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We would like to thank everyone who attended and made the 2012 Decision Support Conference a resounding success. We are looking forward to seeing you at the next one!

Below are the Workshop Materials from the conference ready for you to download:

You can also see the results of the exercises below:

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Introduction

The need for better decision making and decision support tools in higher education is vital. The human and financial cost of poor decisions can be staggering.

Consequently, many legislators, administrators and researchers are saying that new forms of decision support must be developed to deal with the complexities of our changing universities. And the business and academic literature is replete with new approaches and models purporting to solve the problems in higher education, including expert or rule-based systems, data-driven support systems, genetic algorithms, fuzzy logic, neural networks, machine learning, and case-based reasoning.

The proponents of these new approaches and tools argue that decision support systems of the future must be intelligent, fast, focused, flexible, intelligent, and stakeholder-oriented.

With all the new approaches and solutions being offered today, how can a busy financial executive or manager decide which decision support system is best for their university or college?

To make an enlightened choice, the leader must be able to:
(a) understand the context of the situation facing their organization;
(b) have a solid grasp of the alternative decision support systems and their implications for the organization;
(c) evaluate and test those alternatives by making predictions and evaluating their likely consequences; and
(d) decide the best approach and model for their university.

As an organizational function, decision support attempts to integrate many different databases, systems, methods and tools to help leaders make decisions. Two universities have been recognized as leaders in this field: the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan. Each of these universities has developed a unique decision support function. The missions, focus, organizational designs, and tools used within these decision support functions have faced different challenges and have evolved in different ways.

This conference will showcase the development, evolution and impact of these three decision support functions. The models and approaches used will be documented, assessed and compared. Finally, the conference will provide a first-hand experience of the people who were involved in the development of these decision support functions, and provide the lessons learned for designing and implementing a decision support function.

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Objectives

The purpose of this Conference is to examine some information technologies and decision support functions in higher education.

This Conference will:
(1) review some current research on the application of business intelligence (BI) and decision support in higher education;
(2) describe the state-of-the-art in advanced information technologies and decision support systems for business intelligence and decision making at three prominent universities;
(3) show how decision support function can enable leadership and improve the performance of universities and colleges; and
(4) introduce a set of tools for the evaluation, design, development, implementation, and maintenance of a decision support and business intelligence function at your university.

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Outcomes

The outcomes of this workshop will include the identification and articulation of the crucial behaviors and approaches that are logically and empirically related to decision support and the formation of a culture and organizational function that promotes and fosters business performance management. The relationship between leadership, culture, decision support, and outcomes will be highlighted. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of the implications of decision support for leaders in higher education.