e-AIR Newsletter December 2018

Members Find Value in AIR Membership, Look to the Future

Top Reasons Members Joined Networking and education are key to helping data and analytics professionals become and remain relevant in the field of institutional research (IR), especially when those opportunities are offered through a professional association.

So say members of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), the world's largest alliance of higher education professionals dedicated to institutional research, effectiveness, assessment, and planning. AIR's purpose is to empower higher education professionals to use data and analytics to make decisions and take actions that benefit students and institutions.

In its biennial member survey, 800 AIR members spoke up about why they joined the Association, what's in it for them, and how they want to be supported/represented tomorrow and beyond. Here's what they had to say. MORE
What Are We Doing and Why is it Important?
Christine Ross
Board Member at Large
Christine Ross, AIR Board Member at Large
A long time ago, in a past life far, far away… two questions my administrative team would continuously ask students to answer were: “What are you doing in class, and why is it important?”

These questions remain the crux of my mode of operation, as articulating answers to these questions is extremely beneficial in clarifying why we do the things we do. This applies to our work as AIR Board members as well.

As a Board, we operate using a system of Policy Governance - a model which allows us to focus on the big picture (referred to as our Ends), to delegate to the professional staff at the Executive Office the methods for reaching those Ends, and to monitor and evaluate the work being done in a clear and rigorous way.

As a Board, we are responsible to you, the membership, to make sure your needs are being met - that we are clear about what the association does and its importance. This is where the Ends policy comes into play.

The Ends Policy describes the results and value for the membership, and the AIR Ends policy drives the direction of the Association.

A great deal of time, deliberation, and reflection on the work of this and prior AIR Boards was focused on our Ends policy - driven by our desire to clearly articulate exactly what AIR is doing and why it is important for the membership and the profession. This work is not done within a bubble.

AIR Board members are continuously seeking out opportunities to meet with you as members to gather feedback on what exactly YOU need from YOUR association.

Our current Ends policy, based on what we heard from you and on countless hours of discussion between the Board and the professional staff at the Executive Office, states:

"AIR is a global association of higher education professionals. AIR exists to empower those individuals at all levels to utilize data, analytics, information, and evidence to make decisions and take actions that benefit students and institutions and improve higher education. This must be done within AIR's available resources and in such a manner that the value to higher education is worth the investment of those resources.

A. AIR educates institutional researchers, higher education leaders, and professionals and organizations on the value of institutional research.

B. AIR empowers and supports higher education professionals in:

Contextualizing data across campus and throughout higher education;
Learning methods and tools of the institutional research profession;
Evaluating the effectiveness of institutions;
Conducting research and scholarship.

C. AIR provides opportunities for the development of professional and interpersonal skills.

D. AIR promotes the development of professional networks."

(AIR Governance Policies, September 2018)

As in all Policy Governance structures, our policies are living documents, meaning that they change based on the needs of the organization. As an AIR Board, we will continue to seek feedback from you to make sure our ENDS policy reflects “what we are doing, and why it is important” for our members. MORE
College Students' Readiness for Work Varies by Their Major and Use of Career Resources
At a time when a college degree and employability are increasingly intertwined, 93% of seniors believe what they’re learning in college is relevant to their career paths, according to new survey results released by NSSE - the National Survey of Student Engagement... MORE
Keeping the AIR Community Informed
AIR welcomes brief announcements of interest to the higher education community, such as the release of a report, funding opportunities, or a request for applications. MORE
Using Qualitative Sampling to Your Advantage
Steve Graunke
Dear Steve: My institution is starting to put a lot more emphasis on qualitative sampling when it comes to collecting data for decision making. Can you provide any guidance on qualitative sampling strategies and the reason for using each type?

The first thing to remember when considering qualitative sampling procedures is that the goals of qualitative studies are inherently different than quantitative studies. While many quantitative studies are looking to generalize results to a larger population, qualitative studies are instead looking to gather data on the perspectives of specific participants. Getting a large, representative sample is therefore less important than attracting participants whose perspectives will get you the data you need. MORE

This month's question is answered by Steve Graunke, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, IUPUI.

2019 AIR Awards

2018-19 IPEDS Winter & Spring Collection Cycles are now open

Brand-New AIR Website coming soon

Brand-New AIR Website coming soon

IPEDS Online Keyholder Courses

Data Bite
The 2018 National Survey of IR Offices provides a tool for internal reporting and comparison to peer institutions. To date, 863 have participated. MORE

Dashboard Chart
Rollins Class Size Dashboard
By Meghal Parikh, Director of Institutional Analytics, Rollins College

Class size matters to different stakeholders on campus for different reasons. Students and faculty love small class sizes for obvious reasons. Administrators like the registrar, deans, department chairs, etc., in smaller colleges have a hard time balancing class capacity with the financial burden of under-enrolling classes. In this battle of providing an optimal learning environment versus providing classroom space efficiency, data can play a key role. MORE

Visual Display of Data

Graduating Student Survey Results Dashboard
By Steve Miller, Director/Sr. Analyst, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College

Sharing results from our Graduating Student Survey typically meant sending or posting Excel or PDF files. Now, we're able to post interactive results in one location, allowing users to view results by year. From an internal site accessible with university credentials, academic chairs and administrators can also filter by academic department and major. These users are also able to view student text responses. MORE

Visual Display of Data

The Institutional Factbook
NSIROBy Wendy Kallina

Nearly two decades ago, as a faculty member coordinating a major, I was referred to the factbook when looking for metrics for a five-year program review. Trying to understand the graduation rate and retention rate that I was seeing, I remember being absolutely floored when the assistant registrar confirmed that I should only count freshman students who started their first term in my program.

Less than 5% of my students were in that group – how could that be right? My scope was limited to the metrics I was told to include in a program review, my frame of reference was programmatic, and I am not sure that I even thought about why those definitions would matter beyond my department.

Nearly two decades later, I was invited to a multi-departmental meeting to specifically talk about institutional metrics. I opened the conversation with a review of the data requests from the chairs and assistant deans. During the discussion of rates and trends with this very engaged group, I recognized the puzzlement of being a faculty member trying to understand data without the larger context. I asked for some time to talk about definitions, data sources, and IPEDS and they agreed. MORE
Creating a Clear Slicer Button in Excel
By Josh Rosales, Research Analyst, El Camino College

Excel LogoScenario: You are developing an Excel dashboard based off a Pivot table or tables and you have multiple slicers to allow different combinations of data disaggregation, as in the image below. Everyone "oohs" and "ahs" until they realize what a hassle it is to uncheck each slicer in order to review the next combination of interest. MORE
Tip for Tableau Users
By Dana Prymak, Research Associate, Thompson Rivers University

Excel Logo Analysts use visualizations to deliver complicated information in an easy to understand way. Dual axis function in Tableau helps users to be efficient with a message of visualization. Another name for a chart with a dual axis is a combination chart. Dual axis function can be used in a number of ways. For example, a combination chart can combine a line and a bar graph, two bar graphs, or a map and a pie chart. You may ask why would I do that? Well, that is a great question. Dual axis can help us to display survey responses in a form of little pie charts on the map that will tell us how many students from that area responded 'yes' or 'no.' MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from this influential journal:

- New Directions for Institutional Research

- Research in Higher Education
Announcements for AO and IR community conferences, meetings, institutes, and symposiums. See the LISTINGS.
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
Thanks to the AIR Community
Here are some special thanks to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for our Association
There are more than 165 listed on AIR's Job Board.
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