e-AIR Newsletter March 2017

Institutional Researchers: Trainers, Coaches, and Educators

By Gina Johnson, Association for Institutional Research; Kara Larkan-Skinner, Our Lady of the Lake University; and Jessica Shedd, University of Texas System

In January 2017, AIR released the Duties & Functions of Institutional Research. AIR and its members are now exploring the practical application of the duties and functions. This article delves into the duty and function area: Educate information producers, users, and consumers.

This functional area encompasses the training and coaching related to the use of data, analysis, and information to inform decision making. Education can be focused on ensuring the ability to collect, access, analyze, and interpret information independently and in collaboration with other stakeholders. The function also includes a collaborative role in convening discussions related to information needs and connecting internal and external producers and users of data with one another for purposes of informing decision making. Scholarship to inform and improve data, information, and analysis for decision support is also included in this function. MORE
Looking Ahead: AIR and IR
Glenn W. James, 2016-2017 AIR President
As announced previously, Christine M. Keller has accepted the position of AIR Executive Director and will begin work in her new position in early May.

Dr. Keller is an accomplished association leader and institutional research professional who is currently serving as Vice President for Research and Policy Analysis at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). The AIR Board of Directors, AIR Executive Office Staff, and many AIR members already have expressed how pleased and excited we are to begin working with Dr. Keller. We can look forward to welcoming her to her new position at the 2017 AIR Forum, May 30 - June 2 in Washington, DC.

As of the release of this edition of eAIR, the Board of Directors will be meeting in Washington, DC with Dr. Keller. The Board is very pleased to have an opportunity to meet with her, connect more extensively, and begin to address the future together. The meeting agenda includes a review, exploration, and discussion of the duties and functions of institutional research, as well as the knowledge and skills needed to perform those duties and functions.

A component in the AIR Ends Policy stipulates that the Association will seek to achieve the following End:

Institutional researchers have knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties and functions of institutional research, including: methods and tools; internal institutional effectiveness; external accountability; professional and interpersonal skills; and research and scholarship.

In recent years, in pursuit of the achievement of this Ends statement, the Executive Director has worked with the Executive Office staff, AIR members, and other colleagues in higher education to develop a comprehensive collection of the duties and functions of IR. The Board will review and discuss this collection of duties and functions in order to provide feedback to the Executive Director and also to explore and consider how the current conception of duties and functions integrates with the Board’s conception of the future of institutional research and of AIR. MORE
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
National Veteran Education Success Tracker
With research provided by the Student Veterans Association, this detailed report focuses on the National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST), a project that seeks to understand student veteran academic outcomes as they relate to the use of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits... MORE.
Dealing with Questionable Historic Data
Dear Gary: How do you deal with questionable/bad historic data? Do you go back and investigate/change/update 10+ years’ worth of reports or just cut your losses and move forward with a better system?

Data cleaning is one of those areas that often creates debate within institutional research offices. Some people view census or snapshot data as sacred while others believe you should make revisions when incorrect data is discovered. There is no correct answer, so you should handle circumstances on a case-by-case basis. If your campus has a data governance group, this is an excellent topic for them to discuss since data cleaning might involve more than the IR office. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Gary Lowe, Principal Analyst, Institutional Planning & Analysis, University of California-Merced.
Data Bite
What does the profile of the average Director of IR look like? Results from the National Survey of IR Offices, in combination with AIR’s membership data, show that the average IR Director is 50 years old, has an advanced degree (46% have master’s degrees and 43% have doctoral degrees), has spent 11 years in IR, and 6.5 years leading IR at their current institution.

Additionally, the average IR Director spends nearly half their time on meetings (5.3 hours/week), basic analytics (5.2 hours/week), data collection (4.6 hours/week), and data governance (4.5 hours/week). MORE

Supporting and Assessing Liberal Arts Education
eAIR recently spoke with Charles Blaich and Kathy Wise from the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College about their work to help colleges and universities strengthen their assessment efforts.

eAIR: The Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education focused on helping colleges and universities to improve student learning related to key liberal arts education outcomes, to which many institutions can relate. What are some success stories from that study?

Kathy: One of the things we found with the Wabash National Study is that it is important to prioritize and pick one thing to focus on and then make sure that everyone on campus is focusing on that same thing. One institution we worked with created a short, course-based survey centered on NSSE that focused on academic challenge. They invited faculty to a pilot study where they administered the survey in their classes, and IR compiled the data and gave it back to faculty. The survey was anonymous, but faculty could see themselves in relation to their peers and determine how positive changes in the classroom might be reflected in the data. MORE
Enrollment Management: Gauge Charts
By Liying Cui, Analyst, Data and Analytics Group, College of Online and Continuing Education, Southern New Hampshire University

We developed a dashboard for enrollment operations in the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University. The dashboard is updated daily and provides the enrollment management team with a quick view into operational metrics.

Besides a tabular view of enrollment goals and actual numbers with a drill down to different groups, the dashboard includes gauge charts as a visual display. MORE
Project Management Using Microsoft Planner
By Kristin McKinley, Director of Research Administration at Lawrence University
Are you looking for a way to manage and organize tasks, work, and projects? Do you want to encourage collaboration among your team members? Microsoft Planner may be the answer (if your institution subscribes to Office 365)! Since it is powered by the Cloud, you can get to files from almost anywhere – PC, Mac, and tablets – and they are always up to date.

Planner allows teams to create plans, organize, assign, and collaborate on tasks, set deadlines, and upload/share files. The bonus is that all work stays within the plan. MORE

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

- Research in Higher Education

- Innovative Higher Education
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.
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
There are more than 150 listed on AIR's Job Board.
Search Now!