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Decker Bio
Dr. Blake Decker

Blake R. Decker, Ph.D

Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Data, and Analytics

Dr. Decker joined WTAMU in June 2015 as Assistant Vice President for Learning Assessment in the Office of Academic Affairs. He received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Texas Tech University in 1998, and a Master of Arts degree in applied linguistics from Texas Tech University in 2003. Dr. Decker earned a Ph.D. in public policy with a specialization in higher education policy and analysis from the University of Arkansas in 2014.

In September 2016, the Office of Learning Assessment was reorganized to report to the Office of the President and was re-titled as the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Data, and Analytics. In his current role related to institutional effectiveness, Dr. Decker leads assessment activities for all academic programs and non-academic units across the university. These responsibilities include developing and implementing assessment strategies; collecting and interpreting assessment data for purposes of program and institutional improvement; training WTAMU faculty and staff in effective assessment practices; and facilitating assessment efforts related to SACSCOC and specialized accreditation entities. Dr. Decker also engages in program- and institution-level research that serves to support decision-making processes throughout the university. Recent examples of data analysis include conducting an in-depth study of student loan indebtedness of WTAMU graduates; implementing machine learning algorithms to create a predictive model that predicts student performance on a national certification exam for an accredited academic program on campus; and, examining the dosage effect of online coursework in increasing student persistence, a project Dr. Decker is coordinating with an external analytics partner that utilizes prediction-based propensity score matching (PPSM) methodology.

One of Dr. Decker’s professional interests is the use of various open-source tools to create engaging, interactive visualizations that communicate complex data and analyses clearly. He enjoys communicating with others about the use of open-source technologies for data analysis and visualization. To this end, Dr. Decker is exploring the possibility of creating an “R Users Group” for the Panhandle for anyone interested in using the open-source statistical programming language “R” for data science, machine learning, predictive analytics, data visualization, etc. Please contact Dr. Decker via e-mail at bdecker@wtamu.edu or phone at 806.651.4044 if you would like to receive future communication about the development of the Panhandle R Users Group.

On a personal note, Dr. Decker lives in Amarillo with his wife, Jenny, and their two children. His primary hobby is spending time with his family, as Palo Duro Canyon has become their favorite destination for hiking and camping since moving to the Panhandle. Dr. Decker’s family also enjoys attending various co-curricular events involving WTAMU students, faculty, and staff. Go BUFFS!

Dr. Blake R. Decker
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Data, and Analytics 
West Texas A&M University