e-AIR Newsletter January 2015

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Complementary Functions: IR at the Campus, System, and State Levels

Jonathan Gagliardi is Deputy Director of the National Association of System Heads (NASH), the association of the chief executives of the 44 college and university systems of public higher education in the United States and Puerto Rico. NASH is in the second year of a project that examines public system/campus roles in institutional research, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jonathan spoke with eAIR about lessons learned to date.

eAIR: What opportunities do you see for the IR functions at state systems and campuses to work together better?

Broadly speaking, there are opportunities for functions at the state, coordinating board, system, and campus levels to be more complementary. Based on what we’ve seen, there’s consensus surrounding the need for more connected data for myriad uses. MORE

Your Vote Matters in Electing 2015 Leadership
By Sandi Bramblett
2014-2015 Immediate Past President
Happy New Year, AIR friends! During the first few weeks of the New Year, it’s always exciting to see and hear how people are embracing new opportunities and looking for new challenges. I encouraged the AIR membership in January 2014 to resolve to learn something exciting, starting with AIR.

Many of you took the time to tell me that you renewed your interest in the publications website (as I did) or decided to take the plunge with the Data and Decisions Academy. Others attended the Forum in Orlando where we were encouraged to establish connections with those around us in the field of institutional research.

Some awesome stories emerged about commonalities, not just through institutional research, but also outside of the profession. The possibilities are truly endless!

Speaking of new opportunities, we will see this notion come to life with the next cycle of AIR’s elections later this month.

I have the distinct honor of chairing the Nominations and Elections Committee, which consists of six dedicated AIR members: Michelle Appel, Timothy Chow, Jan Lyddon, Soon Merz, Kathy Schmidtke Felts, and Rick Voorhees. The NEC receives outstanding support from Lisa Gwaltney in the AIR Executive Office. MORE
NDIR Promotion
The New Directions for Institutional Research special issue on Assessing Civil Engagement (Volume 162) is now available. Check out the articles here. AIR will send a free copy of the volume to the first 13 eAIR subscribers who comment on any January 2015 eAIR article.
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
A Graph of GPA Across Total College Credits Used as a Basis For a Leavers Flow Model
Jeffrey Cornett Director of Institutional Research, Ivy Tech Community College – Central Indiana Region
The number one reason community college students leave is poor grades, especially for students new to college. However, there are many other reasons why students leave, including the transfer of successful students to other schools where they begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree even before completing their associate's degree.

One way to explore patterns of attrition is to graph GPA patterns across the total credit hours earned. Students with poor GPAs will be primarily found on the left of the graph – having accumulated relatively few college credit hours. MORE
Advice on Bridging the Gap in Scholarly Research Skills
Dear Jon: My educational background doesn't lend itself to the types of scholarly research frequently conducted by IR professionals. That is, I am not formally trained in statistics or research methodology. What can I do to bridge the gap in skills and knowledge?

Jonathan D. Fife, Visiting Professor in Higher Education at Virginia Tech and former series editor of the ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report Series, offers suggestions to add structure and speed to the self-education approach to becoming a skilled institutional researcher. MORE

How IR Can Help with Campus Climate Studies
Cate Rowen is Executive Director of Institutional Research at Smith College. As a member of the AIR Campus Climate Workgroup, Cate recently helped develop a statement that encourages IR offices to lead or support efforts to bring data to guide campus decision making with regard to sexual assault. She spoke with eAIR about how IR professionals can assist with campus climate studies, including student surveys.

eAIR: AIR recently surveyed a sample of members and found that 68% expect their IR offices to help develop campus sexual assault initiatives. What resources do you suggest IR offices consult to become familiar with these issues?

This is a rapidly evolving issue, so IR people should not go it alone. The most important resources you can access are probably on your own campus. I suggest connecting with the Title IX coordinators and the health educators on your campus. Title IX professionals have in-depth knowledge of the issues and challenges, and health educators are usually well-versed in the research on this topic. MORE

Using REXCEL to Reshape or Aggregate Data
By Ihsuan Li, Associate Professor of Economics, Minnesota State University, Mankato
This tip builds on a previous Tech Tip by Barry Nagle (Installing and Using REXCEL), published in eAIR in April 2014. As previously introduced, R is a powerful data management and analytics software. Its data-management capabilities can be integrated into Microsoft Excel through an Add-Inn: REXCEL.

This tip covers two features that combine the efficiency of R and the familiarity and ease of Excel. The features are reshaping a dataset (long to wide) or aggregating data (by factor). MORE
The Latest Issues in Higher Education
IR in the Know keeps you up to date on current and emerging issues related to higher education data collection, analyses, and reporting, and is presented in three categories: Reports and Tools: summaries of resources and research; Emerging Topics: developing ideas and discussions from the field; and Policy Watch: national policy news and topics. MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:

- New Directions for Institutional Research
- Research in Higher Education
- Innovative Higher Education
- Journal of Higher Education
- Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

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.
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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