EdTech Hero: Tim Renick leverages data to propel Georgia students to graduation


Timothy Renick, a religious ethics professor for more than 25 years, also happens to be an educational technology evangelist.

The two may seem many layers removed, but Renick doesn’t see it that way. The connection, he said, is quite clear: “I believe that we have a moral imperative to transform our institutions to better serve students.”

Renick, now the vice president for student success at Georgia State University, has taken that philosophy and spun it into a robust, well-developed academic advising platform that analyzes student records to monitor when they get off track academically and whether they might need additional resources.

The platform Renick developed, called GPS Advising, relies on 140,000 student records and 2.5 million grades to track 800 student behaviors or signs that suggest they may need academic intervention, he said. Some of those 800 behaviors include students registering for courses outside their degree programs or underperforming in prerequisite courses.

GPS Advising tracks more than 40,000 Georgia State students daily. During the previous school year, it generated more than 50,000 one-on-one meetings between advisers and students.

Since going live with the predictive analytics system in August 2012, Georgia State has increased retention rates by 16 percent, lowered the average time to degree by more than half a semester and raised graduation rates by 22 percent — all “by leveraging data and technology,” Renick told EdScoop.

These results have prompted 14 other institutions in the University System of Georgia to implement the GPS Advising system.

Read more from EdScoop’s series “EdTech Heroes: 25 State Leaders Making a Difference.”