Although increasing competition for students and tighter state and federal funding have become the new normal in higher education, at EAB we believe colleges and universities can preserve their mission and financial health through strategic, methodical resource allocation decisions.
We designed the analyses and peer benchmarks in the Academic Performance Solutions (APS) platform to support common decisions that academic and financial leaders face. For example, our APS reports and analyses can help with decisions on where to allocate a faculty line, whether to grant a budget request, or how to find cost savings that won't impede student progress.
In 2019, our priority is to build more robust program analytics in addition to APS's foundation of college, department, and course analyses. Extensive interviews with our members indicated that understanding the degree programs that departmental resources support provides a critical, additional layer of insight for resource allocation decisions. Today, APS can answer common departmental questions and in 2019-2020, we're focused on complementing these insights with degree program analyses.
Questions we can answer—and that we're working to answer in 2019
Answerable with APS reports
|Degree Program Questions
Coming in 2019-2020
||How many students does the department serve?
How much “service” teaching does it offer to non-majors?
|How popular is a specific degree program?
How is enrollment changing over time?
|Student Learning and Progress
||How successful are students who take courses in this department?
Are there high-priority courses that require completion rate interventions?
|How successful are students in progressing toward a specific degree and major?
|Human Resource Allocation
||What instructors and staff support the department’s operations?
How efficient are the department’s operations?
|What instructors and staff contribute to this degree program?
With what types of instructors do students in this program typically interact?
|Financial Resource Allocation
||How much does it cost to operate the department?
||How much does it cost to educate students pursuing the degree program?
Ready to get started answering departmental questions?
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The nature of interdisciplinary programs and inconsistent relationships between academic departments and programs doesn't make analytics easy. Today, APS’s platform development team is grappling with data and metric methodology decisions. For example, if we want to calculate the cost of instruction for the B.A. in Mathematics, which costs should be allocated in the situation described below?
- All BA Math students must take Calc 1
- The Mathematics Dept. funded 15 instructors to teach Calculus 1
- Only 10% of students who took Calc. 1 were pursuing a B.A. in Mathematics
- B.A. Math majors must take Comp. Sci. 10—which is taught by instructors paid by the Comp. Sci. Department
We have already begun working with our Product Advisory Council—made up of ten leading APS member colleges and universities who have volunteered their thought-partnership to EAB—to tackle questions like these and we are conducting numerous research interviews to learn about the nuances across individual schools.
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Our ultimate goal is to equip education leaders and their teams with more nuanced insight into their degree programs or portfolio of degree programs. Every degree program is unique, and leaders need visibility into how each program contributes to their mission and institutional sustainability to make optimal resource allocation decisions.