A realignment of services is allowing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to expand its use of institutional data.
Nebraska’s new Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics is a combination of services previously offered through institutional research divisions under the chancellor’s office and information technology services. The group is tasked with collecting, organizing and releasing official institutional data; analyzing data from multiple sources to assist with campus decision-making; and supporting university priorities and strategic planning.
“Our goal is to redirect the type of questions being asked on campus toward a deeper level of data need,” said James Volkmer, assistant vice chancellor for budget, planning and analytics. “We want to change the question from ‘can I get a list of students?’ to ‘when I look at my dashboard, I see X and I would like to know why X is happening.’
“Ultimately, everything we do links directly to the university providing improved services and support to our community.”
Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics is led by Jason Casey, who joined the university on Jan. 15. Casey brings more than 25 years of experience in higher education-related data analysis, including recent posts at Georgetown University and the University of Notre Dame.
The office, located in Canfield Administration Building, Room 321, formally reports to Donde Plowman, Nebraska’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.
“By combining existing campus expertise into a single resource, the university is better aligned to expand on and make strategic use of institutional data,” Plowman said. “The work of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics is especially important as the university pursues long-term campus goals and strengthens our strategic planning.”
Priorities for Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics in the spring semester include: focusing on student success reporting and analytics; developing efficiencies and automation in data collection and development processes; starting work with colleges to develop an understanding of operation and strategic data needs; and collaborating with Information Technology Services for a rollout of the Tableau data visualization platform.
The team will continue to produce the university’s annual Fact Book, which provides answers to frequently asked questions about the institution.