Making Data-Driven Decisions: How Do-It-Together Research is Informing Higher Education


When it comes to creating a highly specialized graduate academic program, it is important to design with precise student demand in mind. Outlining structure, delivery, and even tuition expectations cannot be completed in a bubble. It needs to be driven by high-quality data and targeted customer responses. Especially in today’s virtually-driven education environment, understanding potential student expectations is vital. Walter Rankin, Vice Provost for Graduate, Professional, & Continuing Education at Fairfield University, was tasked with gathering information from survey participants holding a Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree to gauge interest in a new Doctorate in Business Administration program.


Walter and the rest of the team at Fairfield University knew that this data needed to be captured quickly and reliably. InnovateMR’s Vision Suite offered a product collection that allowed his team to take control of their insights, work to build the survey themselves with the support of a seasoned research/sampling team, and control the message (which was crucial to convey in just the right way). With integrated proprietary sample, they did not need to access other third-party vendors; their target audience of highly educated participants looking to continue their education was highly accessible and gave them insight into the viability of their program.

“The Vision SuiteTM has significantly enhanced how we think about data-driven decision making, and has given us an innovative way to consider and further validate our new program research processes. The Vision Suite has allowed us to reflect and iterate on potential program options, and it does so in easy-to-use, fast, and cost-effective ways”, Walter said. “Both the platform and support team have been incredibly responsive. Simply stated, InnovateMR’s Vision Suite has provided Fairfield University with the current, evidence-based data needed to guide our program planning with more confidence”.


Expanding reach: Walter and his team at Fairfield University were able to increase their survey scope to gauge real-world viability to best position their program for success beyond traditional methods.

Confirming program viability: The team was able to confidently confirm that there was interest in this prospective program and could more effectively begin the creation of their program.

Beginning marketing campaigns: Understanding that students were interested in online-first learning allowed the team to prioritize this in their program design, and craft poignant messaging that would resonate specifically with prospective students.

About this case study

Business issue:

  • Build brand equity
  • Service repositioning
  • Multinational branding

Client organization:

Fairfield University is a Jesuit institution that prepares undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education
students for leadership and service in a constantly changing world. Approximately 5,000 students from 35 states, 46 countries, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are enrolled at the University’s six schools. The University was founded in 1942 in the scenic shoreline community of Fairfield, Connecticut.

Client industry: Higher Education, University

Project year: 2021

Header Image: Robert Bye, Unsplash

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest news.