Data is only as powerful as your understanding around it.
Analytics makes possible new understandings of students and their needs, and creates an advanced ability to improve student success through use of new software being implemented on campuses around the world.
This handbook is designed to help any higher ed leader unleash the power of data that is always available but seldom leveraged. It helps to answer the questions, (1) How does a campus strategically develop a plan for use of analytics in better supporting their students? (2) Once a culture is in place, how do leaders effectively move new evidence into action? This primer walks readers through each step of the analytics adoption.
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Preface: Dancing with Data (Mark David Milliron)
Part I: Evidence
Ch 1: The Rise of Analytics in Higher Education (Linda L. Baer)
Ch 2: Making Data Analytics Matter (Ellen D. Wagner)
Ch 3: Pattern Matching With Big Data Explained (Nicole M. Melander)
Ch 4: On Student Privacy, Security, and Silos: An Analytics Case Study (Colleen Carmean and Henry Lyle)
Ch 5: A Student Response to Analytics, Privacy, and Security (Avery Horton)
Part II: Inquiry & Insights
Ch 6: Doing the Work: Who, What, When, and Why (Colleen Carmean and Melissa Lavitt)
Ch 7: Sherlock Holmes Redux: Putting the Pieces Together (Linda L. Baer, David Kil, and Amanda Hagman)
Part III: Action
Ch 8: Creating and Maintaining an Analytics Culture (Rex Miller)
Ch 9: Crafting Strategy and Integrating Planning for Analytics (Donald M. Norris and Linda L. Baer)
Ch 10: The Value of a Data-Informed Nudge (Jill Frankfort, Colleen Carmean, and Ross E. O’Hara)
Ch 11: Framing Predictions and Possibilities (Bryan Alexander)
Linda L. Baer, PhD, has served in higher education leadership roles for more than 35 years. Her focus has been on the future of higher education, planning for change and transformation, building organizational capacity for analytics, and next generation leadership development. She has served as a faculty member, Senior Vice President, Interim President, Senior Vice Chancellor at the system level, senior project manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Senior Fellow at Civitas Learning, and now is a senior consultant in higher education. Her focus is to inspire leaders to improve student success and transform institutions for the future.
Colleen Carmean, PhD, is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Innovation at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her responsibilities include research, strategy, and implementation of academic technologies, e-learning, and analytics within a culture of evidence, retention, and student success. Colleen has served as an NLII (EDUCAUSE) Fellow, Arizona Wakonse Teaching Fellow, and UW Tacoma Writing Fellow.
Bryan Alexander, PhD, is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher. Upon completing his PhD, Bryan taught literature, writing, multimedia, and information technology studies at Centenary College of Louisiana. From 2002 to 2014, Bryan worked with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), a nonprofit working to help small colleges and universities best integrate digital technologies. In 2013, Bryan launched a business, Bryan Alexander Consulting, LLC. Through BAC he consults throughout higher education in the United States and abroad. He is currently writing Transforming the University in the Twenty-First Century: The Next Generation of Higher Education for Johns Hopkins University Press (forthcoming 2019). His two most recent books are Gearing Up For Learning Beyond K-12 and The New Digital Storytelling.
Jill Frankfort is the co-founder and President of Persistence Plus, working with colleges and nonprofits to propel more students to college success. The Persistence Plus model leverages behavioral science and an intelligent software system to engage and support students via smartphone-based “nudges.” Jill and her team at Persistence Plus have helped students across the globe to reach their goal of earning a college degree. Jill was previously a director at Jobs for the Future, where she worked to scale strategies to help propel more low-income students to and through college, and served as a Kauffman Foundation Education Venture Fellow.
Amanda Hagman, MS, is a Data Wrangler whose mission is to develop leadership and professionalism through analytics. She uses skills in research methodologies, analytics, and statistics to identify insights in data. Amanda works with professionals to view statistical results in the context of their expertise. Her team at Utah State University focuses on developing a culture of professionalism around analytics.
Avery Horton is a college student, formerly at the University of Washington Tacoma. He is now pursuing a degree in software development in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state. When not working on various programming projects or performing in local musical theater, he is busy exploring the roles and possibilities of technology in engaging, connecting, and getting college students to the finish line.
David Kil is Chief Scientist at Civitas Learning, building a family of SaaS connected analytics applications in the Data-Insight-Action-Learning (DIAL) framework to help students succeed. Prior to Civitas Learning, he was Chief Science Officer at Humana and SKT Americas, building enterprise and consumer health applications leveraging big data and social/sensor networks. He has also been building consumer health mobile apps for fun. His research interests encompass all aspects of data processing, machine learning, complex event processing, nudging, and multi-level impact analysis. He has published more than 40 papers in various journals and conferences, as well as Pattern Recognition and Prediction with Applications to Signal Characterization (Springer-Verlag). He holds 14 U.S. and international patents and is active as a reviewer for journals and grant agencies.
Melissa Lavitt, PhD, has extensive background, with more than 20 years of academic administrative experience, in developing, supporting, and sustaining programs that advance student learning and faculty success. She began her career as a social worker and received her PhD in Social Work from Tulane University. Lavitt joined the faculty at Arizona State University West Campus, where she earned tenure and served as department chair. Subsequent leadership roles included Associate Dean, Vice Provost, Dean, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. In her administrative roles, Lavitt focused on strategies to collect, utilize, and democratize access and utilization of data.
Henry Lyle, PhD, is an anthropologist specializing in ethnographic approaches that explore human-computer interactions, large-scale social behavior, and interpersonal relationships. His research in these areas has led to the development of innovative educational technologies, and has examined cooperation and conflict in online and indigenous communities. As a user, researcher, and product manager at the University of Washington, Henry leads and contributes to cross-functional teams that develop and deliver software that is integral to the everyday lives of students, instructors, and staff.
Nicole M. Melander, PhD, is Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Campus Labs, a company whose mission is to empower higher education through strategic use of data. Nicole brings to this role experience in professional services, training, operations, innovation, and technology within multinational software companies, small nonprofits, and consulting partnerships. She consults with universities and community colleges across the country to leverage their data and application ecosystems to develop insight, identify opportunities, and enable institutional improvement. In previous roles, Nicole served as Vice President, Consulting at Civitas Learning and Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She served as the Chief Technology Officer of Achieving the Dream, as well as in technology leadership positions at Deloitte, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Rex Miller is an internationally recognized author, researcher, speaker, and consultant known for solving “wicked problems” by linking diverse thought leaders together in a two-year process called MindShift. His work addresses adversarial systems and waste in construction, workplace disengagement, our declining K–12 education system and, most recently, the workplace health crisis and the failure of wellness strategies. MindShift has won two international awards for innovation and excellence. Rex spent 35 years as a corporate executive and now applies a practitioner’s mindset to his research, using insights from industry to help companies align culture with change. Notable clients include GoDaddy, Google, Intel, Disney, MD Anderson, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the FAA. Rex has a Master’s in Strategic Foresight and is a Texas A&M Fellow. He is currently working with Texas A&M to create a leadership institute using his MindShift model for tackling wicked problems.
Mark Milliron, PhD, is co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning, an organization committed to helping education bring together the best of emerging technology, data science, and design thinking to help students learn well and finish strong on education pathways. In previous roles, Mark served as the Deputy Director for Postsecondary Improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; founding Chancellor of WGU Texas; Endowed Fellow and Director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at The University of Texas at Austin; Vice President for Education and Medical Practice with SAS; and President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College.
Donald M. Norris, PhD, has over 40 years of experience in leading and navigating change, crafting and executing strategy, strategic marketing, and organizational transformation. He has counseled over 200 learning institutions, nonprofits, commercial enterprises, and entrepreneurial ventures on strategic planning, change management, process and organizational transformation, and thriving in the face of disruption. Dr. Norris is author or co-author of more than 25 books and monographs on strategy, transformative change, and analytics in higher education. In 2014, Dr. Norris was awarded the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Founders Award for his lifetime contribution to strategic planning in higher education.
Ross E. O'Hara, PhD, is a Behavioral Researcher at Persistence Plus, where he applies his expertise in behavioral science to develop scalable interventions that improve college student retention. He earned his PhD in Social Psychology from Dartmouth College, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Missouri and the University of Connecticut. His research has appeared in numerous peerreviewed journals, including Psychological Science and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and he is a regular contributor to Psychology Today as the author of the blog Nudging Ahead.
Ellen Wagner, PhD, is an award-winning learning technology professional with experiences in higher education, corporations, and the nonprofit sector. She is a former tenured professor and academic affairs administrator, has served as a Vice President of Research, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Learning Officer in ed tech, commercial software, and nonprofit sector companies (including three acquisitions, two as a co-founder). She co-founded the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework, and served as Chief Strategy Officer from PAR’s inception in 2010 to its acquisition by Hobsons in 2016, at which point she was designated Vice President, Research of Hobsons, from 2016-2018. Previously, she was Vice President, Technology, for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and Executive Director of their Cooperative for Educational Technologies.