Last week representatives of 10 institutions convened during the annual EDUCAUSE conference to discuss the past, present, and future of Blackboard Analytics. This first quarterly meeting of the Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Blackboard Analytics, along with our monthly community newsletter and first annual Blackboard Analytics Symposium, marks a renewed commitment to support our user community.

Higher education in the U.S. is in the need of change. But this change is not ours to make. As we begin to see increases in graduation and retention rates, particularly within populations that have not traditionally been well served by colleges and universities, it will not be educational technology vendors who are responsible. Instead, it will be the achievement of faculty, staff, and administrators working in concert with government and non-profit organizations to combine high-impact practices with thoughtful public policy.

In this, the role of educational technology is two-fold: (1) to respond to the needs of universities as they innovate, and (2) to create products that expand the imagination of innovators as they strive to evaluate, scale, and diffuse high-impact practices.

It is our task as a technology company to be responsive to the needs of institutions as they strive to be responsive to the needs of their students. For us, it is not a cliché to say that our customers come first. We have a passion for education, and recognize that it is our customers who connect us to learners, making it possible for us to support student success efforts on the national, and international scale.

As we invited people to participate as members of the Customer Advisory Board, we did so with the intention of making sure that the interests of all of our customers would be represented, and that we had people at the table who could speak to the concerns of every type of user. We also sought out institutions at various stages of implementation, but who also demonstrated a degree of passion and expertise that would render them mentors to others within the Blackboard Analytics community.

Group photo: Blackboard Analytics Community Advisory Board

Pictured from left to right: Mike Sharkey, Christopher Brandt, Corey Cardoza, Curt Sherman, Rachel Serrano, Kevin Joseph, John Whitmer, Michael Berman, Heath Tuttle, De Dawkins.

The Customer Advisory Board for Blackboard Analytics will represent our user community as they inform product roadmaps and provide consultation about new products and service offerings. As thought leaders in their own right, board members are also committed to supporting our community as mentors for schools that are working through issues of campus readiness and implementation strategy. Organizations like the University Innovation Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others are learning that there is tremendous value in meeting face-to-face to scaling high-impact student success efforts. With this in mind, the board will meet quarterly in conjunction with major relevant educational technology conferences including EDUCAUSE and the Higher Education Data Warehousing Forum, as well as the Blackboard Analytics Symposium and BbWorld.

The names and institutions of inaugural Customer Advisory Board members are listed below.

  • Kim Berlin, Director of Decision Support Systems (Stony Brook University)
  • Michael Berman, Vice President for Technology and Communication & Chief Information Officer (CSU Channel Islands)
  • Kara Bosch, Director of Financial Information Systems and Business Intelligence Solutions (Central Piedmont Community College)
  • Christopher Brandt, Strategic Information Analyst (Concordia University—Wisconsin)
  • Corey Cardoza, Director of Information and Learning Services (CSU Stanislaus)
  • Cat Finnegan, Asst. Vice Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness (Virginia Community College System)
  • Kevin Joseph, Director of Business Intelligence (University of Maryland Baltimore County)
  • Rachel Serrano, Director of Information Analytics (Appalachian State University)
  • Curt Sherman, Sr. Director of Strategic Initiatives & Investments (Concordia University—Nebraska)
  • Heath Tuttle, Asst. Vice Chancellor, Office of Information Technology Services (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Reflecting the broad sentiment of the board in general, Christopher Brandt from Concordia University – Wisconsin recently remarked that

“I am excited to participate in the new customer advisory board for Blackboard Analytics. It is an excellent opportunity for me and for Concordia University to have a direct impact on the future of a great product, in which we have invested so much time and energy. I am hopeful that the CAB will be able to offer leadership, generate excitement, provide value, and foster a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration around data and analytics in higher education.”

Our success at Blackboard is measured not by the number of products we can sell, but rather by the success of institutions whose high-impact teaching, learning, and administrative practices we support. Through regular in-person and remote meetings, the Customer Advisory Board for Blackboard Analytics will actively work with us to develop product roadmaps for Blackboard Intelligence and Blackboard Predict, and to help us understand how we can improve communication and support for our customers at large.

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