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Higher Education Data Analytics

No Exceptions: How UMass Transformed Their Data Culture


A Case Study in Partnership with The Chronicle and AWS

illustration of a woman sitting on a yellow bean bag reading a data chart on her laptop

UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst embarked on a transformative journey to overhaul their data culture with the implementation of Flagship Analytics, a platform designed to streamline data sources and offer real-time access to critical information. Formerly grappling with dispersed data across multiple systems, the university faced difficulty in sharing and analyzing data effectively.


By collaborating with HelioCampus, UMass Anherst aimed to foster an evidence-based decision-making culture, heightening data literacy, and adopting a proactive stance to boost student success and retention. 


“Data itself can be mind-numbingly boring. But what it enables and the student outcomes that can be supported from accurately understanding it — that is interesting. There are real students positively impacted. What you don’t see is the student who was on a DFW for physics who got the help they needed…that those stories are happening is what matters to me.”
Christopher Misra
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Information Officer

How UMA Transformed their Data Culture


Centralize Your Data

UMass Amherst possesses a wealth of data, covering budgets, enrollment, student success and retention, as well as admissions and financial aid. This information, however, was scattered across various systems and sometimes in different file formats. Ultimately, they needed a way to connect their disparate data sources into one platform and dashboards that would consolidate crucial student data and offer faculty and administrators real-time data.


Implement Training

The new intuitive, interactive analytics solution consolidates data, facilitates broad data access, and streamlines analysis for improved decision-making; however, staff and faculty need to take training to get broad access to Flagship Analytics. Beyond being just a practical training, attendees also learned about how to use data responsibly.


Foster Transparency & Collaboration

Thanks to Flagship Analytics, data is no longer department-specific or even college specific. There was some hesitation about that level of transparency. However, the culture shift at UMassAmherst has changed two things to help skeptics get past their concerns. First, you’re expected to bring your data as part of every conversation. Second, transparency can lead to conversations around best practices.

illustration of a woman with a questioning pose and orange question marks surrounding her

Ditching the Boring Questions

Thanks to the success of Flagship Analytics, the UMass Amherst team has a problem. With an increased appreciation for what data can tell them, stakeholders have more, and increasingly complex questions. So the team is off to tackle the next challenge; carefully, thoughtfully, introducing new data sets to the database and connecting them to what’s already there. 

Learn More About the Result

Read the case study to learn more about UMass Amherst's journey to not only an analytics platform but a culture transformation.

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