Creating a Healthy Analytics Culture on Campus

Creating a Healthy Analytics Culture on Campus

In higher education, new ideas have the potential to take off quickly. With a plethora of publications, Listservs, and professional networks, good concepts can spread from institution to institution in a matter of hours. Ideas like microlearning, competency-based assessment, student-centered learning, and immersive experiences began, at some point in time, on one campus or in the mind of one individual. Today, they have become commonplace at institutions across the globe. Yet, as each concept has been passed along and adopted on different campuses, it has been adjusted and branded for the unique needs of that institution. Analytics — including big data analytics — is one such concept, with various campuses using the term to potentially reflect different activities.

Read More

Harness Continuous Improvement through Planning Intelligence & Quality Assessment

Harness Continuous Improvement through Planning Intelligence & Quality Assessment

Continuous improvement is at the heart of campus efforts to strengthen performance. Yet, higher education oftentimes fails to realize how the quality of our assessment planning is the true driver of continuous improvement. While we tend to devote a significant amount of resources to document the assessment activities of campus constituents, less emphasis is given to the plan and framework we put in place for assessing, even though the former can only be as strong as the latter. So, how do we move toward a culture of authentic continuous improvement rather than live in a mindset dominated by compliance and accountability?

Read More

Planning to Plan: Designing a Strategic Planning Process to Maximize Success

Planning to Plan: Designing a Strategic Planning Process to Maximize Success

When we think of traditional on-campus partnerships, writing a strategic plan is unquestionably daunting. From ensuring that the mission, vision, and core value continue to reflect the campus to reassuring that all potential campus stakeholders feel their voices are accounted for, it is no easy task to formulate, implement, and assess a plan that will guide activities for a significant period. But strategic planning is also an inspirational process—one that moves the campus toward achieving its mission and progressing in its vision.

Read More

Harnessing Faculty Power with Better Outcomes Assessment

Harnessing Faculty Power with Better Outcomes Assessment

In today’s higher education environment, faculty regularly find themselves being pulled in more directions than ever. No longer debating whether they should be a sage on the stage or a guide by their students’ side, faculty now are asked to think about their roles in admissions, retention, graduation rates, and student success. Beyond the long-standing faculty triad of teaching, research, and service, the all-hands-on-deck approach to finding students, keeping them enrolled, and then assuring they become productive graduates all occupy faculty time. Thus, any additional request from an administrator has the potential to be met with skepticism.

Read More

Using Data to Inform Enrollment Management

Using Data to Inform Enrollment Management

Enrollment managers play a critical role on every campus. While the outside world may focus much of its energy on faculty effectiveness, graduation rates, and career placement, a campus can’t survive without the ability to enroll or retain students. Especially in today’s era of lowered budget allocations and tuition discounting, the pressure is on to continually meet numbers. If a student leaves, he or she must be replaced. For enrollment managers, the goal is simple: use data to admit students who are likely to thrive and then use more data to help assure they are retained.

Read More

Improving Beyond Compliance: Reimagining Quality Enhancement on Campus

Improving Beyond Compliance: Reimagining Quality Enhancement on Campus

What happens when you use your data in a more proactive way? When, in addition to fulfilling the requirements of external stakeholders, you leverage the information to help your campus thrive? By operating beyond accreditation and other standards, campuses can set the stage for meaningful improvement. In fact, examining the many issues addressed in today’s standards can help institutions understand what these standards reveal about the future of higher education.

Read More

The Institutional Researcher: The Unsung Hero on Campus

The Institutional Researcher: The Unsung Hero on Campus

The role of institutional researchers may vary depending on the campus. On some campuses, they are data providers, while on others they are more directly involved in asking questions, interpreting data, and informing discussions, processes, and strategies. Regardless of which scenario you find yourself in, if the data your office houses and produces has utility for stakeholders, you’re providing a service in the name of progress. And while you may not be able to organize tall data warehouses in a single act, you can certainly work to alleviate common data pain points on campus. The benefit for your institution is that you’ll spend less time lassoing myriad data points, and more time assuring your stakeholders that students can succeed.

Read More

Embrace the Changes: Reflecting on the 2018 SACSCOC Accreditation Standards

Embrace the Changes: Reflecting on the 2018 SACSCOC Accreditation Standards

I recently asked representatives from two of our Member Campuses—Stacy Edds-Ellis, Dean of Academic Affairs at Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC), and Christine Mee, Executive Director of Institutional Research, Assessment and Analysis at Coastal Carolina University (CCU)—to reflect on the new accreditation standards from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Here’s a recap of the biggest takeaways from our conversation.

Read More

3 Steps Closer to a More Effective Institution (and More Successful Students)

3 Steps Closer to a More Effective Institution (and More Successful Students)

When we think of traditional on-campus partnerships, a coordinated effort involving student services, enrollment management, and institutional research may not immediately come to mind. Yet, when aligned, the concepts of student success and institutional effectiveness provide a clearer view of how campuses can make the best use of all their resources to anticipate, identify, and fulfill the needs of students.

Read More

Empowering Faculty through Meaningful Assessment

Empowering Faculty through Meaningful Assessment

Without faculty providing it, assessment data does not exist on campus. Given their importance to the assessment process, it is essential that faculty not only understand why we choose to assess student learning, but also how they can benefit from their own assessment efforts. With stronger faculty buy-in, assessment efforts are more meaningful and powerful.

Read More