Keynote Speakers

David Longanecker

Higher Education in the New Normal of the 21st Century – An Era of Evidence Based Change

Wednesday, June 1 @ 8:00 AM Celestin Ballroom, Hyatt Regency New Orleans

In recent years, higher education has attracted the attention of both policymakers and the public, and the searing focus is forcing institutions to be ever more entrepreneurial and innovative, cost-conscious, and outcomes-oriented. In this “new normal,” colleges and universities face tough questions about how best to serve a growing and diversifying body of students, even while their ability to raise revenue may be approaching its limits. Drawing on his long and distinguished career at the highest levels of postsecondary education policy, David Longanecker will reflect on how our industry has changed over the last 15 years and what the future holds. A central theme of his remarks will be how the effective use of data and information has been instrumental in building a case for change, how they have helped spur (or, in some cases, retard) innovation and effective practice, and how they will only grow more essential to effective higher education policy and practice. Longanecker will also take up what all these changes mean for the field of institutional research and what its practitioners can do individually and collectively to be positioned for success.

David Longanecker has served as the president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Boulder since 1999. Previously, Longanecker served for six years as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that he was the state higher education executive officer in Colorado and Minnesota. He was also the principal analyst for higher education for the Congressional Budget Office, and has written extensively on a range of higher education issues. His areas of expertise in higher education include expanding access to successful completion for students within all sectors of higher education, promoting student and institutional performance, assuring efficient and effective finance and financial aid strategies, and fostering effective use of educational technologies. His focus is on sustaining the nation’s strength in the world and increasing the quality of life for all Americans, particularly those who have traditionally been underrepresented. He holds an Ed.D. from Stanford University, an M.A. in student personnel work from George Washington University, and a B.A. in sociology from Washington State University.

Ben Castleman

Data-driven Behavioral Nudges: A Low-cost Strategy to Improve Postsecondary Education

Friday, June 3 @ 10:00 AM Celestin Ballroom, Hyatt Regency New Orleans

Students face a complex set of decisions and complicated processes as they navigate the road to and through college. Leveraging insights from the burgeoning field of behavioral science, researchers have developed a variety of innovative, low-cost strategies to help students make more active and informed decisions about the postsecondary pathways they pursue. Many of these strategies rely on access to administrative student-level data and publicly-available information about higher education opportunities and requirements to make information personalized, salient, and actionable for students.

This talk will explore the key role that institutional researchers can play in helping to develop and evaluate data-driven nudge strategies to improve student outcomes at their institutions.

Ben Castleman is an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He is also the Faculty Director of the University of Virginia-US Army Partnership on the Educational Trajectories of Soldiers and their Dependents. Castleman’s research applies insights from behavioral economics and social psychology to improve college access and success for low-income and non-traditional students.

Castleman has authored or edited several books, including Summer Melt: Supporting Low-Income Students Through the Transition to College (with Lindsay Page); Decision Making for Student Success: Behavioral Insights to Improve College Persistence and Success (with Saul Schwartz and Sandy Baum); and the forthcoming The 160-Character Solution: How Text Messages and Other Behavioral Strategies Can Improve Education. His research has been generously supported by numerous philanthropic foundations and has received extensive media national coverage from The New York Times, NPR, Time Magazine, and the Washington Post.