The art of evaluation in higher education


I just returned from the NERDUG 2015 Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, where higher education institutions using Colleague by Ellucian gather from across New England to share ideas. As usual with conferences like this, I left inspired.

That inspiration kicked in from the moment I stepped onto Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) campus and met the team that shepherds students through the school’s rigorous Fine Arts and Design programs. RISD is a highly selective institution with a student retention rate from freshman to sophomore year of more than 90 percent. They are very proud of that fact – and they should be.

My time on the campus reminded how so many people have the artistic talents that I most definitely lack. We enjoyed a reception at the RISD Museum surrounded by the second-largest permanent art collection at any academic institution in the United States. The docents working at the museum did a great job filling us all in on amazing backstories for each artist and pointed out details in the paintings I otherwise would have missed.

Using technology to help select the best students
With my untrained eye and lack of backstory, I might miss the important details in the work of art I’m viewing. You can say the same about the processes these New England-based schools go through to review applications and select the best students.

These admissions departments do everything they can to comprehensively review prospects – carefully searching out the details and backstories before selecting an incoming class. And they do it in the face of increasing pressure to meet enrollment goals.

Throughout the conference, we had great conversations about how technology improves the admissions reading/evaluation process for schools exactly like those in the NERDUG community.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Tapping experts to help select the best technology
Moving across the higher education enterprise, institutions must evaluate employees and alumni like works of art as well. Missing details in the backstories or the ‘art’ they bring to their roles as faculty/staff and donors can keep school from making the best decisions.

And the one thing we can say about the current financial pressures on higher education is that there is very little room for mistakes.

I work with a team that can serve as docents for your institution on your path to a comprehensive digital student record. A team I am proud to work with. Together, we’ll review your works of art and make sure you are presenting the backstory and the important details up front as you view each applicant.

That way, you know you are spending time looking at what matters.


Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more... read more about: Laurel Stiller

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