3. From your perspective, what are the emerging areas of interest in institutional research?
This is an interesting question and one we often have to manage internally around expectations. There are staff in the institution who are very committed to technology advances and are keen to discuss big data, machine learning etc., how we need to move into these areas, and how amazing it will be for the University.
While not disagreeing with the future opportunities, I am faced with a more pragmatic reality relating to managing limited resources and continuing to move us forward on our development path. We want to continue to ensure that staff have access to the ‘right information in the right format at the right time’ to be able to do their core business and ultimately identify areas that will improve the student’s experience and success. I am continually faced with the dilemma between what’s ‘interesting’ and what’s ‘critical’, and with the ever-increasing compliance requirements, changes to funding and the opening of new campuses, the ‘interesting’ part tends to fall to the bottom of the priority list. When determining new priorities or developments for our Unit, I constantly ask our clients to focus on purpose:
- What will you do with this information/analysis?
- What action will you take when you have this information?
- Is the information aligned with a key improvement strategy?
- If so, how will you measure its success?