UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY

Pioneering a New Approach to Institutional Effectiveness, Change Management and Human Ingenuity Delivers $1.5M in ROI
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A New Vision

USU, like many universities around the world, is feeling increased pressure to do more for their students while it grapples with finite time, money and human capital. Despite the compounding challenges, USU’s approach and thoughtful socialization has established a new vision of what’s possible when higher ed leverages data science. And as a result, USU’s success unlocked $1.5M in ROI. 


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From Insight to Action

In just one example of how USU uncovered a new opportunity to support students, they found that early registration was a core predictor of student success—and unexpectedly—even more so than students’ high school GPAs. This valuable insight galvanized the executive steering committee to launch a comprehensive institution-wide initiative for motivating students to register early.

Over one hundred staffers united to create an awareness campaign that sparked a surge of constructive early student/advisor meetings. When registration opened, students knew what they were going to do and how to work with their advisors to make their newly-defined path a reality.

Uncovering an Unseen Equity Gap

Later when analytics revealed an equity gap, USU was ready to take action. Across the university, USU saw that their “at-promise” students had persistent vulnerability. And, in practice, these students were also being served less often because they were not raising their hand for help or setting appointments with advisors.

With this specific challenge, USU’s leadership and advisors rose to the challenge. The result?

In Just One Advising Campaign, USU Achieved: 

+67%

ENGAGEMENT
MEDIUM TO HIGH RISK STUDENTS
WITH SAME STAFFING LEVELS

+1.9PP

LIFT IN EQUITABLE OUTCOMES
YEAR-ON-YEAR PERSISTENCE
CHANGE WITH EQUITY FOCUS

$150K

IN RETURN ON INVESTMENT
ADDITIONAL TUITION IN 2019
IN THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION




Entrusting Advisors to Advise

In a way, USU leaders have simply encouraged people to do the work they were hired to do. The university incentivized the efforts to close the equity gap by empowering self-assessment, focusing on a return to the central tenets of advising, and providing the tools to equip advisors to directly affect equitable outcomes.

Their Key Takeaways for Success and Sustainable Outcomes?

According to USU, here are a few first steps that analytics leaders should take to steer analytics initiatives and sustain professionalism:

1

Invest in Mature Technological Infrastructure

2

Early On, Identify and Work with a Coalition of the Willing

3

Trust That People Want to Do Great Work and Use the Best Tools

4

Use Data Therapy to Address Common Resistances to Adoption

5

Provide Abundant Opportunities to Showcase Successes


“Analytics, when given the opportunity to shine through a sustainable lifecycle, fulfill the human need to share evidence with others that the choices we have made have paid off—basic human needs that are not going away.”

Mitchell Colver
Senior Data Analyst

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