Keynote Session Descriptions

(Return to 2018 Pittsburgh Conference)?

Sunday Keynote Address


Data-Driven Outreach for Student Success

Presenter:  Dr. Lindsay Page, University of Pittsburgh

One decade after high school completion, 14% of low-income students in the US have attained a bachelor’s degree, compared to 60% of their higher income peers. Support efforts often address one type of barrier in isolation despite the fact that students’ struggles are rarely limited to a singular domain. 

This keynote address will share evidence on the Dell Scholars Program, a holistic program to support low-income, primarily first-generation college-goers to achieve their bachelor’s degrees. This program provides both scholarship aid and ongoing, proactive support that meaningfully improves college performance, persistence and success for Dell Scholars.

The Program’s innovative use of data and technology provides a model for improving student outcomes more broadly. The session will conclude with a discussion of implications for institutional data use and programming, and how institutional research offices can be involved in data-driven efforts to increase college success of students on any campus.


Tuesday Panel Discussion


Data-Informed Decision Making: Challenges, Strategies and Lessons Learned


Dr. James A. Mello, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Claire Goverts, SUNY College at Brockport
Shama Akhtar, Bowie State University

Moderator:  Betsy Carroll, The Culinary Institute of America

This year’s conference theme, Creating the Bridge to Data-Informed Decision Making, highlights important aspects of IR, IE, and assessment work: that we advocate on our campuses for continuous improvement, support others in making decisions based on the strongest evidence available, and connect decision makers within and outside our own institutions. 

The current conversation in the IR field explores how data-informed decision making can be accomplished feasibly, effectively, and ethically.  In a challenging higher education landscape, there seems to be decreasing room for error when it comes to institutional or departmental strategy.

This panel will discuss the IR role in data-informed decision making, focusing on strategies and ideas that can be implemented to move this work forward in higher education.  In particular, the discussion will address student success, policy making inside and outside the institution, and ethical considerations for decision makers.