e-AIR Newsletter August 2015

Why AIR Members Continue to Value the Forum

The annual AIR Forum gathers IR, IE, assessment, and planning professionals in all phases of their careers. More than 2,000 individuals gathered at the 2015 AIR Forum in in Denver, Colorado, May 26–29, 2015, and 34 percent of them had attended at least five previous Forums.

Why do they keep coming back? As part of this year’s conference evaluation, many conference participants offered comments about why they value the Forum:

I liked hearing from similar institutions facing the same challenges. It was great to see what is going on in other states.

I enjoyed the opening keynote on Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams and networking with others who are using the same analysis software or conducting similar studies.

The information/new ideas gained and the interaction with/inspiration gained from other institutional researchers is valuable.

Serving on the AIR Board of Directors
By Ellen Peters
2014-2015 Board Secretary
Have you thought about serving on the AIR Board? The role of Board members has changed significantly over the last five years, and those of us who just rotated off the AIR Board thought we would share our reflections on Board service:

It allows us to be visionary. AIR operates under a governance model called Policy Governance. This model forces us to focus on the vision and future of AIR, and prevents us from getting caught up in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

While that sounds easy, in practice it takes a lot of self-control given that in our “day jobs” we are enmeshed in the day-to-day operations of our offices and institutions.

It’s really exciting. Because of the Governance model, the Board consistently needs to ask itself what the future holds for AIR and for our members.

We also need to think hard about what the role of institutional research should be, and how we can ensure that AIR is doing a good job of meeting members’ needs as articulated in our Ends statements. (There is actually an Ends policy on page 35 of our Governance Policies.) It is very exciting to spend time talking with other Board members about the future of AIR and the needs of our members.

It’s a different way of thinking about leadership. In the Policy Governance model, the Executive Office writes regular Monitoring Reports that allow Board members to see how well the Executive Office is managing the organization, meeting the Ends, and treating members.

The Board reviews and discusses each Monitoring Report, pushing us to think about the relevance of the work for AIR members, and keeping us connected to our vision, ensuring that the Executive Office is accountable for realizing the Ends.

It’s great professional development. The Policy Governance model is a different leadership approach, and those new ways of thinking can be applied to work back on campus and with other boards and groups, even those that do not follow the Policy Governance model.

It’s a great team. In the Policy Governance model, the Board speaks as one voice. That doesn’t mean we all agree, but it does mean that Board members can’t unilaterally direct the Executive Office to do something, or speak for the Board without agreement from all Board members.

This means that rich discussions have to happen at the Board meetings, so we can all communicate with members consistently, preventing confusion.

Each of us have some moments from the past three years that really stand out:

Sandi Bramblett: During my time on the Board, we studied and refined the Ends, building on the foundation of those who led before us. MORE

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

Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.

AIR 50th Celebration
In celebration, of the 50th anniversary of AIR’s incorporation, the 2015-2016 AIR membership year is devoted to developing an AIR History page. We hope that you will contribute to this project by sharing memories, adding comments, and sending in pictures, papers, and other documents that help to build a shared history for current and future members of the association.

In this section of eAIR, we feature photos and documents found on the history page. If you recognize a member, attended the event, or just have an AIR memory to share, we invite you comment by clicking on the photo.

ASPPH Data Center Expansion
By Emily M. Burke and Grace Sun, Program Managers, Data Analytics and Stella J. Carter, Director of Design and QA, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health receives frequent requests for institutional data and reports on academic public health from members as well as public health practice partners.

To meet this demand, ASPPH recently launched an expansion to the Association’s homepage. The website expansion, ASPPH Data Center, features interactive data stories, infographics, and publications and reports that use aggregate ASPPH data and public data resources, while also providing a data request form and a member login for data collection and analytics.

This infographic is featured on the website expansion and is used as a marketing tool for student recruitment by ASPPH staff and members. The data comes from SOPHAS, the Centralized Application Service for Public Health, and provides information on the 2014 applicant pool to a graduate school or program of public health. Prominently featured on the site and available for download, this clean and simple infographic will inform prospective students and encourage them to learn more about public health on the ASPPH homepage. MORE
Metrics for Reporting Data
Dear Terra, How does one communicate various definitions and methodologies for calculating the “same” general metric (i.e. FTE) to stakeholders?

Communicating the details about metrics used in reports is an important issue. On the one hand, we want the metric to be clearly and accurately understood. On the other hand, we do not want to overwhelm or distract our stakeholders with the minutiae of our processes in IR.

As with most things we do in IR, we want to keep front-and-center in our thinking the question that is being asked/answered with the data and how the information will be used when releasing a report. Keeping this in mind not only guides the metrics that we use, but also the detail that we provide about the metrics.

Terra Schehr is Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Loyola University Maryland. MORE

The Power of Data
Tim Stanley presented workshops and sessions at the recent AIR Forum in Denver, Colo., covering such topics as Tableau, Excel, the rising tide of dual mission institutions, and FERPA and its role in IR. Tim is the Associate Director of Institutional Research and Information at Utah Valley University.

eAIR: What prompted you to pursue a career in IR and how did you get started in the field?

I don’t think anyone in IR ever said, “I want to be an institutional researcher when I grow up.” I started in computer science, and shifted to sociology for my undergraduate degree. I was dissatisfied just talking about the world’s problems without doing anything about them—so I shifted into public administration with a focus on policy analysis for my master’s degree.

I spent some time as a graduate research assistant in BYU’s IR department, and as a researcher in the LDS Church’s Research Information Division. After graduating, I spent four years working for a local market-research company analyzing survey research data. My move to institutional research took a few years, but it has given me the opportunity to apply research skills to an area that I am passionate about and I truly believe helps to make the world a better place. MORE

Creating an Excel Menu Worksheet
​By Joe Duggan, IR Decision Support Specialist, Edmonds Community College
This is a fairly simple setup that will allow you to create a menu of links to other worksheets in a workbook and give descriptive names to the menu items. This is particularly useful if you have multiple worksheets in your workbook.

Using a generic workbook with three worksheets:
  1. Rename Sheet1 as Menu
  2. Rename Sheet2 as DashboardTemplate
  3. In Sheet2 (now DashboardTemplate) enter the text Back to Menu in cell A1
  4. Right-click in cell A1 – and select Hyperlink from the options listed
This opens the Insert Hyperlink box. MORE
Driving Toward Greater Postsecondary Attainment Using Data
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has released a data tactical guidebook to support community-based collaborations on data-use and describe how some communities are using data effectively to advance postsecondary attainment. MORE

Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:

- Innovative Higher Education
- Research in Higher Education

Announcements for conferences, meetings, institutes, symposiums, and other events of interest. See the LISTINGS.

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.

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