UND School of Graduate Studies Blog

Happenings at The School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota

Posts Tagged ‘data

North Dakota shows healthy gains

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In results recently released by the Council of Graduate Schools from their CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees (Jan/Feb 2010), North Dakota ranked with gains on all three of the tables shown.

The first results are for states with the largest graduate enrollment gains (Fall 1998 – Fall 2008) – Vermont topped the list at 115% with ND in second position at 85%.

The second results are for states with the largest gains in Master’s degree production (1997-98 to 2007-08) — ND ranks 8th in the top ten states at 54%.

Finally, the third table shows the results of states with the largest gains in Doctoral degree production (1997-98 to 2007-08) — ND shows an outstanding ranking in first position at 226%, far above Mississippi (171%). Overall there was an increase of 25% in the national numbers.

In her plenary lecture at last week’s WAGS Conference, Debra Stewart, President of the Council of Graduate Schools noted that the trend in enrollment increases is seen in the western states and reflected many of the institutions that were represented at the conference.

This is good news, if you happen to be one of the schools in this region. Perhaps one of the reasons for this growth is our healthy state coffers. We regularly hear reports of schools in neighboring states and around the country making heavy-handed budget cuts, performing creative fiscal recoveries, new organizational structures and the enforcement of furlough days for faculty and staff. So far, we are fortunate to have avoided drastic measures, instead continuing along a fairly conservative path. We are able to continue funding our graduate students, supporting faculty research and furthering the mission of the university. Things look good here in North Dakota!

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Written by School of Graduate Studies

April 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Posted in data analysis

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Staff test a contender for greatest burger…and talk about graduate education

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Last week, a contingent from UND attended the Western Association of Graduate Schools Annual Conference. The conference was held in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – certainly a picturesque location and a great venue for focused discussions about issues concerning the current state and the future of graduate education both in the western states and the nation, more broadly.

Our own school was well represented in the presentations. The opening session discussed the organization of online education – the pros and cons of funding models and the need to be aware of expectations on faculty and students. The Graduate School Dean, Joseph Benoit moderated this session which included UND’s Associate Provost Victoria Beard, Dean of the Graduate School at New Mexico State University, Linda Lacey, and Chair of the Social Work Department at UND, Thomasine Heitkamp.

Graduate recruitment specialist Evan Nelson presented in the next session: “Delivering Graduate Programs in Rural Areas: Innovations, Challenges and Solutions”, and discussed our online-and-on-the-ground recruitment strategy for reaching out to rural and distance students. To best demonstrate the online component, Evan cleverly invited all of the conference attendees to sign up for My GradSpace to experience the system first hand.

Director of Admissions & Assistance, Linda Baeza-Porter lead a round-table discussion on Software and Processes: Friend or Foe? It is certainly recognized that while technology is essential, our various systems do not always talk to one another in a seamless way.

The two and half days of meetings gave us an opportunity to share common issues and find solutions, ask questions and to learn from those with unique perspectives and experiences. Debra Stewart, President of the Council of Graduate Schools offered the fascinating plenary lecture on the Future of Graduate Education: a Focus on Western Universities and Demographics. We are all eagerly awaiting the forthcoming reports.

Finally, you may remember last Fall, we posed the Great Burger Challenge after recruiter Matt Anderson gave a plug for a delicious burger at McCormick Cafe in Billings, MT. Our Dean soon followed with his review of Hudsons in Coeur d’Alene, so we felt that since we were in the area, we should at least judge for ourselves. Hudsons is tiny. And it’s one of the busiest fast food establishments I’ve seen in a long time. The menu is simple, every stool has a view of the grill, and orders coming from walk-ins, phone calls and take outs. I estimate in the short time that we sat, ordered, and ate approximately 50 burgers were made – and they are good! I think it is safe to say that our staff gave Hudsons the “thumbs-up”!

If you are in the area, stop here for a great burger

Hudson's in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Written by School of Graduate Studies

March 31, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Posted in people

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A litte bit about our applicants

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The Graduate School has several tools at it’s disposal to collect data which we learn about our student body and use to make more informed decisions et c. One of our critical tools is My GradSpace.

It’s almost been a year with My GradSpace — a great year, in fact. Traffic through our sites has been fantastic, students are gathering all the information they request and store it in one place, and we’ve had more applicants this year than we’ve ever had before.

My GradSpace also gives students the chance to tell us a little bit about themselves. We posted a survey, asking students which tests they have taken as they prepare for graduate study, and why they have choosen to explore UND. Here’s what students are telling us:

What tests have you taken?

GRE — 54%
TOEFL — 20%
GMAT — 6%
MAT — 2%

Why have you chosen UND?

Great programs — 76%
Great faculty — 37%
Great facilities — 25%
Spouse/relative — 9%

We’ve posted some new questions on My GradSpace. We’re curious where our students like to study, and we’re curious how often students are online. Log in to My GradSpace and let us know!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Posted in data analysis, Evan Nelson

Tagged with ,

Analytics observations #1

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted some data from a complete year of tracking our web site using Google Analytics. Collecting data is easy enough, but knowing how to use that data or determining what it means is another proverbial ballgame. Looking at the raw data such as the total number of pages viewed or the total number of visits can be rather impressive, but there is so much information we can glean from analyzing how people find our website and then, once there, how they use it. Looking at behaviors can drive decisions we make daily on the information we push up front, or the structure of our web site. Taking one example today, for instance, I can make the following assumptions:

Top Content

  1. /dept/grad/
  2. /html/admissionshome.html
  3. /html/programs.html
  4. /dept/grad/html/programs.html
  5. /dept/grad/html/admissionshome.html
  6. /html/landingpage-connect.html
  7. /
  8. /dept/grad/html/forms.html
  9. /dept/grad/html/landingpage-connect.htm
  10. 10.  /html/forms.html

The Content refers to the pages most visited by users of our site. The highest rated here is our homepage at 18.32% with the next four most frequently visited pages directed to the programs we offer and the admissions information for these programs. Of the ten most visited, eight are directly recruitment related – that is to say, providing information for prospective students on our graduate program offerings, admission requirements, and the process for inquiring and applying to the program.

The above “programs” hyperlink example is a significant one. This link on our navigation bar alphabetically lists all of the graduate programs by department. That makes sense. However, the hyperlink bounces away from our site to the department. This means for a visitor to find the appropriate information on our graduate program, that link has to be directed at an “external” link – ie: one which we have no control over and one that we hope is maintained and provides consistent information. We also risk losing their attention once they “bounce” from our site. This becomes a consideration for restructuring the site: change those hyperlinks to go to fact sheet information where we control the information.

Also rating in the top ten pages is that where we hold all of the forms for current students and faculty. These include all of the “business” items like programs of study, scholarships and graduation. Since Forms ranks so highly I am reminded of our internal processes!

To put the top 10 content links in context, Google Analytics has measured 472 pages on our site to date. And just for interest’s sake, the next 10 most frequently visited all relate to prospective students. If I am to base some assumptions on this activity I could argue that the greatest number of users of our website are searching for information designed for prospective students. This could influence HOW we present that information in a website redesign, making it more prominent or comprehensive. Furthermore, I can look at the least visited content and decide what prominence it should have.

Before making any major website structure changes, it will be important to look at the traffic pathways of those most visited pages: As an example, I’ll look at the same “top 10” and determine whether those visits come from direct sources, referred sources or search engines. But that’s next time!

Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 2, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Posted in data analysis

Tagged with , ,

One year on….

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Last Tuesday marked a full year of tracking The Graduate School’s current Web site using Google Analytics. So I thought it would be fun to share some of these analyses. Although the following analyses do not represent all of the information we are able to glean, it does provide a fairly comprehensive look at our visitor, traffic sources and content. While this might look like just a list of numbers, I’ll offer some thoughts on each of these stats over the next week in an effort to provide some “end user” impact.

Total number of Visits 212, 167
Total number of Visitors 109,673
Total number of PageViews 585, 793
Pages/Visits 2.65
Average time on Site 2mins 43 sec

Top 10 Countries for Visits

1. United States                        191,895

2. India                                     5,269

3. Canada                     4,183

4. China                        2,501

5. Bangladesh               1,437

6. Nepal                        1,199

7. Iran                           1,116

8. Saudi Arabia             692

9. Nigeria                      689

10.Cameroon                662

Top 10 States in the USA for visits

  1. North Dakota                       62,555
  2. Minnesota                           42,892
  3. California                            6,961
  4. Texas                                 5,304
  5. South Dakota                      3,990
  6. Florida                                3,948
  7. New York                            3,942
  8. Wisconsin                           3,337
  9. Colorado                            3,310

10.  Illinois                                 3,082

Traffic Sources

Referring Sites  60.66%

Direct Traffic     20.22%

Search Engines 19.09%

Other                0.02%

Top Content

  1. /dept/grad/
  2. /html/admissionshome.html
  3. /html/programs.html
  4. /dept/grad/html/programs.html
  5. /dept/grad/html/admissionshome.html
  6. /html/landingpage-connect.html
  7. /
  8. /dept/grad/html/forms.html
  9. /dept/grad/html/landingpage-connect.html

10.  /html/forms.html

Top 10 Browsers

1. Internet Explorer

2. Firefox

3.  Safari

4. Chrome

5. Opera

6. Mozilla

7. Camino

8. Mozilla Compatible Agent

9. Opera Mini

10. BlackBerry9530

Top 10 Operating Systems

  1. Windows                90.47%
  2. Macintosh              8.55%
  3. Linux                      0.58%
  4. iPhone                   0.15%
  5. (not set)                 0.09%
  6. iPod                      0.08%
  7. Blackberry              0.02%
  8. Android                  0.02%
  9. SunOS                   0.01%

10.  SymbianOS            0.01%

Written by School of Graduate Studies

January 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Posted in what's new?

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