e-AIR Newsletter January 2017

Defining the Duties and Functions of Institutional Research

Throughout its more than 50-year history, AIR has involved itself in the process of defining institutional research as a profession and a critical function in higher education. As evidenced by the many papers and historical documents on the 50th Anniversary webpage, AIR membership has continually explored the topic of the use of data and information in decision making in higher education.

Much as the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice was developed to provide AIR members with broad ethical statements with which to guide their professional lives, the Duties and Functions of Institutional Research identifies the areas necessary for an effective institutional research function in an institution, system, or organization.

AIR has provided professional development training and resources to its membership in various forms since the first AIR Forum was convened in 1961. MORE
New Times, New Strides
Glenn W. James, 2016-2017 AIR President
As we step forward into 2017, the new year brings opportunities for establishing new focus, reaffirming commitments, and considering adjustments and improvements. Here are some items of attention for the beginning of this new year:

  • A Holistic Approach to Institutional Research is a new professional development opportunity for institutional researchers. Launching in Spring 2017, this six-week, online course includes an in-person component. Also, a cohort model, mentor support, and group activities foster networking with IR colleagues.

  • The process of identifying the new Executive Director of the Association is nearing its conclusion. After months of careful consideration and work, the Executive Director Search Committee, in collaboration with the consulting team of AGB Search, has passed its recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors met in early January to interview finalists and complete the search process. More information about this important step is forthcoming.

  • The Nominations and Elections Committee, working with the involvement of nominators and the commitment of prospective candidates, developed a strong slate of candidates for the upcoming election, laying groundwork for the future leadership of the Association.

  • The Board of Directors is continuing to explore and study aspects of the future of the profession of IR and of the Association. More about this work is forthcoming.

All of the above items hold plenty of promise for an excellent year in 2017 and beyond. As you look ahead and consider what you plan to accomplish in 2017, I extend to you the very best wishes for a productive year! MORE
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
Accreditation in the Policy Crosshairs
Voluntary accreditation has been the primary mechanism for quality assurance for over a century in American higher education. This piece by AASCU’s Barmak Nassirian provides a brief history of US accreditation... MORE.
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.
What Provosts Want from Their IR Directors
Dear Eric, I have just been promoted to Director of Institutional Research at my institution and will now be reporting to the Provost. In your experience, what do Provosts want from their IR directors?

The provost is someone who handles immense responsibilities and is expected to guide the largest enterprise in the institution – the academic side of the house. To that end, the IR director is in a strategic position to support the provost in several key areas:

Decision Support
The provost needs accurate, reliable, and relevant information - quickly and clearly. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Eric Lovik, Director of Institutional Research, Reporting, and Assessment at Radford University.
Data Bite
Over the next few months, we’ll explore the relationships between the IR Office and other institutional offices. This month, we’ll look at the support provided by the IR Office to the Finance Office. MORE

IR Offices Differ in 2-Year, 4-Year and Regionally
Michael Wrona is Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at the University of South Florida.

eAIR: What is one difference you have seen between IR offices at the community college level versus those at a 4-year institution? What about a similarity?

The 4-year institutions for which I’ve worked have both been research universities with selective admission criteria for undergraduates. One big difference with community colleges involves the amount and type of analytical support the IR office is expected to provide to the undergraduate admissions office.

At an open-access community college that allows anyone with a high school diploma or GED to enroll, analytical support may be needed to help the admissions office meet enrollment targets, but the admissions office does not need help establishing criteria for admission. MORE
Temple College KPIs
By Jimmy D. Roberts, Associate Vice President, Community Initiatives and Special Programs, Temple College

This Visual Display of Data appears on our Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning webpage. It is not very flashy, but it is an example of what can be done using technology you probably have around the office—possibly in your junk drawer. This is especially important for small (i.e. tiny, one-person) research offices with limited resources.

Our Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Effectiveness used Adobe Acrobat to create the document. The first page graphic appears on the webpage. If you click on the graphic, the file opens to the 35-page PDF document, which takes advantage of the link feature in Adobe Acrobat so that each file (except one) links to more specific information. MORE
Excel CONCATENATE Function: Creating Long STATA Commands
By Ainur Satekova, Manager for Institutional Research, Nazarbayev University
There are some STATA commands that you need to type multiple times in a STATA do-file. For instance, you need to type the same command for each distinct observation in the data set. The most common commands that I use in the data cleaning processes are “replace,” “rename,” “label variable,” etc. I had been in the habit of typing each command individually in the STATA do-file until my supervisor showed me the easiest way of doing it using the CONCATENATE function in Excel.

In this Tech Tip, I explain the technique of using the CONCATENATE function in Excel to create a series of STATA commands without having to type them again and again. MORE

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

- New Directions for Institutional Research

- Innovative Higher Education
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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