November 14, 2017 | Higher Education, Data Governance

    Session Highlights & Trends from EDUCAUSE

    Our team had such a great time at EDUCAUSE last week. It was fun to connect with current and future partners and clients, and see what’s new and trending in higher ed IT.

    During the conference, EDUCAUSE released their 2018 Top 10 IT Issues, including challenges we are currently helping our clients solve, like creating a data-enabled institutional culture (#4), becoming a more student-centered institution (#5), data management and governance (#8), and digital integrations (#8.)

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    Session Highlights: CIO Perspectives on Charting the Path to Institutional Analytics: Business Problems, Decision Processes, and Lessons Learned

    These trends represent an increased focus on data analytics, an evidence-based decision making culture, and data management and governance in IT and across higher ed. The importance of these topics was also put forth during a CIO panel session on Wednesday with leaders from UNC-General Administration (UNC GA), St. Edward’s University, Ithaca College and UMass Lowell. Key themes from the panel included:

    • Data Management and Governance: According to Steven Hopper from UNC GA, putting data in front of the people who need to make decisions, and holding them accountable is key to data governance.
    • Data-Enabled Institutional Culture: Dave Weil from Ithaca College also noted the importance of engaging a broad group of stakeholders prior to embarking on an institutional analytics initiative, including Enrollment Management, the CIO, a BI Architect, Institutional Advancement and more.
    • Digital Integrations: Justin Sloan from St. Edward’s University spoke about investing in an analytics platform that would provide the architecture and extensibility needed to become the data concierge for their end users, without having to invest in multiple disparate tools and point solutions.
    • Becoming a More Student-Centered Institution: It was important to Michael Cipriano of UMass Lowell that they have an environment to interrogate the data across the lifecycle, allowing them to ask and answer questions about student mobility and behavior, increasing visibility into patterns and trends across traditionally siloed divisions.

     Session Highlights: Analyzing the Full Student Experience: The Powerful Intersection between Curricular, Co-Curricular and Student Life

    The use of data was also in focus on another panel session featuring leaders from University of Kentucky, St. Edward’s University and UNLV. These panelists explored using data analytics for student success and institutional intelligence by combining curricular, co-curricular and student life data. What does this intersection mean and why is it becoming increasingly important?  What are the various potential data sources? The theme of becoming a more student-centered institution also really emerged in this session.

    According to HelioCampus CEO, Darren Catalano, only using primary systems leaves a really big blind spot around how a student is doing outside of academic performance. For example, how engaged is a residential student on campus? Craig Rudick from University of Kentucky says their team is exploring data and constantly learning new things about how students are interacting on campus, allowing them, among other things, to provide triaging for student support services.

    This panel also explored the question of who can benefit the most from these expanded data intersections. Rudick suggested that the best predictive model for which student is going to be retained is whether or not they have registered for their classes. At University of Kentucky, they had great success with this simple factor.  By giving student support staff this little bit of data, it has really allowed them to engage with students and learn about the other factors – financial crisis, family issues, etc. ­– going on in their lives that may inhibit registration.

    Justin Sloan from St. Edward’s University is using this mix of data for student success and program development. Sloan says they are trying to determine how to move from lagging indicators to leading indicators, and they have a desire and need to understand how the student population is changing shape in an ongoing way. His data process includes starting with simpler descriptive statistics before getting into more advanced predictive models.

    Whatever the approach, it was evident at EDUCAUSE this year that analytics on campus continues to be an important topic and one that will likely only become more critical. As institutions are working toward creating a data-enabled institutional culture and data management and governance, we are here to help make this process easier. If you would like more information on these topics, you can download our white paper: Data in Focus: A Clearer Path to Progress Through Institutional Analytics.

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