Institution Meets Key Reporting Deadlines Thanks to Evisions Professional Services
Lamar Institute of Technology
In 2022, the Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment department at Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) received word from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that there were going to be changes to the state-required Coordinating Board Management (CBM) reporting, along with a new Recommended Course Sequencing provision (also required by the state of Texas).
These initiatives meant that LIT would need to modify and improve their data and reporting system to comply with the CBM changes and to implement the new provision – all by state-imposed deadlines.
The Institutional Effectiveness (IE) department would be spearheading these changes. The department wasn’t big and didn’t have a lot of experience in their current roles. The Executive Director was relatively new, and he had only recently hired a couple of employees. Not only would the new employees need to be trained on the existing reporting system, but they would also need to be quickly brought up to speed on the updates required by the state initiatives.
Lamar Institute of Technology has been an Evisions client – and using Argos as its enterprise reporting tool – since 2007. All departments across campus use Argos to run reports, while the Institutional Effectiveness and Information Technology departments do the ‘heavy lifting’ by designing DataBlocks and creating reports.
With the state-mandated changes, LIT needed a thorough evaluation of its current DataBlocks and reports to determine what needed to be changed and what would need to be created. They then would need assistance with that work.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, knowing that their required reporting changes would have some associated costs, made available to educational institutions a grant which could be used towards related expenses. LIT applied for and received grant money.
Using part of the grant it received, LIT engaged with Evisions Professional Services (PS) for assistance in making the mandated changes. They contracted a block of hours, during which the PS team:
- Consulted on their current reporting environment, reviewing DataBlocks and reports.
- Determined what Development services would be needed to make the necessary changes in the time required.
- Worked closely with the IE department to prioritize the various DataBlocks and reports to be created or changed, providing all specifications and details where possible.
- In cases where no report specifications were available, suggested possible solutions to gather such information.
- Executed all Development work – and did so within the institution’s existing environment.
- Trained the new employees on designing DataBlocks and writing reports in Argos.
Once all the various tasks of the project were determined, it took on average a half day to a day to scope out each task. When the work began, it took another half day to a day to execute each task. In the end, all the necessary work was completed within a month.
While the IE department at LIT could have done the work themselves, the time constraints of the project – paralleled with their other responsibilities – would have meant re-prioritizing their entire workload. And it was still unlikely they would’ve met the deadlines.
By working with Evisions Professional Services, LIT was able to ascertain all the changes needed, execute those changes, and meet the deadlines imposed by the state agency. LIT was particularly impressed with the Professional Services consultant assigned to work on their project. The consultant’s prior experience working in higher education – and the knowledge that came from it – was a huge factor in not only figuring out the reporting requirements and how to better access information, but in doing it all in a timely manner.
Finally, the PS team’s work with LIT had the added benefit of enabling more individuals in other departments at the institution to get familiar with Argos so they didn’t have to rely on a single department (or two departments) to provide the information they need.