Universities look toward data to stabilize enrollment numbers

Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.
Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.

University of Kansas officials are considering working with a data-mining company to pinpoint strategies to keep students enrolled after a recent report showed that 28.7 percent of freshmen from the fall 2007 semester have left the campus.

Five months after University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little formed a task force that would examine ways to increase student retention and graduation rates, task force members say they might enlist the help of Virginia-based data mining company Starfish Retention Solutions, which works with 14 four-year colleges, seven two-year campuses, and two K-12 school systems.

Starfish’s retention program helps campus decision makers weed out data that identify at-risk students with consistently low grades and spotty attendance records who are not engaged in campus activities.…Read More

Data analysis tool offered to campuses free of charge

Having SAS's analytics software available on the web has changed the way professors teach their courses.
Having SAS's analytics software on the web has changed the way faculty teach their courses.

Faculty and students on 200 campuses nationwide will have free access to advanced data management and analytics software via cloud computing beginning in the fall 2010 semester, after business software company SAS last week opened its OnDemand for Academics program to more higher-education customers at no charge.

The web-hosted analytics software has gained traction in higher education in recent years, and education technology experts said the free offer could expand the software’s presence at colleges where IT departments have seen deep cuts during the country’s economic downturn.

The OnDemand for Academics tool would join a growing list of campus technologies hosted on the internet—a strategy known as cloud computing—which allows access to the most up-to-date programs without using costly on-campus servers. This means students can access the online tool from anywhere they have an internet connection and won’t be forced to buy the software for their laptops or make a trip to the school computer lab to use the SAS analytics program, saving money for the university and time for IT staff—many of whom have a larger workload after budget cuts have trimmed staff numbers in recent years.…Read More

Nova Southeastern dean making IT grads more marketable

Irakliotis said computer science students should be encouraged by the rise of data mining in public policy.
Irakliotis said computer science students should be encouraged by the rise of data mining in public policy.

Leo Irakliotis doesn’t just want to develop academics and researchers. The newly appointed dean of Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences also wants tech-savvy business people who can talk the talk of the corporate world.

Irakliotis was named the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based university’s computer program chief on Jan. 25 after 13 years as a professor at the University of Chicago, where his business acumen and community connections helped grow the school’s Computer Science Professional Program by 20 percent annually.

Academic immersion remains a central part of a computer science education, he said, but campus IT decision makers should help students develop the communication skills they’ll need to explain complicated IT concepts in simple terms—and network with the companies in search of young computer pros.…Read More