Sunday Opening Session
The keynote speaker, Dr. Eden Dahlstrom, will address our theme of "Focusing on the Future: Investing in Institutional Research". Eden Dahlstrom is the Chief Research officer for EDUCAUSE where she oversees research initiatives that optimize the impact of technology in higher education. She has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, including five years as an institutional researcher. Since 2011 she has led EDUCAUSE’s initiative to give students and faculty a platform to share their technology experiences and expectations. She is also leading an initiative to study analytics in higher education. She has traveled the world talking to the higher education community about technology’s potential to enhance decision-making, to extend the teaching and learning environment, to personalize the education experience, and to innovate strategically.
She has a doctorate from the University of Southern California and is trained and practiced in the action research model. Her research is guided by two complementary principles: 1) data are most useful when transformed into information, and 2) information is only useful if it is accessible and understandable by the intended audience.
Moving the Red Queen Forward: Maturing Analytics Practices in Higher Education
If you feel like your institution is still data rich, but information poor, you are in good company. Enhancing decision-making by using data to optimize institutional resources, streamline business processes, and improve student outcomes is still an aspirational goal for most institutions. Other industries (banking, retail, transportation, and social media to name a few) have found widespread success in integrating analytics applications into their business practices, and pockets of analytics success within higher ed provide glimmers of hope for a new day where we will work smarter and not harder in an information rich environment.
IR professionals in institutions that invest in analytics will spend less time finding, cleaning, and preparing data for internal inquires and external reports and more time on research innovations and predictive modeling. Institutional researchers are in the strategic position of being both stakeholders and leaders in shepherding analytics maturity. Understanding the current landscape of analytics in higher ed while visioning the future possibilities of analytics will help IR professionals become key to moving the red queen forward.