2018 Candidate Profiles

Voting has Closed

Candidate profiles are provided below for the positions ​of ​Vice President, ​Member-at-Large, and ​Nominations and Elections committee member.

Each candidate responded to two questions: one regarding the future of IR and what the AIR Board should be considering, and the second regarding the skills and experiences the candidate can bring to an AIR leadership role. The individuals running for the Nominations and Elections committee also responded to a third question regarding their experiences recruiting people for roles in an organization.


Vice President

(2 candidates / 1 position available)​


Martin B. Fortner, Director of Institutional Research & Effectiveness, Northeast Lakeview College

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

For the future, IR professionals will be required to assume increased leadership roles in four crucial areas: strategic planning and reporting, institutional effectiveness, predictive analytics, data governance, and accreditation. Current advancements in technology have​ created "real time" data access for postsecondary education stakeholders requiring immediate information for institutional mission attainment. This condition is expected to result in future expansion of IR's mission critical role to include data governance oversight. Prudency dictates enhancement of current AIR professional development strategies to include emphasis on systemic based evaluation in the following areas:

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  • Enrollment management
  • Academic assessment
  • Performance evaluation metrics
  • Pred​ictive analytic technologies
  • Student matriculation success
  • Data reporting and accreditation

Expanded AIR career enrichment opportunities provides new and current IR practitioners with relevant institutional data integrity insights critical to expected leadership roles. Maximizing current professional development resources further demonstrates AIR's core value of membership responsiveness under the present policy governance structure.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have acquired policy governance experience as a member at large during my three year tenure on the AIR Board of Directors. This experience reinforced continued belief that communication and cooperation are essential elements to professional respect and trust. As such, my leadership style finds compatibility with espoused AIR policy governance principles that emphasize membership participation and professional collaboration. 

My recent leadership experiences at the college, university, and system management board levels primarily addressed responsibilities for developing information resources in support of decision-making as related to educational policy, mission attainment, and institutional practice. 

Acquired leadership skills focused on demonstrated ability to communicate and collaborate with multiple stakeholders. In particular, my communication/collaboration philosophy focuses on the notion of diplomacy with special emphasis on establishing mutual trust and respect. An example of my diplomacy skills finds credence in efforts to achieve centralization of institutional research offices within the Southern University System. 

Based on a presidential directive, I established an organizational structure which maximized system-wide institutional research capabilities for greater coordination, responsiveness, and effectiveness. This collaborative relationship involved, but was not limited to, the attainment of system-wide data integrity and report quality initiatives. In particular, the centralized IR organizational concept served as a cornerstone to an institutional effectiveness continuum which fostered attainment of system wide data priorities without violating mission critical autonomies reserved to campus affiliates.

Acceptance of this centralized concept was predicated on a leadership style characteristic of effective communication, diplomacy skills, mutual trust, and professional respect. SUS IR centralization subsequently resulted in the establishment of system-wide data governance policies. 

My leadership skills as noted were developed and further refined through professional work experiences acquired with the United States Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), formally the General Accounting Office, and the Louisiana Legislative Auditor Office. In addition to previous AIR Board of Directors experience, I served as a former President of the Traditional Black Colleges and Universities, (TBCU) an AIR special interest group.


Michelle Hall, Director, Institutional Research, Southeastern Louisiana University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

I think institutional research can become a more prominent and important part of higher education. With the proliferation of 3rd parties being involved in data and increases in technology, more people will have access to data big and small, whether the data is valid or not. Institutional researchers have the skills to help evaluate the validity and feasibility of data and results and are uniquely positioned to see the "big picture" for an institution. Also, reporting requirements are not going away, they may change, but they will still exist, and in most cases IR will still be responsible for these. AIR will need to support our knowledge and skill development in both areas and I would like to see AIR working with other organizations to play a larger role in the higher education community and provide a voice for institutional researchers in the conversations. Providing a voice may be a difficult task given the variety of needs, resources, and skills in the IR community, but I think it can be done and is important.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have served on the SAIR board in several roles (VP/President/Past President, Treasurer, Member at Large) for a total of eight years. Also, I served three years on the LAIR board. In addition, I served on the AIR Board from 2006-2008 as Forum Chair/Associate Forum Chair. More recently I served as a Member at Large on the AIR Board from 2014-2017 (the last two years as Board Treasurer). 

During the latest term on the AIR Board I had first-hand experience with Policy Governance, AIR's current governance model. Policy Governance allows for the Board to focus on the "big picture", where we want AIR to go, rather than how we get there. This governance model does have its challenges, but it also provides the Board with the opportunity to be collaborative and listen to all the voices at the table and those they represent.



Member-At-Large

(6 candidates / 3 positions available) 


Craig W. Abbey, Associate Vice President and Director of Institutional Analysis, University at Buffalo

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

Constrained resources, the continually increasing demands for accountability in the both public and private sectors, and savvier consumers (students and parents) will require institutional researchers to become more efficient in their work. Analytic studies, decision support and mandated reporting will continue to form the core of the profession. Handling these functions as efficiently as possible will free up time to expand into other areas. Depending on institutional size, control and context, responsibilities will continue to vary with some institutions taking on student learning assessment, others handling accreditation. 

 The movement from reporting, to business intelligence, to predictive analytics will continue. The next wave of advancement will move to prescriptive analytics. No longer will it be enough to report on what happened or what we think will happen, institutional researchers will be called upon to help institutions understand what will happen and what to do about it. Through big data that have more frequency than census enrollment data, for example such as card swipes, use of library resources, Wi-Fi pings, and transportation data, institutional researchers will be called upon to target interventions to individual students. Much like Amazon uses its data to predict what people might want to buy, institutional researchers will help their institutions identify students at risk of attrition and suggest interventions before it is too late.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have served on the AAUDE board of directors (Council) for the past three years. In my second year, I was Council Chair (president). AAUDE is a data exchange made up of research universities that seek to improve the quality and usability of data to support institutional analysis and benchmarking. During my time on the AAUDE Council, we reviewed our governance model, considered the Policy Governance model that AIR uses among others and set forth a new governance model that worked best for the mission and size of AAUDE. As immediate past chair, it is my role to train new board members on the roles and responsibilities of board members. In my time on the board of directors of my local volunteer fire department, we set department policy, raised money from the community for equipment and managed a benevolence fund for the benefit of members. As a civil officer in the department, my role did not extend to leadership at emergency scenes which was handled by line officers. This delineation required both groups to know their roles and responsibilities and to adhere to them to ensure a smoothly functioning department. As president of the fire department, I led the board, presided over meetings and work closely with the fire chief. On both boards, I used tact and diplomacy to ensure the proper functioning of the board and that allowed for frank conversations.


Soon Merz Flynn, Vice President for Effectiveness and Accountability, Austin Community College District

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

I believe that IR is at a crossroads. We are being asked to provide information in a way we're not used to. In our fast-paced world, decision-makers want information, not just data, that has been pre-digested, easy to read, and contain recommendations with the related rationale. Traditional IR has, in the past, provided unbiased data, generally accepted to mean "just the facts." The profession has generally attracted people who are comfortable with providing "just the facts." We are now being asked to provide more, to anticipate the questions, provide value-added analyses, and to apply our professional expertise by offering recommendations. It has been a difficult transition for many IR professionals. However, if IR cannot make the transition successfully, the decision-makers will go somewhere else. The many predictive analytics products flooding the market are examples of how what IR does currently can be devalued. Who needs an IR shop when a software application can run the numbers better and faster than a coding human? What IR brings to the table is the ability to make sense of the data and we need to capitalize on the skills we have in that area.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have served as the VP/President/Past President for TAIR, the Texas affiliate. I also serve as a board member for the Association for Higher Education Effectiveness (AHEE), the Pflugerville Education Foundation, an affiliate organization that supports the Pflugerville Independent School District, and have served as the Treasurer for the Austin Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I understand how organizations work to serve their constituents. In addition, my college operates under the policy governance model so I am well aware of the distinction between policy governance and administration.


Michele J. Hansen, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Institutional Research and Decision Support, IUPUI

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

I think that this is a pivotal time for institutional researchers and we are in a time of transition. Although having a high-level of technical skills in the areas of data extraction and analyses, assessment, survey research, program evaluation, research methods, and visualization of data is key, it is also vital that IR leaders and analysts build relationships with key decision makers across campuses, understand context, and be at the table when critical decisions are made. As a profession, we will only successfully move the needle on key organizational and student success measures if we go beyond our roles as data crunchers and assume the roles of data educators/facilitators. The new IR leadership role means that we ensure that all various sources of data is leveraged and we work to promote data literacy and continuously build capacities for and cultures of data-driven decision making. Those in IR roles need to skillfully put data in the right context and advocate for a seat at the table early in the decision-making process when our input can better shape desired outcomes. IR analysts and leaders may need new sets of skills in understanding the anatomy of decision making and political and operational contexts at institutions. This may also entail a deeper understanding how an institution works and how faculty members do their jobs, for example. AIR has the opportunity to help members, particularly those in small-staffed offices with little time to do in-depth data analysis often needed to help senior leaders tackle complex decisions, develop the right type of skills and equip them with the right toolkits to more effectively respond to the information needs of their respective institutions. IR leaders also need to become better data narrators so they can tell better stories behind the numbers and analyses which translates into effective decision making and impact. Again, our office was recently featured in a Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled Higher Ed's Data Experts Face a Crossroads (8/31/2017) and this article articulates many of my views about the future of IR.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have skills in group deliberation and facilitation aimed at creating more informed and better decision processes making by allowing group members to share perspectives, engage in effective dialog, and reason through the critical issues. As a board member these skills along with policy analyses, monitoring of strategic goals, and holding leadership accountable are critical to being an effective board member. I have served as a leader of many faculty, data governance, and data policies committees at the university-level that require these skills. Additionally, I am a social psychologist with an educational background as well as wealth of professional experience in helping organizations effectively manage change and make more effective decisions (in groups) Admittedly, I have not served on a formal board in my community or with the Indiana Association of Institutional Research. I am seeking this opportunity as a first step in becoming more involved and making a more meaningful contribution to AIR.


Wendy Kallina, Director of Academic Analytics, Kennesaw State University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

Institutional research is critical in a time of increasing accountability and growing demand for decision support. That said, institutional structures and leadership influence how IR looks at each institution. For some, the IR shop is simply a reporting office and there is little chance of inviting IR to the big table for input. Some shops may find themselves having to let go of IR tasks as products to automate reporting are implemented in IT or in BI divisions. Other shops may find reporting, assessment, and analytical tasks added, often with little understanding of how expertise and experience in one area (e.g., IPEDS) does not necessarily lend itself to forecasting or predictive modeling.

I believe that the field of institutional research will continue to expand and we will continue to welcome our colleagues from IT, enrollment, student affairs, etc. But just as we would not expect a 15th century history scholar to have the same level of expertise across the 16th‐21st centuries, we cannot expect every IR professional to be experienced, expert, or even interested in every topic or task that IR embraces. IR is not a single set of skills or tasks - it is growing as a discipline and specialization is occurring.

To meet the needs of an institution, IR professionals should be included in the discussions about those needs rather than simply receiving a request thrown over a wall. To me, this means that institutional researchers will need to continue to hone their communication skills and increase their understanding of the issues facing higher education. Being able to produce a DFW rate is very different than being able to translate it into decreased capacity and a barrier to student success.

If I had answered this question five years ago, it may have been a glowing essay on dashboards, business intelligence, and "just‐in‐time" data. Having been involved in both successful and not so successful implementations of decision‐support tools, software, etc., I am now convinced more than ever that the data demands of institutions often exceed their data literacy. As IR continues to mature and higher education moves towards more transparency, our role as educators and interpreters will continue to expand.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I served as the President of GAIRPAQ, a 3‐year term with conference and nominating committee responsibilities. I am currently a Member‐at‐Large for SAIR and am excited about my responsibilities and tasks for welcoming new members. I served as the President of Prevent Child Abuse Heart of Georgia and, as a faculty member, provided free consultation and assessment assistance to community non‐profits on request.


Tim Stanley, Director of Institutional Research, Utah Valley University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

We find ourselves as institutional researchers increasingly in roles of leading institutional efforts around the collection and use of data, even though many people collecting and conducting analysis are outside the traditional office of institutional research. IR professionals often become coaches or consultants within their own organizations—while at the same time being charged with maintaining the sanctity of these same data sets. IR must partner with departments across campus to leverage data, techniques, and increasingly sophisticated tools to help decision makers at all levels get information they need when they need it most. Similarly, AIR must continue to partner with other professional associations and organizations within higher education to help stimulate this collaboration. We have made an effort to have analysts present at various conferences alongside their key clients—and when possible, bring them with us to present at AIR and our regional IR meetings.

Additionally, performance funding and broad questions of the “return on investment” from both governments and students put the measurement of the value of higher education in the forefront of challenges that IR must face. IR must help lead the charge in tackling these fundamental questions facing higher education.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I’ve worked in leadership positions in institutional research and institutional effectiveness for multiple years, but I’ve also had leadership experience in the private sector (market research). While in institutional effectiveness, I’ve consulted with departments on their strategic planning—attempting to bring passion to a frequently thankless and underappreciated process. In leadership positions I’ve pushed for democratic decision-making, soliciting lively discussion and shared understanding before reaching a decision. Additionally, I’ve held leadership positions in UVU’s professional staff association and the Utah ACT committee.

I’ve been involved in hosting and evaluating a wide variety of conferences and symposiums; including sci-fi/fantasy conventions, the Utah ACT conference, a regional institutional effectiveness symposium, and Utah’s BANNER User’s Conference (as the BI track chair for multiple years), and helping with UVU’s professional development “Summer University.”

Beyond conferences, I’ve helped to establish training, workshops, and curriculum for a variety of venues. This includes “Data and Design” discussions where data producers gather to share and get feedback on their projects from across the institution and long-standing traditions like “IR Mythbusters,” where IR analysts tackle some of the biggest myths on campus.

I’ve participated as a subject-matter expert and lead for a pilot institution in the development of the Statement of Aspirational Practice, as well as several other envisioning/ideation efforts locally and nationally. To me, effective governance boils down to (1) clearly understanding needs of constituents, (2) creating and communicating a shared vision, (3) focused attention to the intended outcomes of that vision, and (4) being willing to question tradition and explore new opportunities.


Eric Yang, Director of Institutional Analytics, The George Washington University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

With rapid growth of information technology and shift in higher education landscape, IR’s roles have significantly expanded from traditional reporting and ad-hoc research support for senior administration to leading campus-wide big data analytics to support strategic initiatives and student success. The concept of three Vs of Big Data (high volume of data, large variety of data type, and high velocity of analysis response) reflect the future direction for institutional research and a paradigm change is happening on campus. Institutions have gradually begun to strengthen their capacity to handle complex data and meet increasing analytics demands. More and more IR offices are building collaborations across campus and growing into a hub for research and business intelligence. However, not every institution, not every institutional researcher, has engaged in this evolution due to various factors and restrictions. AIR and its affiliations play an important role in shaping IR as a profession and developing the competencies of institutional researchers to meet emerging needs.

I firmly believe IR, as a profession of more than 50 years old, is at the most promising and challenging point. My own career journey reflects the evolution in IR. I took a newly created position as the Director of Institutional Analytics at the George Washington University over the traditional position as the Director of Institutional Research at a state flagship university in which I was responsible for state and federal reporting duties of eight campuses.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have served as the President-Elect, President, and Past-President of the Overseas Chinese Association for Institutional Research (OCAIR). I was the Treasurer/Board member in the Virginia IR group (VAMAP) for seven years. I was also on the Nominating Committee of SAIR.

Within AIR I have served on the Nominations and Elections Committee for two years and the eAIR IR-in-the-Know Committee for three years. In addition, I have contributed as a track reviewer for more than ten years and a presenter more than ten times at AIR annual forums.

Through years of professional service, I have gained experience in collaborating with multiple players and developing a win-win strategy, reaching consensus both as a leader and as a member, and more importantly, thinking innovatively and strategically for the continuous growth of an organization.


 

Nominations and Elections Committee

(6 candidates / 3 positions available) ​


Victor Borden, Professor, Indiana University Bloomington

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

The practice of IR is growing nationally and internationally and, at the same time, it is being reshaped by broader trends in globalization and technology. The future of IR includes the further expansion of horizons across borders outside and within our institutions and organizations. We become more effective practitioners as we collaborate with IR colleagues in Europe, Africa, the Middle East or Asia, or with organizational colleagues in Teaching and Learning, IT, academic and student support services.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I served on the AIR Board for 5 years in the Forum Chair and Presidential Roles. In addition, I was a member of the Professional Development Committee for six years. I also served as President of the Indiana Association for Institutional Research.

What experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

In addition to coordinating an IR Graduate Certificate program, I was program coordinator for the doctoral Higher Education program at Indiana University for three years, during which we admitted very talented and diverse students into our program. Previous experience as a member and chair of the AIR Nominations and Elections Committee, as well as with several state organizations (VAMAP and INAIR), have provided me with a range of experience in recruiting people, especially those from under-represented groups, into the organizations in which I have served. 


Nancy D. Floyd, Director of Institutional Analytics, North Carolina State University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

I truly do not believe that institutional research has ever been more important in determining the future of higher education than it is right now. Decision support will make the difference as to whether we act on the basis of credible evidence or not. Institutional researchers are trained to use techniques to collect, preserve and present that credible evidence, and our success at promulgating those techniques and ethical practices among the members of our profession will determine the quality of that evidence.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I was the president of SCAIR (South Carolina AIR) from 2006-2009; during this time I co-chaired and planned the joint SCAIR/NCAIR meeting in Asheville NC in 2008. I was asked by the Board to chair the effort to revise the SCAIR bylaws and we produced the version that was adopted in 2011. This draft was intended to incentivize participation from all sectors of institutions in SC and to enable the organization to use electronic means of meeting and voting. I was elected Secretary of SAIR and served in that capacity from 2014-2016; the primary responsibility of the Secretary is to produce three newsletters throughout the year and to take notes at meetings of the Board. At my last two institutions, I have also taken a lead role on committees that deal specifically with shared data governance and collaborative decision-making.

If you are interested in being a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, what experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

During the years that I was a member of SCAIR, it was a small organization that struggled to stay afloat, so most of our officers were actively recruited to run. We tended to draw our leadership primarily from the staffs of the University of South Carolina and Clemson IR/IE offices, and we saw this as unsustainable. So we worked hard to cultivate professionals at the two-year and independent (private) institutions for Board positions. I consider it an achievement that the boards that were elected after my tenure were much more balanced in terms of sector and institution. After my first year on the SAIR Board it became obvious that there were some historical structural nomination processes in the bylaws that were keeping that Board less than entirely representational. I’ve been working on that by way of individual conversations and solicitations of not only candidates to run, but also networks of support to elect them. I’m passionate about an organization’s board reflecting the talents and experience of the membership of the organization, and I would like to continue that work.


Adrea Hernandez, Research Analyst and Data Manager, Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS)​

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

I work primarily with small, private, liberal arts institutions. But, by attending AIR Forums and regional conferences and working with other types of institutions through my organization's survey administrations, I have learned that there is a great benefit in disrupting the traditional notion of one's peer group. We have much to learn from one another, whether private or public, small or large, regardless of endowment, rankings, or location. While commonalities create natural connections between institutions, IR professionals are also putting forth forward-thinking work that can be translated and applied at different types of campuses. I think as we face new challenges and take on new tasks, we can let the research speak for itself and help us make unprecedented connections between one another's work. Furthermore, the institutional researcher's role has become more prominent across institutions. Many IR professionals are well-suited to become leaders and decision-makers on their campuses, as they have evidence and data at their fingertips. This means they can play an important role in informing the discussions that take place between campus representatives and government officials and agencies. The data analyses that IR professionals offer should be part of the conversation on policies that impact their specific campuses, as well as higher education as a whole.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

This year I accepted an invitation to join the AIR Forum Program Committee. I have enjoyed independently reviewing workshop proposals and partnering with other committee members to deliberate proposal rankings for AIR Forum 2018. I look forward to future discussions and meetings with the rest of the committee and working with the AIR executive staff to ensure another successful AIR Forum schedule of timely and applicable presentation topics that complement one another. This experience has provided important insight into the inner-workings of AIR, as well as experience with making decisions that best serve AIR members. Additionally, I serve on an advisory board for the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). With this position, I have gained an understanding of the complex governance system within which the commission operates in order to represent the state and protect citizens as well as businesses and other entities. Going forward, I will be interacting with various constituencies around the state-school systems, public services agencies, and local community members. This experience with the ICRC would serve me in a position with the Nominations and Elections Committee as we consider the various constituencies represented among AIR members who come from a wide array of institution types and campuses situated within different circumstances.

If you are interested in being a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, What experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

For the past several years, I have worked with IR professionals from nearly two hundred institutions through my role as Research Analyst and Data Manager with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS). HEDS serves its member institutions-primarily small, liberal arts colleges-as well as those institutions that administer our surveys. Each year, HEDS hosts a conference that fosters conversations between colleagues on relevant topics in IR, assessment, and other areas related to advancing undergraduate education and student success.

For the HEDS Annual Conference, I have identified contacts at both member institutions and institutions not in HEDS to take on various roles based on their proven expertise and ability to engage others in their work. Each year we have an invited speaker who shares their perspective on the future of IR and the emerging trends in the field. As part of this process, I have helped identify potential candidates for this role, as well as deliberated with my colleagues about the final selection. Additionally, I have recruited contacts, who I have known to use our data for their evidence-based practices on campus, to present and share their experiences, research, strategies, and recommendations with our conference attendees. In doing so, they provide an example to emulate to those pursuing similar work. With my fellow staff members, I have also aided in our board election procedures in terms of providing data requested by the nominations committee to make their decisions and providing information on the nominations and elections rules for our contacts at member institutions.


Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, NASPA

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

As campus budgets shrink, our student bodies become increasingly diverse and their needs for different support infrastructures evolve, and demands for evidence-based approaches increase, IR professionals must remain an essential contributor to campus planning and strategy. Now more than ever, IR professionals need to be proactive, seeking to contribute to campus, local, regional, and national conversations around student success, trusted voices backing storytelling with solid data. By working to ethically represent the needs and outcomes of different groups of students on our campuses, IR professionals play a central role in dismantling historic systems of oppression that will hold our national economy back.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I have led numerous governance groups as association staff, helping to coordinate the work of the group with the broader mission and vision of the association while simultaneously ensuring member needs were addressed. Specifically, I provide primary staff support to the NASPA Public Policy Division and previously the APLU Commission on Information, Measurement, & Analysis (CIMA), one of the operational Commissions of APLU designed to create space for senior institutional leaders to create communities of practice around effective and efficient use of data and fiscal resources to guide campus planning and decision making.

If you are interested in being a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, What experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

I have been responsible for formation of any number of groups to work on a variety of issues, including:

  • Identifying campus leaders for the Voluntary System of Accountability and Student Achievement Measure leadership and oversight committees;
  • Selecting participants for two working groups and an oversight committee charged with the creation and coordination of the Post-Collegiate Outcomes (PCO) Framework and Toolkit, a joint initiative to develop a framework for reporting economic, human development, and civic contribution post-collegiate outcomes for both 2- and 4-year public institutions; and
  • Inviting a variety of individuals representing both the different institutions represented by APLU and the campus roles identified as central to the Commission's purpose to serve on the inaugural CIMA oversight board. 

Marcos Velaz​quez, Senior Research Analyst, Barry University​

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

To i​magine what the future of our profession might hold, one must first consider the trends that have recently surfaced in higher education. I have noticed over the past few years how certain aspects of Business Intelligence, particularly data visualization and seamless procurement of summary data through dashboards, have progressively become expectations of IR offices. The rising prominence of Big Data and Machine Learning outside of higher education has influenced the way in which we conduct analysis.

Also, the higher education environment is changing, as prospective students are becoming more diverse, traditionally-aged students are fewer in number, and alternative methods of delivery are more prominent. Moreover, there are growing demands from accreditation bodies and mounting pressure from boards and legislators to achieve student success with fewer resources. Therefore, I think that in the future IR professionals will face increasingly complex demands for information and have fewer resources in terms of budget and staff to meet them. Also, the incursion of computer science methods into IR's traditional toolkit for reporting and analysis will require a broader set of skills to be represented in our offices. As the field changes with higher education, the value of professional development opportunities, such as the AIR Forum, regional, and state conferences, will be immense. In the face of growing demands and stagnant or diminishing resources, it is going to be up to the leadership in our professional organizations to convince not only their members but also university administrators of the benefits that come through engagement with colleagues.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

I was the co-chair of Barry University's Standing Committee on Undergraduate Student Retention between 2010 and 2013. In that role, I was tasked with creating a white paper that incorporated the results of our research and proposed solutions that addressed the concerns of faculty and student support as well as institutional support staff. More recently, I was the chair of the Technology Track committee for the 2016 SAIR conference. My role in the Tech Track was to coordinate a group of IR professionals who reviewed proposals for the SAIR conference.

My experience in such governance positions has taught me the importance of inclusivity as a leadership practice. If given the opportunity to serve, I will embrace the voices of our members as a fundamental tenet of my service in the NEC. I will also strive to serve with transparency and accountability. Our bylaws allow for our Association to function in a democratic, accountable manner, and the result is that our members feel empowered to voice their views on the nature of our field and the direction that our professional community should take.

If you are interested in being a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, What experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

I have recently been involved with the SAIR 2016 conference as a member of the planning committee. My role was to chair the Technology Track committee. As such, my task was to recruit colleagues to review proposals for the SAIR conference. One of my priorities in that role was to incorporate as wide a range of perspectives as possible among those who would be reviewing proposals. Thus, the committee that I formed consisted of colleagues from seven states and included members from nearly every sector of higher education: four-year public and private institutions, community colleges, private-for-profit institutions, and governing agencies. Should I serve my colleagues through the NEC, I hope to approach my duties with the same emphasis on inclusivity and openness to varying perspectives as I did while I served on the SAIR conference's planning committee. 


Henry Y. Zheng, Vice Provost for Institutional Research and Strategic Analytics, Lehigh University

Looking at the higher education landscape, what do you think the future holds for institutional research?

In the age of Internet of Things (IoT), big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data assets are considered the "new oil" and IR offices are the "new refineries". With increasing demands for accountability and results, the utilization of data intelligence to support decision-making is crucially important to higher education institutions. This is a time of challenge for the institutional research community and a time of opportunity as well. Institutional research needs to branch out of the traditional data collection and data reporting model and take on a more active role in providing actionable insights to support campus decision making, from program review to strategic planning, from academic dashboard to competitive intelligence. As a professional organization, AIR plays a pivotal role in connecting members to cutting edge thinking in higher education, innovative approaches to using data and analytics, and advances in analytical tools. AIR's new Statement of Aspirational Practice speaks to such future developments and this is an exciting time to be an institutional researcher. I can see institutional research goes beyond data reporting and research analysis and becomes an integral part of the campus strategic planning and operational decision-making structure.

What governance skills and/or experience from AIR, a regional affiliate, or elsewhere in your community, would you bring to a potential leadership position in AIR?

The most important quality that anyone can bring to a volunteer position is passion. Passionate people bring energy, enthusiasm and new ideas and I consider this my strength. I also have experience and governance skills in the following areas: strategy development, competitive analysis, community building, financial management, performance review, and contingency planning. The following is a list of organizations that I had served over the years.

  • Coordinator, Overseas Chinese Association of Institutional Research (OCAIR), 2001‐2002
  • Volunteer (2006‐2012) and board member (2013‐2015), Columbus (Ohio) CCYHA Special Hockey League
  • Founding board member and treasurer (2013‐2015), Autism Living, a non‐profit corporation based in Columbus, Ohio
  • Member, Grants Committee, Northeast Association of Institutional Research (NEAIR), 2016‐ 2018
  • Elected member, Nomination Committee, Northeast Association of Institutional Research, 2017‐2018
  • Member, Ah Hoc Strategic Planning Committee, Northeast Association of Institutional Research, 2017‐2018
  • Proposal reviewer, Association of Institutional Research (AIR), 2016‐2018

If you are interested in being a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, what experience and expertise do you have in reaching out to and recruiting people for roles in an organization?

Based on my experience of serving in two non‐profit and volunteer organizations, I find out that reaching out and recruiting volunteers and supporters are a challenging job but the reward at the end is worth all the hard work. We live in a fast‐paced world and there are many things competing for our attention and time. In order to recruit people to volunteer for a cause or a project, my experience is that we need to develop a good elevator speech that communicates the cause in a straightforward and appealing way; find every opportunity to talk to anyone who is willing to listen; keep the contact information and follow up. Organizationally, we need to make it easy for people to sign up and participate. Most importantly, we need to remember to thank people for their help. A little gratitude goes a long way in a volunteer organization. I can relate to all these in several of the fundraising events that I was involved as an organizer. My most memorable outreach effort is a fundraiser for Columbus Special Hockey. In order to generate high‐level support for the fundraising event, we reached out to all the parents of the hockey players, encouraging everyone to bring a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or a co‐worker who will in turn bring another friend. The event was very successful because not only we reached our fundraising target but also we used the event to demonstrate that kids with special needs and physical disabilities enjoy playing ice hockey and the smiles on their faces are the most important reward. Many people who volunteered at the fundraiser came back to help the team during weekly practices and in tournaments.

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