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KU leader to present at SXSW EDU

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

LAWRENCE — Efforts to improve student success at the University of Kansas will be on display at the education-focused component of South By Southwest Conference in March.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies DeAngela Burns-WallaceDeAngela Burns-Wallace, vice provost for Undergraduate Studies, will take part in a panel discussion on using predictive analytics at the SXSW EDU Conference March 5 in Austin, Texas. Universities are turning to the use of predictive analytics to improve key student goals, such as progress and persistence in degree programs and timely graduation.

KU has more than a decade of student data that can be used to establish success markers that help predict on-time graduation for any given major. Predictive analytics tools help advisers identify students most in need of help or who are approaching decision points in their degree program. The tools let advisers determine risk, streamline their activities, spend more one-on-one time with students and target the conversation during those meetings. The SXSW EDU program, “Beyond the Hype: Adopting Predictive Analytics,” will offer insight into predictive analytics tools and the process of successful implementation.

Predictive analytics can be quite effective, Burns-Wallace said, although planning and organization are important.

“Predictive analytics are powerful — getting to the right student at the right time and helping them get what they need,” Burns-Wallace said.

Although, interacting with students is the tip of the iceberg. Universities have to identify how faculty and staff will use these new tools and lay the foundation for their successful use.

“You have to know what you want to accomplish – your desired outcomes,” she said. There are questions and decisions along the way that will inform what infrastructure a school needs to have in place and how advisers will interact with students as well as the faculty and other staff.

All panelists, KU and representatives from the University of Texas at Austin, University of Florida Central and Georgia State University, are members of the University Innovation Alliance, a consortium of public research universities working to increase the number of graduates across the socioeconomic spectrum. All of the represented schools have begun using predictive analytics tools to assist students, although most are in different stages of implementation. The panelists will address their different approaches, successes and setbacks and how their membership in the alliance created a network that fostered successful strategies.

SXSW EDU 2019 logo“Part of the conversation is about the alliance and the power of sharing experiences. We’ve been able to move faster” because of the UIA, she said.

The conference attracts more than just educators and administrators. Entrepreneurs, technology innovators and public policymakers are interested in the ideas presented at SXSW EDU.

“It’s great to be part of that conversation, and we are adding to this conversation,” she said. “There are many who will take away important information, and there will be just as many who will offer new ideas to the conversation.”

SXSW EDU Conference & Festival runs March 4-7 in advance of the larger SXSW Conference & Festival. Now in its ninth year, SXSW EDU brings together education and technology thought leaders from around the world for in-depth workshops, learning experiences, mentoring, policy discussions, networking and much more. The conference strives to foster innovation in learning and empower participants through collaboration, creativity and engagement.

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