While SACRAO 2021 opted to go virtual, the conference did not lack for great presentations.
From Feb 22 – 23, 2021 an array of topics were discussed, ranging from new and useful technologies to special population centered topics such as transfer, under-represented, adult/stop-out/first-gen, gender/race/ethnicity, to pandemic-related issues. It was especially pleasing to see two very nice presentations on Mindfulness and Caring for your Enrollment Management team. It was the first time I have seen topics like these on a conference agenda, and judging by the number of attendees, they are necessary. We all need a little extra care during a pandemic!
Craig Rudick, Director of Product Strategy at HelioCampus and former Director of Institutional Research and Lead Data Scientist at the University of Kentucky, discussed techniques, both technical and practical, for designing and implementing a data science program. Specifically, a program that uses the full range of available tools and creates the broad and deep knowledge base upon which true data-informed decision making is grounded.
For many institutions, the compartmentalization of data is the first of many challenges facing them and informing their ability to use data for decision-making in enrollment management. Institutions can inadvertently hide their data from themselves, by letting data languish in silos, or be over-protected by some data-owners who adopt a mentality of ‘my data,’ ‘her data,’ or ‘his data,’ as compared to ‘the university’s data.’ To make the greatest strides in admissions and enrollment efforts, it is also critically important to view the data across the student lifecycle and understand student success factors and program issues impacting students. Data needs to be agreed upon, defined, cleaned, and placed in the hands of all levels of managers for strategic decision-making. In his presentation, Craig highlighted how HelioCampus can help clients address each of these issues.