Effective Data Management in Higher Ed: Obstacles and Solutions

As colleges and universities increasingly turn to data to make key decisions around retention, recruitment, and spending, greater awareness is being paid to data management and governance. In the industry, “there is a real struggle to connect data sets—across institutions—in meaningful ways,” says Pennie Turgeon, VP for IT and CIO at the New York Institute of Technology and former VP of IT and CIO for Clark University. Turgeon champions a more comprehensive approach to data management. We sat down with her to learn more about institutional challenges to data management, and best practices for making it all work.

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A Review of the 2019 APLU Annual Meeting

The 2019 APLU Annual Meeting officially kicked off on Sunday, November 10th in sunny San Diego, CA.  Almost 1,600 attendees from public and land grant Universities across the country came together, making the 132nd APLU Annual Meeting the largest on record.  The theme of the meeting was, “In Service”, and attendees were able to take advantage of a number of learning tracks focused on serving students, communities, the country and the world. 

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The Value of Student Segmentation

Rising competition for college and university students will only continue to grow as the number of high school graduates shrink over the next decade, student demographics shift and other financial pressures persist. For many higher education institutions, understanding that each student has unique needs, attitudes, behaviors and motivations may be critical to recruitment and retention.

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Highlights from the ACCT 2019 Community College Leadership Congress

The ACCT 2019 Community College Leadership Congress was held from October 16-19 in San Francisco, marking the event’s 50th anniversary.  The organization supports Trustees, Leadership Boards and Presidents of Community Colleges across the country, and aims “to foster the principles and practices of exemplary governance while promoting high quality and affordable higher education, cutting-edge workforce and development training, student success and the opportunity for all individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency and security.” The event’s theme was “Past is Prologue;” the focus heavily on preparing for the future and the evolving roles of community college leadership in the quickly changing landscape of higher education.

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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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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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AIR 2019: The Importance of the Human Element in Data Analysis

Last week I had the opportunity to head out to Denver, Colorado with the HelioCampus team for the AIR Forum. This event is our chance to learn from institutional research practitioners on how they are using analytics at their institutions. It was great to learn about all the different ways institutions are tackling data visualization, reporting, and more; and for us to share how we are working with our clients on combining, analyzing and visualizing data from across the student lifecycle.

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Reflections from HEDW 2019

I recently had the opportunity to attend the HEDW Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The conference was a real testament to how Colleges and Universities are viewing and using data to make more informed decisions.  Whether it be for enrollment, retention, student success or advancement, they understand how to best harness the power of data for institutional improvement.

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Institutional Planning for Higher Ed: How Data & Relationships Drive Success

Our latest eBook explores the topic of Institutional Planning for higher education. A lot is riding on universities’ performance metrics: enrollment and recruitment numbers, student outcomes and livelihoods, and funding. In fact, more than 30 state governments in the U.S. have policies or formulas that allocate funds to public institutions based on student performance factors 1. Universities with the ability to improve performance with comprehensive and data-driven institutional planning stand to fare better than their peers.

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A Conversation with Harford Community College President Dr. Dianna Phillips

Recently we partnered with Inside Higher Ed and Harford Community College's President, Dr. Dianna Phillips, for a webinar on Implementing Transformational Analytics Strategies. The webinar featured an engaging discussion that started with sharing the challenges facing Harford Community College (HCC) (and other community colleges), and why HCC chose to invest in strategic planning tools and technologies to solve them.

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