Ulster University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 3148-3156
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.0820
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Ulster University is a large regional multi-campus university located in Northern Ireland with a diverse student population. It has a high proportion of students who meet widening access and participation (WAP) criteria, from the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland. The University is required to annually monitor the profile of its students. It also sets and works towards annual statutory WAP targets which have been agreed by Government, using the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure (NIMDM) and other WAP measures. During 2022/2023, 37.3% of the undergraduate student population were from the most deprived quintiles. Jenny Piper, Chair of Council has commented, "

Ulster University is recognised internationally for academic quality and student experience as well as for its socio-economic contribution and is Northern Ireland’s largest university with over 27,000 students and 2,700 staff across all our campuses.”

The University’s core values are enhancing potential, inclusion, collaboration and integrity. As a University we value equality, diversity, and inclusion. We always endeavour to further diversify WAP opportunities.

The University collects data and uses data analytics for business intelligence purposes, for continuous improvement, to inform WAP policy and practice and to support and enhance the WAP student experience throughout the student journey from pre-entry, throughout their studies at Ulster University and onto further study and/or employment.

Each academic year the University uses a wide range of internal and external data sources in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to design new and/or improved interactive WAP data dashboards.

Developing a range of agile dashboards annually has proved to be an effective way of helping Ulster University to interpret data promptly, efficiently and effectively and recognise successes and cold spots to influence WAP Policy and Practice. The various WAP stakeholders across the University require different levels and modes of data for WAP. Using a collaborative and partnership approach helps us to ensure that the design, collation, interrogation and visualisation of data is robust and meaningful, fit for purpose and appropriately used.

This oral session will showcase a range of WAP data sources that have used by the WAP Policy and Research unit during 2022/23 to help Ulster better understand and support our WAP student throughout their student journey. Such data has been helping Ulster University colleagues: to better understand profiles and student needs; to use data analytics for effective WAP decision-making; to plan and evaluate the impact of WAP interventions and capture students success/learning gain. Data has been shared to help inform, inspire, motivate, drive, direct and steer stakeholders to work together to make a difference for WAP objectives. As Mile Schmaker has commented “Things get done only if the data we gather can inform and inspire those in a position to make [a] difference.” Chip and Dan Heath, authors of “Made to Stick” and “Switch" have also commented "Data are just summaries of thousands of stories–tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.”

This session will also provide discussion opportunities to compare and share meaningful experiences of using data analytics across Higher Education to inform policy and practice as well as offering a question-and-answer opportunity for delegates.
WAP Policy and Practice, business intelligence, continuous improvement, data analytics, interactive data dashboards.