The University of Newcastle, Australia

Data transforming universities

Monday, 3 July 2017

Using data to make universities more efficient, effective, innovative and competitive was the focus of the 2017 EduData Summit in London recently.

Funded by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), six UON staff from UON Global, International and Advancement, Human Resources, Marketing, and Strategy, Planning and Performance attended as we seek to build capability around strategic thinking, planning, and execution of data analytics at an institutional level.

Director, Strategy, Planning and Performance, Joel Palmer said a highlight of the conference was the opportunity to meet counterparts from across the sector and the globe.

“As I am relatively new to the higher education sector, the wisdom that they were willing to share was invaluable in shaping my views on what we do here at UON, and what opportunities lie ahead of us,” Joel said.

“The challenges that UON has faced and continues to face in leveraging data for maximum impact are not unique to us - many institutions face similar issues and have had to come up with creative solutions to those problems.”

EduData Summit (12 – 14 June) aimed to share best practice on institutional data management and usage across rankings, accreditations, quality assurance, key performance indicators, performance management and bibliometrics.

A QS Rankings MasterClass covered areas of institutional performance improvement which rankings are likely to reflect, and offered one-on-one consultations with a senior team of QS data analysts and rankings experts.

“One of the recurring themes I really liked was that while university world rankings are critically important in a global market, a great portion of their value is as a diagnostic tool for universities to identify opportunities for their own improvement,” Joel said.

“This really resonates with me: improve the student experience and your overall outcomes, and the rankings should follow.

“I‘m keen to start looking more at how we can use rankings data to identify our greatest opportunities.”

Joel said the effective use of data analytics can also be a key advantage in addressing greater competition in the global market, as well as pressures that Australian universities feel in a policy and funding driven environment where operational efficiency is non-negotiable.

“From knowing how and where to attract students, academics and research funding, to improving the student experience, to more efficient management practices, data analytics has the capacity to allow everyone at the University – staff and students – to dedicate more of their time to higher value activity.”

To read more about the conference, visit the EduData Summit highlights page.

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