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Tuesday, October 10 • 10:15am - 11:45am
Data-driven Storytelling: What’s Wrong With Traditional Reporting? (90 mins)

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The idiom “like nailing jelly to the wall” refers to the impossible task of capturing something that, by its very nature, resists constraint. In a 2013 Currents article entitled It’s Like Trying to Nail JELL-O, the authors argue that traditional measures of ROI in higher education fundraising are incapable of predicting and assessing performance. They advise using a variety of metrics to get a holistic picture. Likewise, many engaged institutions find it difficult to capture the full scope and spectrum of their anchor mission’s impact. The University of Nebraska – Omaha is one of those institutions. Traditional measures of engagement (# of service-volunteer hours, value of service-volunteer hours, # of service learning courses, # of partnerships) are not representative of the many ways the University contributes to and benefits from the community.
At the 2016 CUMU conference, our team (listed above) presented research pertaining to UNO’s campus-wide effort to measure and assess community engagement. The lively and engaging panel discussion drew interest from audience members dealing with a similar issue on their respective campuses. This community conversation will extend and expand that dialogue. It asks whether there is a better way to tell the story of campus community impact in lieu of or in addition to the traditional metrics. Attendees will consider the current state of community engagement measurement, assessment and evaluation; the strengths and weaknesses of traditional measures; how it intersects with campus culture; its implications for institutionalizing engagement; and the challenge(s) it presents for their campus.


Keristiena S. Dodge

Project Specialist, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Deborah Smith-Howell

Associate VC for AA and Dean for Graduate Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Anthony Starke

Doctoral Candidate, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Tuesday October 10, 2017 10:15am - 11:45am MDT
Colorado B