Student Affairs Technology

EDUCAUSE Student Affairs Constituent Group Meeting

Title:  Student Affairs Constituent Group

Facilitator:  David S. Sweeney, Director for Information Technology in Student Affairs at Texas A&M


David got us started by talking about some of the tasks this group wants to take on in 2013 – 2014

First up:  compiling a list of Student Affairs-related commercial software tools.  David was going to send out a survey asking for this, but hasn’t gotten around to doing this just yet.  He found out that EDUCAUSE has a database tool that does this.  Paul said he would assist David with this.  Perhaps this list / data repository can become a good resource for all of us?

Next:  what kind of IT-related things have surfaced this year within SAIT departments and/or Student Affairs?  David created a list of these things, and talked briefly about the EDUCAUSE “Horizon Report” – two of the items on David’s list are on the EDUCAUSE list.  Readers:  go look at the EDUCAUSE Horizon Report.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to do that 🙂

…and the list, please…

  1. SoMe, a.k.a Social Media
  2. Explosion of tablets / BYOD (i.e. how do we support them?  How do we manage secure information on those devices?)  Do we go with permissive or restrictive models?
  3. Emergency reporting and the “dear colleague” letter (Title 9 sexual assault and reporting).  What mechanisms do we have for reporting these and OCR reports?
  4. Student Analytics, i.e Purdue’s “Signals” product.  How do we take that data and incorporate it into other datasets.  How do we count participation in particular events?  Texas A&M is using swipe cards for events to build up a co-curricular portfolio.
  5. Student Learning Outcomes and Co-Curricular Portfolio


In no particular order, we talked about the following stuff…my apologies to attendees for not capturing everyone’s thoughts!


There was some discussion about who IT reports to within Student Affairs.  Oddly, I’m the only one who reports directly to the VP of Student Affairs.  We also talked about centralized versus decentralized IT services.


It’s official:  student analytics is the hot topic of the year!

How many of us actively collect assessment data?  About five out of the 18 attendees are.  Assessment data collection by Student Affairs on many of our campuses is quite rigorous.  On some campuses, this effort was initially looked upon as a burden.  Many use the CampusLabs product (StudentVoice, Baseline, etc.).  Student Affairs clearly is clearly a leader in this space, but our ability to demonstrate the value of our data is spotty, and integration of this data appears to be a long way off in most cases.  I recently blogged about exactly this topic in this post:  “Should Co-Curricular Activities Contribute to Academic Early Warning Systems?”

University of Montana talked about being at “level two” of this process.  David asked a question:  are you running demographics analysis against this information?  Answer:  recently, yes.

University of Toronto pulls their assessment data into Oracle and use it to populate a co-curricular transcript (this sounds very cool).

There appears to be a general problem most of us face:  getting people to create / manage a data warehouse and do the data extraction!  Some campuses have invested in Crystal Reports and have built student data warehouses.  Where does the responsibility lie for doing this?  Should we educate others in our division so they can do it themselves?  One answer provided (sorry, can’t remember your name!) said that creating a department that professionally studies and manages assessment data has worked for them.  This is not a department of one, either, which was very encouraging to hear.

Texas A&M has a new (about 12 months old) student success department that analyzes data.

FERPA was mentioned by some in attendance as a perceived barrier for use of student data for analytics and reporting purposes.  This perception seems to vary from campus to campus.  FERPA is in fact NOT a barrier when it’s used by people who have a day-to-day business need for it.  Some campuses have data ownership “issues” that need to be overcome.

Paul talked briefly about how he met with LinkedIn CEO at Web2.0 conference about four years ago to talk about developing a service to generate a standardized format for co-curricular transcripts that could be easily imported into a student’s professional profile.  There was interest in this, but there was agreement that there isn’t one well-defined standard.  Maybe our group can think about what kinds of information should be in that kind of profile?  A number of great suggestions were made about taking advantage of Career Services’ expertise with what employers are currently looking for.


This group could undoubtedly have gone for a couple hours, but it was lunchtime so we reluctantly had to break.  There was consensus among the group to contribute to our constituent list serve, which can be found here:  Let’s get cracking, SAPros!

By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

3 replies on “EDUCAUSE Student Affairs Constituent Group Meeting”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: