Member Profile: Sarah Barr and Heather Campbell
Follow the data.
That's the mindset that led Sarah Barr and Heather Campbell to careers in higher education analytics: Barr as executive director of analytics and technology solutions at the University of Chicago, and Campbell as director of analytics and data management at Princeton University.
The work, they say, is challenging, creative and ever-changing.
"As analysts it's not only our job to create with data but also to evangelize and prove its importance," says Campbell.
As co-chairs of DRIVE/, CASE's data and analytics conference this March in Baltimore, Barr and Campbell shaped a program rich with data-driven insights. Here, they share more about their career paths, what challenges higher ed faces around data and what they're looking forward to at DRIVE/.
What led you to advancement and your current institution?
Heather Campbell: I've always followed the data in my career path. After getting my masters in applied social psychology I worked in school evaluation and then marketing analytics prior to joining Princeton's development office in its first analyst role.
Sarah Barr: I came from the field of urban planning, working in community development. A lot of my work with the city government and community organizations centered around data and how to use it to make key planning decisions. That was the jumping off point for my work in analytics which was a newly developing field at the time of my transition to University of Chicago and the field of advancement. Developing an analytics program at UChicago was a lot like pulling together data and strategy (and people!) in many of the planning projects I had worked on over the years.
What's the best part of your job?
SB: I love problem solving with people. We have a great team (many of whom also came from urban planning!) and mapping out strategy for how to tackle a data or technology project with our partners and then seeing it come to fruition is the best part of the work.
HB: I love that my work and the work of my team is always changing. We are always pushing the envelope to be more innovative and more efficient, and uncover new insights daily.
What are you most looking forward to for DRIVE/? What do you hope people will gain from the experience?
SB: I am so excited for the DRIVE/ community to come together and learn the latest in data analysis and technology from one another. Some of the most exciting highlights this year will be around constituent and alumni engagement and the digital landscape. Communications and marketing technology is exploding in advancement and higher education and there is a lot of data to be harnessed there!
HB: Being with people who are passionate about the same things is inspiring. I hope that DRIVE/ will prove inspirational to all who attend and they are able to take that passion back to their institutions to keep pushing for more, better, stronger uses of data and actionable insights throughout their offices.
What's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten?
SB: Being authentic is everything. You have to stay true to yourself no matter what position or career path you take on. Also, the importance of being patient and practicing patience in your professional and personal life. It is really hard to do! But it pays off.
HC: "Something well-presented is half sold." That was from Mrs. Brumm in sixth grade. I guess that wasn't exactly career advice at the time but it still impacts my work just about every day.
What's something interesting you keep in your office?
SB: I love Joe Madden, the manager of the Chicago Cubs and I have his picture in my office. To me, he is a symbol of culture change and building great (winning!) teams!
What's your favorite spot on your campus?
HC: Eating clubs are Princeton's version of sorority/fraternities and some were established in the 1800s. The houses are very historic and often have a pub in the basement—a fun place to have the occasional office event!
This article is from the December 2018 BriefCASE issue.