e-AIR Newsletter April 2017

Case Studies Highlight Use of Student-Level Postsecondary Data

By Alain Poutré, Research Analyst, Institute for Higher Education Policy

The Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU), in partnership with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), released a series of 14 case studies last month that highlights the use of student-level postsecondary data on campuses across the country. The use cases serve as examples of how institutional leaders can leverage these data to improve student learning and completion efforts.

The series includes a variety of public institutions and systems from across the country, including historically black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions, research universities, and regional universities. The series demonstrates that while institutions take different approaches to data use, all of them ultimately focus on student success. MORE
Value of Community in AIR
Debbie Dailey, 2016-2017 AIR Member At Large
As I come to the last few weeks of my term on the Board of Directors of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), I am reminiscing fondly about these last three years and the many before that. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had to work alongside really wonderful, committed people on the Board, at the Executive Office, and beyond.

I consider myself fortunate to have partnered with a large number of AIR members throughout the years at the state, regional, and international levels as we worked together to achieve the goals of the various IR organizations. I found not only gifted, dedicated colleagues, I found true friends. I engaged with others and discovered my community.

AIR offers many opportunities for us to engage. Volunteers are always needed in any membership organization and AIR is no exception. I encourage you to respond positively when requests for volunteers come out from the Executive Office. Participating with your fellow IR-types benefits the Association, but it also benefits you. Whether it’s to serve as a reviewer for Forum proposals, to present at the annual conference, to run for a position on the Board of Directors, or any other volunteer opportunity, just say YES! You will find that you, too, will develop your community.

But engaging isn’t just something for your personal benefit, it’s also fundamental to the continued success of AIR. We need to continue the history of engaged community that has existed for more than 50 years. Jump in and do your part to perpetuate and grow this legacy. You will be glad you did.

So now I say thank you, AIR, for giving me the opportunity for outstanding professional development over the years. MORE
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
OMB Comment Period
Proposal for revisions to OMB's Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity
A Federal Register Notice (FRN) published in March by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity (Working Group) updates the public on the current review of the 1997 Standards for Collecting, Maintaining, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. MORE.
Defining Student Success Beyond Traditional Measures
Dear Jim: How do you define and measure student success beyond the traditional graduation rate and retention rate measures?

That’s a great question, and I can use my own institution, Antioch College, to provide a detailed example. Antioch College is a small, private, liberal arts college located in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Antioch closed in 2008, and re-opened in 2011 as a non-successor institution to the previous iteration of Antioch. As such, Antioch College was technically a brand new institution, and was required to go through the process of initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. This rigorous process entailed providing evidence that Antioch College was capable of fostering student success. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Jim Woehrle, Associate Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning, Antioch College.
Data Bite
Institutional research should impact every unit at an institution. But, are some units more likely to use IR than others? According to results from the National Survey of IR Offices, there are certain units more likely to use IR work. On the other hand, some units do not utilize IR as much... MORE

Higher Education's Positive Influence on Students, Communities, Society
eAIR recently spoke with Talithia Williams, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and Keynote Speaker at the upcoming 2017 AIR Forum.

eAIR: How did you get involved in your specialty field, “big data?”

As a kid, I enjoyed math and science and ended up majoring in math as an undergraduate student at Spelman College. But I first became interested in data and statistics in a Biostatistics class I took as a graduate student at Howard University. We analyzed a dataset on the length of a baby’s gestation for smoking and non-smoking mothers and I was immediately hooked! We saw that mothers who smoked during pregnancy gave birth to babies with lower birthweights than mothers who didn’t smoke during pregnancy. It was the first time I saw how data could be used to change public policy and bring clarity of understanding to an issue. When I completed my Ph.D. from Rice University, the term “big data” was still in its infancy, but I was well trained and excited about handling large, complicated datasets and revealing new information. MORE
AIR Awards Recognize Leadership, Service, and Scholarship
As a membership organization, the success of AIR is a celebration of the knowledge, skill, and dedication of its members. AIR awards recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the success of the Association and the IR profession through their leadership, service, and scholarship. AIR is pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions of these two individuals to the Association and the larger higher education community. MORE
ONU Incoming Freshman Growth Dashboard
By Omer Minhas, Director of Institutional Research, Ohio Northern University

The Office of Institutional Research developed a new dashboard to geographically visualize freshmen enrollment trends at ONU between Fall 2010 and Fall 2016. The first tab labelled Freshmen Growth by County allows a user to compare freshmen enrollments by county for any two selected years between 2010 and 2016. MORE
Converting Text Columns to Fixed-Width Text
By Kathy Coy, Director, Institutional Research, William Rainey Harper College
The “CONCATENATE” Function in Excel

The January 2017 eAIR article, Using CONCATENATE Function in Excel to Create Long STATA Commands, did a nice job of explaining what the CONCATENATE function is - a way to combine the content of multiple cells in Excel - and what it is used for. MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:

- Innovative Higher Education
Thanks to AIR Members
Our members are not only incredibly helpful, they are a pleasure to work with. Here are some special thanks to those who have gone beyond the call of duty for our Association.
Announcements for AO and IR community conferences, meetings, institutes, and symposiums. See the LISTINGS.
Keeping AIR Members Informed
AIR welcomes brief announcements of interest to the IR and assessment communities, such as the release of a report, funding opportunities or a request for applications. Send your announcement to eAIR@airweb.org and include a link to your website as well as a contact name and email address. Announcements
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