Utilizing Data Visualization to Drive Decision-Making in Higher Ed

Utilizing Data Visualization to Drive Decision-Making in Higher Ed

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Develop powerful data visualizations to inform effective decision-making across campus.

Data visualization is the art of showcasing statistics in a format that allows humans to comprehend and digest large amounts of complex data. Today, data is as critical as ever in higher ed, especially when it comes to making decisions, tracking progress, and identifying areas to improve. At a time when resources are constrained, effectively using data visualizations to tell your story can decrease the time it takes to understand, communicate, and analyze crucial information.

Join us in Savannah for a hands-on, one of a kind learning experience to learn how to enhance your data visualization techniques and leverage the outcomes efficiently across campus. With the help of our seasoned faculty, you will learn how to:

  • Understand the key principles of impactful data visualizations
  • Ask more effective questions from stakeholders on the front end
  • Craft powerful narratives with your data
  • Educate and empower your stakeholders

You will leave this workshop more confident to bring data to life in a compelling format that will ultimately enable timely and evidence based decision making.


Who Should Attend

This program is designed for data analysts in the realm of enrollment management, student success and retention, and advancement services. Institutional research professionals and those who work on the front-end of data collection and analysis to create data visualizations for institutional decision makers will also benefit from the content of this workshop.


Day 1: The Power of Data Visualization


Registration, Welcome and Introductions



The Power of Data Visualization: Where are you starting?

This opening hour will provide an overview of data visualization, current trends, and how data can be leveraged within higher education moving forward. You will work through a guided activity to help you understand various issues of data governance and identify what the current culture of data sharing is on your campus – who has access, what data silos exist, and if you have established set of data definitions. It is critical to understand where you are starting before you begin your work in moving the needle towards a richer, more data-informed campus.



The Principles of Effective Data Visualizations:  Part 1 - The Basics

Data visualizations should be more than something to pretty to look at. Each component of a visualization – from the colors to the types of labels you use – should be intentional. This interactive session will provide an overview of the basic principles of creating an effective data visualization and allow ample time for practice.



Understanding and Meeting the End-User’s Needs through Effective Conversations

Holding more effective front-end conversations with stakeholders is critical to meeting their needs in a timely and impactful way. Through asking the right questions, you should be able to identify and understand the true research question or business objective behind the query, who will be utilizing the visualization, and how they want to consume the data. Having these discussions at the start of a program will allow you to determine the type of visualization that will be most useful.



The Principles of Effective Data Visualizations: Part 2 - Choosing your Path

Once you understand the needs of your end-user, it is time to determine the types of visualizations that would best serve them. During this hands-on session, we will discuss the types visualizations that are best for different types of questions, problems, and people. You will then practice showcasing a dataset in multiple ways.



Storytelling with Data

Answering questions in a silo has limited benefit. The ability to share data in a way that tells a story is a powerful tool. You will learn strategies to help you craft a narrative with your data.



Day 1: Reflection and Q&A


Day 2: Sharing Data Across Campus and Beyond


The Principles of Effective Data Visualizations: Part 3 - Dashboard Design

When dealing with complex, changing datasets, online platforms can allow for more dynamic, real-time visualizations. These dashboards allow users to get critical, timely information “at-a-glance” in an easily digestible manner so that they can make data-informed decisions quickly. This interactive session will showcase different types of dashboards, review best practices when creating a dashboard, and give participants the opportunity to develop plans for a dashboard that would be useful in their work.



Educating and Empowering Stakeholders

Many people shy away from dealing with data, so proper training across stakeholders is key to ensuring that the recipients of data visualizations understand how to read, interpret them, and make decisions using the data visualization is critical as you work to move your campus forward.



Final Reflection, Conference Close, and Evaluations



Dr. Scott Sportsman

Chief Strategy Officer & Senior Director of Research and Analytics, Miami University

As CSO, he assists the Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining division-wide priorities and high-priority initiatives and projects.

Read Scott's full bio here.


Brian G. Williams, D.M.

Vice President, Enrollment Management and Marketing, Roger Williams University

In his current role, Dr. Williams oversees undergraduate and graduate enrollment and the marketing efforts of the university. He has a key role in strategic planning and data analytics across the university enrollment efforts for recruitment, financial aid, academic planning, and retention.

Read Brian's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Kate Poisson
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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