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Data

College and university leaders manage large datasets that are compiled across people, departments and systems. Producing quality performance reports, institutional effectiveness measures, and academic data can be a challenge in today’s environment. In addition to maintaining reliable and accurate data, higher ed leaders are continually asked to do more work, with more depth—but without additional resources. 

5/11/2017

College and university leaders manage large datasets that are compiled across people, departments and systems. Producing quality performance reports, institutional effectiveness measures, and academic data can be a challenge in today’s environment. In addition to maintaining reliable and accurate data, higher ed leaders are continually asked to do more work, with more depth—but without additional resources.

Sponsored by: 
Scott A. Bass is the provost at American University in Washington, D.C.

How many databases does your campus administer in the broad area of student support? American University uses more than 36 databases for different student-related administrative and learning management functions—yet, there is little to no integration.

Robert Miller is vice president for enrollment management of Centenary University.

Ubiquitous in the business world, big data is being adopted by higher education, particularly in the area of recruitment. With stagnant or declining recruitment budgets and increased competition for students, leveraging the data most colleges capture is a cost-effective approach that can yield significant results.

Clockwise from top left: Lisa Daniels (Excelsior College), Vince Kellen (University of Kentucky), Thomas Blum (Sarah Lawrence College) and Elaine Lewis (Washburn University).

To get a picture of who is responsible for predictive analytics on campuses and what their jobs look like, University Business interviewed four campus “data czars” to learn more about their work, how it impacts their institutions and how they make it all happen.

Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Colleges and universities are under intense pressure to maintain enrollment, increase student retention and ensure student success. Predictive analytics can play a crucial role in these efforts at institutions of any size, by providing actionable data that can drive more effective strategic decision-making.

In just three years, enrollment at Lone Star Community College grew by about 50 percent. The six-campus system, located in the north Houston metro area, now has more than 95,000 students and has experienced explosive data growth, as well—from 40 terabytes to 1.6 petabytes.

When a school hears from the FBI, the news is not likely to be good. Two years ago, FBI agents informed Maricopa County Community College District administrators that data from the 10-college system in Arizona had been posted on the internet. With a possible data breach underway, the system’s website was shut down immediately and school officials began to investigate.

When Barry University officials discovered their network had become infected with malware that was making callbacks to a command center in Russia in 2013, an external security contractor was hired to conduct a forensic analysis of the incident, and intrusion prevention detection software was purchased to monitor the system.

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