Looking Ahead to More Users, and More Reports

Currently, administrators in academic affairs, student affairs and the president’s office are using the reports, but Kuffel expects that number to grow, as will the number of analyses.

For instance, OIRA is building a dashboard showing the performance of the seven vice presidents’ offices. In the future, those offices will use reports to demonstrate how they are performing and moving the institution forward.

The data visualization reports will also replace the university’s external fact book, which contains standard static information about the institution. Kuffel envisions a broad, dynamic institutional information presentation in the future.

How Do Students Benefit?

Ultimately, OIRA’s goal is to help Alabama provide an exceptional education that takes students through graduation. OIRA helps departments and programs improve course offerings. And the university is better equipped to identify and intervene with students who are struggling academically.

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To support this effort, OIRA builds intricate data modeling procedures to focus on very small groups of students. They can look at individual communities, counties and high schools to see if there is something about a high school or a transfer college that has an impact on a student being more successful or less successful. Through the analysis, administrators can determine the right type of services and support to offer students to get them on track to graduate.

Ideally, students would graduate with minimal debt. In the future, OIRA will use analytics to investigate connections between how students are paying for their education, how that influences their progression at the institution, and how this affects their living once they leave the university. By increasing the four-year graduation rate, Alabama can reduce the debt students incur, so they can be more effective income earners early on.

Alabama’s analytics journey is transforming how leadership uses information to improve programs, increase enrollment and retention, and put more students on paths to success. Learn more about how analytics and data visualization are transforming higher education in the white paper, Reporting: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You.

About the Author:

Georgia Mariani is product marketing manager for Education for SAS, an analytics and business intelligence provider with nearly four decades of experience working with educational institutions. A 19-year SAS veteran, Mariani works with customers to share best practices, successes and recommendations that enable education institutions to get the most productive insights from their data.


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