I’m Kevin MacDonell, primary author of content on CoolData, which has been going since December 2009. I’m also co-author of a new book to be published by CASE in January 2014, called “Score!”.
My real job is Acting Director of Advancement Services for the External Relations Department of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prior to that, I was a Business Analyst, doing data mining and predictive modelling for many Advancement functions, formulating alumni engagement metrics, and helping to enhance our performance reporting at the enterprise, program and individual levels. And before that, I worked in Annual Fund as an Annual Giving Officer. I ran Dalhousie’s phonathon program for two years, and conducted fundraising data analysis on the side. I started at Dalhousie in May 2010, after working as a prospect researcher for major gifts at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, for five years.
For nearly a decade I’ve been promoting the use of data mining and predictive modelling for advancement of higher education institutions both in my workplace and through presenting at conferences. This blog collects some of the interesting things I’ve learned along the way. I offer tips and shortcuts, neat ideas, discussions of issues — mostly related to data mining, but sometimes straying into other data-related areas. I try to balance my own views with the appearance of guest posts by others who do similar work.
I believe working with data has a lot more to do with attitude and interest than skills or tools. I have to say that, because I have no formal training in statistics; I was a journalism major! (See? I know how to use a semicolon.) The desire to contribute to decision-making at our institutions in concrete, data-driven and cool ways is a prime motivator for learning.
Kevin MacDonell, CoolData blog
P.S. — Feel free to email me, but unfortunately I may not be able to respond to requests for detailed help. I also do not write reviews of software or books. I do not do link exchanges nor do I sell ads. I do not accept submissions of guest posts that are not directly related to the subject of this blog. If in doubt, go ahead and email me, but if I don’t respond within a week it means I probably won’t respond at all. Repeated followup emails won’t help.