Wednesday April 19, 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Early: $135 Advance: $150 Onsite: $175
W5 - A Primer on Analytics and Visualization in Higher Education

Higher education institutions are collecting more data than ever, yet most of this information is used to satisfy compliance reporting, rather than to address strategic questions (Bichsel, 2012). Analytics has emerged as a hot commodity in higher education, and many institutions have demonstrated that analytics can tangibly improve institutional effectiveness in strategic areas like student success, cost and productivity, and finances. Success stories abound, and many higher education leaders are wondering how they can enhance decision-making by using analytics. The purpose of this workshop is to teach higher education professionals how to effectively develop and implement successful analytics projects at their institution with powerful, low-cost solutions. The workshop begins by focusing on what analytics is and what distinguishes it from more traditional forms of institutional research. This is followed by a review of several noteworthy examples of successful analytics across a range of diverse institutions. Particular attention will be devoted to exploring the power of predictive analytics and data visualization. Workshop exercises will aid participants in developing analytic tools at their own institution. Activities will emphasize group discussion and problem-solving, and culminate with an exercise in building your own visualization tool.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn what analytics is and what distinguishes it from more traditional forms of institutional analysis and reporting. Learn the different forms of analytics (e.g. learning analytics versus academic analytics).
  2. Develop a conceptual understanding of how investment in analytics can improve institutional effectiveness and augment campus finances through examination of several exemplary case studies.
  3. Learn the challenges to supporting a culture for analytics, including affordability, data availability, and expertise, and what are the strategies for overcoming such challenges.
  4. Develop a conceptual understanding of how analytics that emphasize prediction can tangibly improve institutional effectiveness (e.g., increase enrollment, enhance academic support services with better data support, augment net tuition revenues due to higher retention).
  5. Learn how data visualization can better convey results, provide faster insights, and increase the efficiency of the decision-making process.



John Stanley
Director of Institutional Research
University of Hawai‘i West Oahu

John Stanley is the Director of Institutional Research at the University of Hawai‘i - West Oahu, where he is responsible for assessment and institutional research functions. Mr. Stanley has served in institutional research positions at four-year institutions and community colleges. He has published institutional research articles and has instructed workshops on using analytics to improve student outcomes at regional and national conferences. He was awarded best presenter at the 2012 California-AIR Conference. He received his BA in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and MEd in higher education from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He is currently in the fourth year of his PhD in Educational Psychology at UH Manoa.

Ken Nelson
Associate Director of the Office of Educational Effectiveness and Institutional Researcher
Loma Linda University

Ken Nelson, MD, MS is the Associate Director of the Office of Educational Effectiveness and the Institutional Researcher at Loma Linda University, a non-profit, faith-based, health-sciences institution.  Previously he spent 25 years as the medical director for a health education NGO, traveling to over 50 countries. Dr. Nelson has been instrumental in promoting evidence-based student success endeavors at LLU. He has been on faculty at the School of Allied Health Professions for the past 10 years.