Overall, I enjoyed this article in the June 2009 issue of 'Illinois Issues' and I would be interested in reading a follow-up article. Longitudinal trend analysis has long been a topic of interest amongst the institutions of higher education, especially in the field of institutional research/institutional studies (see the web site: www.airweb.org ). The public universities in Illinois have long had information systems that linked faculty appointment and financial data to course enrollment, course enrollment to student demographics and faculty appointment data to their assigned activities; the existence of these information systems has been mandated by the state of Illinois' Unit Cost Study, a performance monitoring tool of the Illinois Board of Higher Education ( www.ibhe.state.il.us ). The Unit Cost Study is used to answer the annual question of how efficient the public universities have been in educating the students, that is, what is the cost of instruction per semester credit hour.
As for me, I am a retired programmer/analyst who served SSU/UIS for many long years; I often provided software support for the institutional studies office at SSU/UIS.