and support institutional goals. Follow along to learn six best practices for building and maintaining a community college analytics program. 

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Analytics as a Powerful Theme at the RTM Higher Education Congress

The RTM Higher Education Congress held in Washington DC from August 4-6, brought together CIOs, Academic Affairs, and Enrollment Management professionals from across the country. A rich array of topics were discussed covering everything from leadership challenges, modernization of today’s colleges, diversity, strategic budgeting, removing obstacles to graduation, creating student experiences for future-relevant careers, classroom technologies, cloud storage, cyber security, and crisis management.

Despite the diversity of themes, three salient points ran through almost all the sessions:
1) Higher education needs to consider the student’s perspective and educate students for the world they will inherit;
2) Effective leadership is crucial to the sustainability of the institution;
3) Data-driven decision making is needed in all business units, from admissions through advancement.

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