Southern Hospitality: Reflections on the Georgia Summit

    

At the end of September, Bret Dennis and I were fortunate to talk with numerous individuals from the University System of Georgia campuses. The event, hosted in Atlanta, was a mix of work and fun. You could easily see the Mercedes-Benz stadium, CNN Atlanta, and Centennial Olympic Park. We were even able to test our athleticism at the College Football Hall of Fame!

From the Exhibit Hall of the Summit, we could see Centennial Olympic Park - a beautiful backdrop to discuss Higher Education analytics. Whether the conversation was with a financial aid officer, IT administrator, Accountant, Bursar, HR administrator, or Registrar, a few key themes always emerged:

  1. There is tremendous collegiality across the system, where everyone is working toward improving higher education in the state of Georgia. This was apparent at all levels and offices across each institution.
  2. Analytics is becoming a mainstay in Higher Education. The value realized through “turning the lights on” your data, or moving from physical to digital record keeping, is well worth it. Once you can see your data, and the benefit of linking your data, you can begin to explore previously hidden trends.
  3. There is room for improvement in creating information literacy across campuses and throughout the system. Data sophistication doesn’t always mean data literacy. Even if you are using advanced analytics, if the end user of the data doesn’t understand what is happening, the results and recommendations won’t be adopted.

As always, Atlanta was a great place to visit. But I want to say thank you to the Georgia Summit organizers and attendees for making us feel welcome and for opening up about the challenges your institutions are facing, as well as the great things you are doing to educate students.

Next stop, the EACUBO conference in Pittsburgh. Come visit us there or check out our white paper for more info on a clearer path to progress through institutional analytics.

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