St. Petersburg President Bill Law speaks at the inaugural Moving the Needle conference.
Jesse Coraggio, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants, headed up planning the conference.
On Wednesday, Nov. 5, St. Petersburg College kicked off the inaugural Moving the Needle conference. The event is designed for college and university leaders across the country to engage in collaborative discussions about methods through which to improve the use of data leading to student success.
SPC, the oldest state college in Florida, is trying to change the way administrators at other institutions think about and use data, share best practices and learn from one another through this two-day conference. Key events are being streamed live online.
“A big piece of the conference is creating a culture where college officials and faculty embrace ways they can use data to help increase student achievement,” said Jesse Coraggio, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants.
SPC President Bill Law, a self-proclaimed “data guy,” began Thursday morning’s session by emphasizing the importance of using data to promote student success. He discussed the business intelligence data that SPC administrators receive each morning that allows them to monitor what is or is not working and how the college can better serve students each day.
Dr. Law also shared about The College Experience, the college’s initiative that monitors data for five key areas. The data allows administrators to track students’ actions to help them finish what they start, and is shared in weekly meetings that any SPC employee can attend remotely.
The College Experience is attracting attention from colleges around the United States. Even before traveling to Florida for the conference, Diane Snyder, vice chancellor of Finance Administration at Alamo Colleges, was familiar with the student success initiative and had listened to some of SPC’s weekly morning meetings remotely.
Dr. Mark David Milliron, chief learning officer at Civitas Learning, speaks at the Moving the Needle conference.
Along with several other administrators from Alamo Colleges, Snyder decided to attend the conference because her institution does not yet have a business intelligence or significant data warehouse and she said that they are trying to free up some funds to do more work in this area.
She was among more than 150 attendees from 26 colleges and universities that attended the conference, including eight presidents and 37 vice presidents. Attendees traveled from as far as Texas and Wisconsin, and included representatives from the Community College Research Center and Achieving the Dream National Reform Network.
The event’s keynote presentation was given by Dr. Mark David Milliron, chief learning officer at Civitas Learning. Milliron was the founding chancellor of Western Governors University, Texas, and also served as deputy director for postsecondary improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In his keynote, Milliron spoke about leveraging design thinking and advancing analytics for education and said he was excited that St. Petersburg College was catalyzing this kind of conversation. He described today’s greatest challenge as the need to help radically more students succeed and help students become more engaged in their education.
Travis Thompson, senior director of academic tracking and advising at the University of South Florida, participates in the Q&A with Dr. Mark Milliron.
“Thirty years ago, we only needed some students to be educated at the highest level. Now we need most students to have some kind of post-secondary education,” he said, emphasizing the need for tough-mindedness and the use of creativity in how institutions approach this challenge. “It’s going to mean the deep-data work and design thinking. It’s going to be bringing together the best of both science and art, art and science, to be able to help those students cross that stage.”
“There are millions of students on that pathway who want to use this as an opportunity to change their lives,” he said. “There are students in our midst who have made huge, life-changing decisions to be on this pathway. It is worth every bit of our effort to bring that tough-mindedness and creativity to help them succeed.”
Read Full Post »