California State University, San Bernardino
Located at the base of the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, California State, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is home to about 20,000 students with about 4,000 graduates each year. CSUSB offers more than 70 baccalaureate and masters degree programs, educational credential and certificate programs, and a doctoral program. The university ranks in the top four percent in the nation for “value added” according to the Collegiate Learning Assessment. CSUSB continues its rapid growth in student enrollment and has seen continued increases in the student population, funding, fundraising, and international program development. CSUSB is annually ranked as one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States by multiple publications, including U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review, and Forbes.
With the rapid growth in enrollment and services, the CSUSB staff were finding it increasingly difficult to get the right information to the right people in a comprehensive manner. They were relying on Excel spreadsheets with pivot tables that were available online for people to view. When people would access the spreadsheet online, they would have to understand the information on their own. There was no “informed” population of data consumers and they were unsure about the appropriate questions to ask. CSUSB lacked the ability to efficiently share data, causing the president of the university to seek out an easy way to share student success dashboards.
Before iDashboards, important information was available to faculty and staff only through Excel spreadsheets. The process was clunky and the spreadsheets were often hard to interpret. iDashboards provides more comprehensive data analysis, and the resulting information is compiled into easy-to-understand graphics, which are colorful and visually appealing. Most importantly, it allows “non-data” people to use the information on their own — that’s proving to be an unexpected benefit.
After exploring several data visualization tools, CSUSB decided iDashboards was the right fit. They felt iDashboards was colorful, easy-to-understand, and simple to deploy. CSUSB also found iDashboards to be very affordable compared to the other solutions they had considered.
Since the implementation of iDashboards, CSUSB has created more than 20 unique dashboards, allowing the Institutional Research (IR) department to deliver data-driven insights, directly impacting operations on campus. With end users understanding data very differently from researchers and analysts, they found that having the end users involved in the development process helped them to quickly create useful and easy-to-understand dashboards. Since many of the end-users are “non-data” people, it is now easier for them to interpret data, and they are able to easily share the dashboards with other CSU campuses.
The use of iDashboards has reduced the amount of work involved for the IR team since it is simple, quick, and effective for making changes on their dashboards. Questions have become more complex and people have become more inquisitive, causing users to dive deeper into the data and make better use of the information provided in the dashboards.