e-AIR Newsletter June 2016

Creating a Thriving National Postsecondary Education Data Ecosystem

By Archie P. Cubarrubia, Vice Provost, Institutional Effectiveness, Miami Dade College

EDUCATION%20ECOSYSTEM%20ART.jpgOn May 18, 2016, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released a series of 11 papers envisioning a national postsecondary education data ecosystem for the 21st century. The papers are the result of a year-long effort to think differently about the way we collect and disseminate information about our students and institutions to meet the increasingly complex needs of the higher education community. I had the honor of co-chairing this effort with Patrick Perry, Chief Information Officer for the California State University, Chancellor’s Office, and can attest to the richness of the dialogue that informed the work of the 17 paper authors.

As we well know, our current national postsecondary data infrastructure is uncoordinated and fragmented. Institutions report different kinds of data to different government agencies and private organizations in collections that were built for different purposes and often use different formats and definitions. For many of us in institutional research, state, federal, and voluntary reporting represents a lion’s share of our core activities. However, despite the burden associated with preparing, verifying, and submitting data to multiple entities, fundamental questions about the success of all students and the effectiveness of taxpayer investments in our institutions remain unanswered. MORE
Institutional Research Moving Forward
By Glenn W. James
2016-2017 AIR President
With this being the first Board Corner after the recent AIR Forum, I would like to share some thoughts about several items.

The Forum. Evaluative feedback and other information is still being compiled from the recent 2016 AIR Forum. Those who participated in the Forum can attest to the strong array of current topics, the extensive opportunities for connecting with and learning from colleagues, and the marvelous participation of sponsors and partners who provide excellent software, products, and services that enable institutional research professionals to excel.

Great appreciation goes to the AIR Executive Office staff, a large contingent of AIR members and volunteers, and a host of wonderful sponsors and partners, all of whose efforts combined to produce an outstanding Forum in New Orleans! Thank you so very much for all of your work and contributions to ensure a great professional development experience for all of us.

The Evolving IR Function. A special aspect of the Forum this year was the exploration of the Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research, which is available on the AIR website. An Impact Session featured a panel of IR professionals who have been working with the application of Statement ideas at their respective institutions. MORE
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
Toward Improved Measurements of Student Persistence and Completion
This technical report from The American Institutes for Research uses institutional data from 11 colleges and universities to contrast persistence and completion rates calculated using three distinctly different methodologies, including those used by the IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey, IPEDS Outcome Measures Survey, and the Student Achievement Measure (SAM). 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.
Implementing a Data Governance Framework
Dear Garry: What are some tips for implementing a data governance framework?

In the simplest terms, a data governance framework is a system of rules, policies, procedures, and responsibilities clearly establishing who can do what with what information and how and when those things can be done.

An effective governance initiative promotes data quality and ensures information is both secure and available to those who should have access to it. Because such a framework is ideally integrated seamlessly throughout an institution, administrative silos, long-held practices, institutional politics, and resource limitations are more likely to be greater obstacles than any purely technical challenge. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Garry Hansen, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Data Bite
In the May 2016 Data Bite, we explored the average FTE of the IR Office (Director and Professional IR Staff only) for not-for-profit institutions. Commenters were interested in delving into the staff FTE for small institutions (student FTE of less than 5,000).

Here we see the same trend; the larger the student enrollment, the larger the IR Office staff. Cutting across sectors, the average FTE remains consistent. MORE

It Started with a Conversation
Statement-Screenshot2.png The Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research challenges IR professionals to initiate discussion about how institutions can place data at the center of all discussions.

At the 2016 Forum in New Orleans, AIR hosted an Impact Session to further the conversation encouraged by the aspirational statement. You are invited to watch the Forum Impact Session, It Started with a Conversation: A Practical Guide to the Statement of Aspirational Practice for IR, which is available to you at no cost. MORE
A New Vision for IR
Are data and reporting burdens a product of the prevailing structure of institutional research? Can a new model for IR address the real-world management needs of modern postsecondary education?

These questions are addressed in a newly released Change magazine article produced by AIR entitled A New Vision for Institutional Research. The concepts presented in this piece are not a prediction of some distant future, but rather a reflection of the current environment in higher education. MORE

One Thing Leads to Another in IR
Marin Clarkberg is Director of Institutional Research at Cornell University and current chair of the AAU Data Exchange Council.

eAIR: Please tell us a little about your role as chair of the AAU Data Exchange Council.

AAU Data Exchange is a consortium comprising the institutional research offices of AAU institutions. It is a lean, volunteer-driven organization. AAUDE simply could not function without individual IR offices stepping up and agreeing to shoulder many of the various tasks that are essential to delivering the mission of the organization. Different from AIR, people are not really "elected" to the governing body, known as the “council.” There is a nominating group that identifies likely suspects, considering a number of factors. Becoming chair was more like a mutual agreement. After some discussion, I agreed to do it! MORE
VLOOKUP COLUMN Function and Named Ranges
By Sally Gerlach, Assistant Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Hamline University
ExcelIcon.png VLOOKUP has been an extremely helpful tool to add variables from one dataset to another in Excel. Sometimes, however, you may want to merge in two or more variables from a different dataset.

You can either use VLOOKUP and change the col_index_num manually across all the columns of data you want to add (e.g. from 2 → 3 → 4 → 5 → 6 → etc.), or you can use the COLUMN function embedded into the VLOOKUP and drag/copy your formula across all the cells you want to fill. MORE
Visualizing Diversity
By David Vintinner, Senior Director of Institutional Research, New York University

VDDJune2016.png A few years ago, we replaced the tables of demographic counts in our annual department profiles with a visualization to help trigger more action from department directors. We wanted the new chart to be simple, clear, and useful to better launch grounded conversations.

Simply put (in other words, in a population of 2), diversity is achieved when you and I are different from each other. 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.
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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