Ghent University. Portrait of a pensive student carrying out test at lesson

Many universities around the world find themselves dealing not just with student data related to admissions and finances, but also data from education quality surveys containing students’ opinions on a large number of dimensions. This information alone could fill its own database, but many schools are figuring out ways to incorporate all this data that’s being tracked across the university.

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This is the case for Ghent University, one of the major universities in Belgium. The 200-year-old university has built for itself a strong student-centric reputation, and it offers students educational programs in a number of fields. The university has more than 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members across its more than 100 departments. Ghent needed a flexible technology solution to work with its data that combines ‘hard’ student, course, and financing information with ‘soft’ program and course evaluation information. Here’s how Ghent addressed its educational and administrative needs with business intelligence.

Visibility into the numbers

Ghent uses Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform to inform a large number of stakeholders throughout the organization. It pulls historical data about education from a number of sources. This data includes:

  • Number of students and enrollments
    • First time vs non-first time students
    • Full time vs part time students
  • Study success and program duration
  • Student grants and grant type
  • Program and course evaluation statistics

The university relies on Diver for its accreditation. Instead of undergoing an educational program review every six years for each of its 220+ programs, Ghent developed a program to evaluate its policies. This policy evaluation process goes through the six-year accreditation process. It uses Diver to analyze information about the number of students and teachers, their level, the dropout rate, and the degree of internationalization. It’s this visibility into policy information that helps exempt Ghent from the time-consuming process of the all-program review that happens every six years.

Self service

Hundreds of employees across the university use Diver, some using more than one application within the platform. Users range from administrators to department officials to teachers. The powerful tool is easy to use, meaning people don’t have to search out IT staff to help them get the results they need, which can take time, and the amount of help and type of information can vary depending on their position. “Now employees can find the answers on their own,” says Bene Lamote, the team leader of Ghent’s Integrated Management Information Systems team. “The tool gives them more insight.”

Scalability

Lamote knows the work will continue. Users have been enthusiastic about Diver, which is always good. However, that also means they continually ask for more from the product. When they see success in one area they want to know if it can make another aspect of their lives easier. “The fact that people keep requesting new information demonstrates the added value for the users, thus also the added value for the organization,” says Lamote.

That’s another important feature about Diver: its scalability. It’s not just the additional information that users are asking for – the information the tool is already being used to find could go through changes, or the policies the university uses the tool to analyze are always changing. “The tool allows us to adapt to those changes,” says Lamote.

Learn more

To learn more about how Ghent is using Diver, you can read the full case study on our website. Also check out these other articles on education technology:

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John Sucich

John has more than a decade of experience in education as a teacher, board member, and communicator. He also spent several years in sports journalism. John graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and from Lesley University with a master's degree in elementary education.
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