University of Washington Deploys Tableau Campus-Wide to Enhance Learning and Drive Data-Centric Culture

Educators use Tableau to support exploration and reasoning while business and IT see significant cost savings with platform

Fecha de publicación: Junio 12, 2014 - 6:00am

Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA) today announced that the University of Washington (UW) has chosen Tableau to analyze data from multiple departments across the institution and is also using the data analytics platform in the classroom. While students are discovering the importance of data in enriching their learning experience, university administrators are using Tableau dashboards to find new insights and drive a data-centric culture across the campus.

The University of Washington selected Tableau after an evaluation that included speaking with industry experts, consulting with peer institutions, and evaluating its ease of use for non-IT users. The university conducted an eight-month pilot program in 2013 that resulted in the development of UW Profiles, a series of dashboards that the UW community can access to explore and understand basic university data, and aggregate that data at any level of the university, campus, school, college or department.

“Our goal with deploying Tableau is a cultural change around data, where people are able to easily get to the data quickly, ask advanced questions, explore, tell stories and derive insights,” said Anja Canfield-Budde, Director, Enterprise Data and Analytics, with UW Information Technology. “UW Profiles marks the first time we’ve produced a set of dashboards to review trends over time, and they’re being viewed by the people at the highest levels of the university.”

The current UW Profiles provides dashboards on academic data, including major enrollments, student credit hours, degrees awarded and student progress toward degree. Coming iterations will include budgets, revenue and expenditures, undergraduate applications and admissions data.

The UW Profiles project has shown the benefits of using Tableau. Previously, a single developer would take six to eight weeks to develop a single report for stakeholder review. With Tableau that developer can create 25 dashboards in three weeks. “The financial crisis of the past few years has necessitated the need to be more efficient, said Canfield-Budde. “Easily accessing our data helps us to discover new insights, increases efficiencies, and helps us manage and control our spending.”

Students at UW are also using Tableau. One graduate level course in the School of Computer Science and Engineering is using Tableau to study exploratory data analysis and its impact on understanding data.

“Our students are impressed with what they’re able to do with Tableau,” said Jeffrey Heer, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UW. “The learning experience is invaluable. It helps our students understand the importance of interactive analysis and how that supports exploration and reasoning whether you’re in the classroom or in a business setting.”

The students were able to download a free license of Tableau Desktop through the company’s Academic Program, which provides full-time students enrolled at an accredited academic institution anywhere in the world a one-year license of Tableau Desktop. Using Tableau also helps the students build strong analytical skills that are critical in finding a job in today's workplace.

Since August 2013, UW has been rolling out Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server across all three campuses. Some of the first departments to take advantage of this new offering include the Treasury Office, UW Advancement (development), UW TV, UW-IT Academic and Collaborative Applications, and School of Public Health. To support quick and easy adoption, the UW is centrally coordinating license purchases, distribution and maintenance renewal. Departments need only purchase Tableau Desktop and then have free access to UW’s centrally-funded Tableau Server. In addition, UW hosts an internal Tableau User Group and is offering a series of Tableau training programs to help people leverage the capabilities of Tableau and to drive a more data driven culture.

UW joins hundreds of other educational institutions that use Tableau for their research initiatives. Yale University, Cornell University and the University of Oxford are among those institutions that use Tableau to:

• Analyze student data: enrollment statistics, achievement and demographics.
• Target areas of the country for alumni activities and development.
• Prepare Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and other reporting.

More information about Tableau’s use in Higher Education can be found at

About Tableau
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