Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio has been a leader in the use of data and analytics for years, thanks to the efforts of Karl Konsdorf, Sinclair’s director of research, analytics, and reporting. Konsdorf leads a team responsible for database administration, institutional research, report development, and data quality. His group helps Sinclair understand and gain insight into student success and student outcomes.

Recently, Konsdorf deployed a new data-visualization strategy that allows users to conduct interactive reporting, visual data discovery, and self-service analytics. Enrollment managers, department heads, deans, and advisers can interact with reports, collaborate on insights, and slice and dice data to make proactive decisions about enrollment, retention, performance, and degree completion. For example, what is enrollment this year compared with the same time last year?

Based on his data-visualization success, Konsdorf offers the following five tips for colleges and universities hoping to increase self-service access to reports so that decision-makers can quickly get the answers they need.

1. Secure buy-in at all levels of management. Data and analytics programs need to have executive sponsorship at the highest level—someone who fully understands the value the initiative can bring to the institution and has a vision for using it to improve school, program, and student outcomes.

(Next page: More ways to ensure your staff will do data analysis)

About the Author:

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