e-AIR Newsletter June 2015

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Social Media and the IR Professional

Institutional research professionals use social media as a way to share information within the higher education community. In a recent survey, AIR set out to learn more about how social media is used for IR-related activities, and how institutions regulate social media usage by staff and faculty.

Sixty-three percent of AIR members surveyed said they use some form of social media for professional purposes. LinkedIn is the most popular social media outlet for IR-related use, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

IR practitioners use social media for a variety of professional purposes. Sixty-four percent of the survey respondents who use social media for IR work reported they use it as a means to network. MORE

It Takes an Association…
By Gary R. Pike
2015-2016 AIR President
During the Board of Directors meeting at the Forum on May 25, we made several important changes to the policy on Board Committee Structure—Governance Process (GP) X.

I want to take this opportunity to review the changes with those reading this column and explain the rationale behind the changes.

The changes are specific to the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) and grew out of a meeting Gayle Fink and I had with past presidents who chaired the NEC (Jim Trainer, Jennifer Brown, Julie Carpenter-Hubin, and Sandi Bramblett).

The original governance policy required that the NEC submit to the Board of Directors a slate of candidates that was properly screened. The Board thought it was important to provide some guidance as to what properly screened should mean. To that end, we identified the following characteristics of a candidate for the Board.

  • Current members of AIR with at least three years’ prior membership in the association.

We believe it is essential that Board members have some knowledge of and experience with AIR. At the same time, we do not believe that a candidate would need to be a member of AIR for 10 or 20 years. We selected three years to emphasize that newer members can make a contribution to AIR and the Board of Directors. 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.
Students in Class by Day and Time
By Damien Allen, Data Warehouse Architect & Institutional Reporting Manager and Eric Lovik, Director Institutional Research, Reporting, and Assessment Radford University
This data visualization was generated at the request of Parking Services at Radford University. Radford has designated areas on campus for employee and student parking, but similar to most universities there are space limitations. In addition to the campus parking lots, RU provides overflow and remote parking areas away from the center of campus life.

Officials in Parking Services desired to know more precisely how many students are present on campus throughout the day during a given semester. To that end, the Office of Institutional Research, Reporting, and Assessment was contacted to calculate the number of students and times of day that represent the expected on-campus student headcount. MORE
Contributing to Different Lines of Discourse
Dear Jessica: I notice there is a gap between the theoretical questions raised by higher education scholars and the practical questions raised by administrators. As an IR professional, how can I contribute to both lines of discourse?

It is true that a gap exists between the theoretical questions addressed by higher education scholars, and the more practical, pointed questions, often raised by our institutional administrators. However, the gap is not always as wide as it seems and it can be further narrowed to the benefit of both scholarly and IR-related work.

Much scholarly work is focused on the same topics that drive IR’s work and our administrator’s questions—student access and success, assessment of student learning, student engagement, and the list goes on. 

Jessica Shedd, Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Texas System shares advice on contributing to both the scholarly and the administrative discourses. MORE

Building Communities for Assessment of Learning
Shari Ellertson is Director of Institutional Research at Boise State University. She presented sessions on building institutional capacity to conduct assessment and teaching others to write effective outcomes at the 2015 Forum in Denver this past May.

eAIR: How did you get started in assessment and how did that evolve into a career in IR?
In graduate school, I didn’t actually know what assessment of student learning looked like, but I wanted to learn. I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who were known in the assessment field and I learned through observing, being on committees, and talking with faculty about their programs. My initial work in assessment really happened organically out of my own curiosity about how people learn.

That work in assessment translated into me helping others understand IR work involving research papers, complex analyses, and even facilitating communities of people interested in data. MORE

Creating a Percent Change Field in Excel
​By Erin J. Holmes, Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Research, University of Alaska Anchorage
This tip involves creating a percent change field using the “Show Values As” function in an Excel 2013 Pivot table. Percent change is a valuable figure when examining trend data in an Excel pivot table.

Many IR analysts create these data by hard coding the equations into cells adjacent to the pivot table. This works well until the pivot table is expanded and the equations are over-written by the pivot table! 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:
- 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.
There are more than 120 listed on AIR's Job Board.
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