UNC CAUSE 2018: Definitely More Than Just a Conference

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2018 UNC Cause annual conference, which was held in Greenville, NC on October 1-3. UNC CAUSE was formed in 1970 by the computing centers of all 16 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Its purpose? To promote cooperation and information exchange between the campuses of the UNC System in all areas related to information technology. 

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Reflections from NACAC 2018: National Association for College Admission Counseling

Last week, we had the opportunity to attend the 74th annual NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) 2018 Conference in beautiful Salt Lake City, UT. The focus of the conference was connecting professionals who are tasked with creating the appropriate bridge for students to enroll in the right academic program for them, whether that is coming from high school, an adult who is embarking on their first time in college, or a returning adult. A lot of the talk around the conference floor was around how colleges can attract and retain the right students for them, the changing student demographic, and associated expectations of today’s students (and their parents.) The growing importance of the role of transfer students and the value of a college degree were also top of mind for most institutions.

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A Different Kind of League: Data & Analytics for Community Colleges

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.

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Leveraging Analytics in Enrollment Management: 5 Best Practices

Colleges and universities are under considerable pressure, both from within, as they work to fulfill their educational mission, and externally, as they attempt to understand and curtail drops in enrollment and retention. The latter is particularly troubling, as more than half of public colleges and two-thirds of private institutions failed to meet their enrollment goals in 2016.1 Many higher education institutions are embracing analytic solutions to help them unravel enrollment, persistence, and retention challenges. By analyzing academic history, student behavior, co-curricular involvement, and other pertinent data, colleges and universities can recruit, attract, and enroll students who have a higher likelihood of academic success. This allows them to focus on efforts to identify students that need extra support who are already enrolled, and make interventions, increasing students’ likelihood to persist. Institutional data is only useful if it is leveraged properly. The following are five best practices for enrollment management practitioners to consider when deploying an analytics strategy.

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What's the Latest in Advancement Analytics?

I recently attended (and gave a keynote address at) the APRA PD Data Analytics Symposium (APRA DAS), an analytics conference co-located with the larger APRA Prospect Development conference. It was held at the expansive David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which overlooks the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh.

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AIR Forum 2018: Data-Informed Decision Making, Collaborations & Student Success

Last week the HelioCampus team visited sunny Orlando for the AIR Forum. This is an important event that brings together higher education professionals working in institutional research, assessment, planning, and related postsecondary education fields. We spent two jam packed days talking to attendees about their analytics efforts, supporting our client partner presentations and getting feedback on our IPEDS Explorer tool.

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Why Use “Ensemble Approaches” for Forecasting?

If you wanted to predict how much corn would be sold at a farmer’s market stand this summer, you might ask multiple people to make educated guesses using different methods. One person might be a farmer who knows how the crops are doing in the region this year, one might be the person who has operated the stand for the past 3 years and has a good understanding of the seasonal purchasing patterns, and one might be a statistician with a table of the last 5 years’ of weekly sales.

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Data Is Not the Goal... & Other Reflections from HEDW 2018

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Higher Education Data Warehouse (HEDW) Conference at Oregon State University with my  colleague, Joe Bertram. The conference brought together over 350 attendees from over 150 institutions. Whereas last year’s theme was “data governance,” this year’s was around “Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled analytics” and “machine learning.”  I wanted to spend some time discovering and learning how colleges and universities are tackling the data warehousing and data analytics initiatives at their respective institutions.   

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Easily Access IPEDS Data? Yes, Please!

As the landscape for institutional sustainability in higher education becomes more and more challenging to navigate successfully innovative institutions have increasingly turned to more rigorous, methodical, and data-centric approaches to understand the issues specific to their institution and how to address them. The availability of data in its rawest form has increased exponentially, and now include such sources as National Student Clearinghouse, Complete College America, and of course one of the earliest data repositories, IPEDS (The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System).

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Reflections from the Salesforce Higher Education Summit: The Importance of Being Intentional

At the SalesForce Higher Education Summit in Washington, D.C., I had the great pleasure of listening to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and legendary aviator, test pilot, and astronaut, USMC Major General Charles Bolden deliver compelling keynotes. These, combined with many excellent presentations and demonstrations by trailblazing colleges and universities, impressed upon me the importance of being intentional in approaching institutional challenges. The term was applied to everything from ­­­­­­­­instilling cultural diversity to driving student success and retention. As I consider how universities implement and adopt technology and new business practices, the phrase “being intentional” very much aligns with the HelioCampus approach to institutional analytics in three specific ways:

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