Outstanding Staff of the Year: Allison Reeck

Allison Reeck

Primary management analyst’s expertise boosts student and coworker success

Allison Reeck, 43, primary management analyst in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, has been named the Inver Hills Community College 2024 Outstanding Staff of the Year. Allison began working at Inver Hills in July 2015; she became a shared employee with Dakota County Technical College in the spring of 2016. She served as interim director of institutional research at Inver Hills and DCTC for six months in 2021.

Allison thrives on interpreting complex, data-rich projects, research, and surveys in ways that make work easier for her coworkers while benefiting students in both campus communities.

“It is always a pleasure for me to hear that my work is useful for the people receiving it,” she said. “Receiving this award represents that to an exponential degree.”

Allison earned her Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2015. Her concentrations were Industrial/Organizational Psychology & Evaluation Research. Her thesis title was Ethics, Codes, and Immersive Decision-Making.

Ten years earlier, Allison was an honors program student at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Jewelry Design with a Minor in Cold Glass.

Allison’s professional engagement includes serving as co-chair of the MinnState Business Intelligence Special Interest Group (BI SIG) and as a member of the Association for Institutional Research in the Upper Midwest (AIRUM). She has worked on a variety of common reporting topics, including enrollment, demographics, retention, course outcomes, transfer, and more; she also excels at assembling business intelligence (BI) reports, a tool for preparing and analyzing data with the goal to discover and distribute actionable insights.

“To do my job well, I need to be able to understand how data works enough to identify errors. This often requires some understanding of the processes that create data as well as the organization of data storage. I need to be able to work with data in a variety of tools—and I need to be able to explain my results in ways that anyone can understand.

“I am a data wizard! On the best projects, I take something complicated and make it look and feel simple to the user.”

Allison Reeck
Inver Hills 2024 Outstanding Staff of the Year
Primary Management Analyst
Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

More about Allison…

Tyler and Larkin

Originally from Roseville, Minnesota, Allison graduated from Roseville Area High School, Class of 1997. Her family includes her husband, Tyler, who works in IT support, and their son, Larkin, 6.

“Tyler and I share our reading and gaming hobbies,” Allison said. “We met in college at UW-River Falls playing Dungeons & Dragons. Larkin loves hugs, books, tickles, and dragons to a degree I never imagined when we bought the dragon mobile for his room as a baby. He has had at least one book checked out from our local library continuously for at least two years.”

Allison and Larkin on Halloween
Allison and Larkin on Halloween

Allison added that their household is shared with two feline overlords, Sigyn, 18, and Sindri, 7. “One or the other is frequently on my lap when I’m working—and I have learned that typing over a cat is probably not ergonomically approved.”

She pursues a wide range of hobbies. “I have created jewelry in the past, not for a long time though,” she said. “The remnant of my artistic training that I would resurrect first would be drawing. I read quite a bit, mostly—but not exclusively—fantasy and assorted fiction. I knit and do some sewing. I play games of various sorts, video games, role-playing games like D&D, board, and card games.”

When the season is right, she enjoys flower and edible gardening. “I am currently working on reclaiming my gardens from the weeds that flourished in the first years of garden neglect after my son was born,” she said. “I only have one garden left to reclaim from violets.”

Allison and her family reside in Somerset, Wisconsin.

Allison family, life, and art gallery

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Allison Reeck Q & A

Allison Reeck
What inspired you to pursue a career as a management analyst?

I fell into this career, as my educational history may suggest, but I have no regrets. After finishing high school, I had thought of going into automotive repair (there are always cars that need fixing after all). I completed two-thirds of a degree at Dunwoody and decided that was not my thing after all.

I next intended to make a career in jewelry repair. I earned my B.F.A., went to work, and then discovered that was not my cup of tea, either. I went back to school for a master’s with the dual focus on industrial-organizational psychology—because I think work can be a better experience than it often is—and evaluation research—because if you’re doing things to make a change it’s important to see if they worked.

Initially, I expected to be going into human resources, or maybe into some sort of organizational consulting firm. Instead, I was connected with Wendy Marson, who went through the same master’s program at UW-Stout, and who needed a new analyst—and here I happily remain.

I have learned many things in my time here, developed many new skills, and come to appreciate the importance of critical thinking skills in a way I never dreamed of. It’s not a career I planned for, but it turns out it’s one I love.

What do you find most engaging about your work in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness?

Figuring out new things! Learning new tools and data. Answering easy questions is also nice because it makes people happy, but projects where I’m trying to figure out something new and complicated is when I find myself dreaming about work.

How would you explain the basics and purpose of management analysis in higher education to someone unfamiliar with the field?

I provide information about students to help people (internal and external) understand students better and so our schools can make better decisions to support them. To do that, I spend a lot of time in Excel most days and increasingly in Power BI for the extra-pretty and interactive tables and graphs.

To do my job well, I need to be able to understand how the data works enough to identify errors, often requiring some understanding of the processes that create the data as well as the organization of data storage. I need to be able to work with the data in a variety of tools—and I need to be able to explain my results in ways that anyone can understand.

I am a data wizard! On the best projects I take something complicated and make it look and feel simple to the user.

Three words that describe you as a management analyst:

How has your Master of Science in Applied Psychology helped guide your work as a management analyst?

Primarily, my degree provided me with the foundational thinking skills that I use in my work. There are a lot of projects where I’m diving into something new, either new data or new software, and I may be flying without a net.

I don’t necessarily have someone who already knows how to do the project, so I have to be my own first tester. I think through ways things could be going wrong and test for them using critical thinking and a scientific approach. “If X is true then the results should be Y, now let’s see if we can disprove that.” I also draw on the evaluation techniques, data analysis, and report writing that was part of the degree.

What advice would you give someone thinking about entering the management analysis field?

Be curious, practice thinking outside of the box and around corners, work with your users; people think in different ways, and the explanation/visualization/report that makes perfect sense to one person may make no sense to the next. The best explanation/visualization/report for the data is the one that helps the user understand and use it appropriately.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

Probably my mother. She’s still one of the first people I go to for advice and to help me think through ideas. She’s always been a caring, intelligent, and supportive person in my life, and she taught me so many things.

If you could make one thing happen on Earth right now, what would it be?

Reverse climate change.

Accolades from coworkers…

“Allison epitomizes going above and beyond for the college and the employees. I appreciate her and her kindness so much.
— Allison

“Allison is an unsung hero of Inver Hills and DCTC. She is the person whose data we use but whom people never see.”
— Barbara

“Allison is a great listener and is always willing to help me figure out both big and little challenges as they arise.”
— Mary Jo

“Even when the timeline is short, she finds a way to work on projects, meet deadlines, and does it all in an open, calm, and professional manner.”
— Jennifer

“Allison is continuously working on making every process she touches better/more useful by incorporating feedback from end users. She is patient with everyone she comes in contact with. Her professionalism is boundless.”
— Wendy

“I appreciate Allison’s work ethic, can-do attitude, and patient approach to others. She works very diligently to get us the information we need to do our (the college’s) work better!”
— Elaina

“In addition to being a great resource on all things data, Allison is always friendly and brings a great energy to meetings. Allison is a great asset to the college.”
— Martin

Allison Reeck 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Tai chi
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Japan
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Going to college
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy some land and build a house 2) Put money in all the savings 3) Take a nice vacation
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Legends & Lattes
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: 1,000 years in the future
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: I’d like to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary (I’d be 78)
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Raven
  9. Dream occupation: Data visualization/dashboard designer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Terry Pratchett
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Juggling
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Lack of unity
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