Page 53 - Campus Technology, October/November 2018
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C-Level View
Concurrently, there has been increasing pressure to promote timely degree completion and increase student success and graduation rates. We know that student success can be improved when students, faculty and staff are on the same page. How can we achieve that? It’s possible when we leverage data-informed decision-making in student advising.
CT: Is data analytics becoming established as a technology that higher education can use to solve our problems?
Srinivas: Well, that’s not the whole picture, of course. In higher education, we do feel the need to work smarter and to break down the silos across our institutions. The impact of data analytics in solving some of these problems can be huge, and its application in student advising is impressive. But, we have to remember that the technology is not what’s driving the improved utilization of data for hypothesis-driven data mining. Such initiatives are actually guided by communities of practice — communities within higher education, such as NACADA [National Academic Advising Association], which in 2016 published a guide to implementing data-informed advising.
So, given research-based approaches to the science of data analytics, technologies have evolved to help
as higher education conducts data-informed decision-
making in many areas, especially advising.
Always keep in mind, though: It’s not the technology — it’s
the people.
CT: How do the vendors participate in this area of data analytics and student advising?
Srinivas: The vendors we’ve worked with, and many of those we’ve talked with, have explained to us that their development is grounded in retention research. They are well-informed about it and have some very good guidance to give us, too. So that has been very promising for Syracuse as we work with our vendor, Hobsons, and its Starfish product. (Starfish enterprise Connect and Early Alert tools are hosted for the university as SaaS.)
CT: Typically, are higher education institutions “ready” for change in these areas?
Srinivas: Technology has revolutionized higher education. We’ve all seen this happen over the past several years. So now, many institutions are stepping up and leveraging advising systems to support students with early alerts and online scheduling, by integrating their SIS data.
The fact, though, is that institutions must be ready for change now. Working in silos is just not effective anymore.
Pen-and-paper and Excel worksheets — where good
data often goes to die — will ultimately reveal this fact to institutions. They will find out that they are in need of real change. We can’t just hold on to what has worked in the past.
And it’s only through the enterprise systems, where everybody is on the same page, and where the enterprise system serves as a hub of information that can move things real time, that students will get the support they really need today — before they feel overwhelmed.
Grush: In general, how is higher education doing with managing these changes? How did your team at Syracuse manage change?
Srinivas: Even though the record on delivering results is still not very good according to our change management gurus, there is still reason to press for change. What institutions need to do is embrace change management principles, as we did at Syracuse. Among other change management strategies, our team used John Kotter’s 8-Step Process
for Leading Change (1996) to increase acceptance and adoption on campus.
And as we made the transition from pilot to a full campus rollout, we continued to focus on the “why of the what” in order to win both hearts and minds as we worked for a shift in culture on campus. We implemented our Orange SUccess
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | October/November 2018

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