e-AIR Newsletter November 2018

Enhancing Analytics Capacity through Collaboration

Douglas Shapiro Wikipedia defines analytics as the “discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data.” It is a term heard frequently on campuses and at other educational organizations, though it is not always clear that the higher education community has a consistent definition of this concept. Analysis, on the other hand, is a broad concept involving the collection, interpretation, and reporting of data to inform decision making. Generally, analytics refers to the use of technical tools and analysis techniques to conduct analyses.

In our interactions with members and partners, AIR is hearing that an organization’s analytics capacity is enhanced when a collaborative atmosphere is present. Developing resources and partnerships to enhance analytics capacity in higher education is one of AIR’s top priorities. MORE
Look for the Helpers
Michelle Appel
AIR President
Michelle Appel, AIR President
October was quite the month - for me personally, for my university, for our Association, and for our country.

Family illness, institutional crises, hurricanes, and senseless hate crimes can make simply waking up and facing the day seem like an act of bravery.

In my part of the world, this has taken place as the weather turns cooler, the trees shed their leaves, the fields lay fallow, and daylight becomes scarcer.

In times like these, I am reminded of the sage advice from my childhood television “neighbor,” Mr. Rogers. He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.‘“

Throughout October I was thankful for the many acts of kindness and help I witnessed. AIR Board and Executive Office colleagues made sure Association business continued smoothly while expressing care and concern on a personal level, to me and to those dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane.

My colleagues here at Maryland have allowed me to make family care my first priority, even as we work together to keep doing our best for the university we love. And I have witnessed countless examples of compassion and kindness - to my family and to hurting communities.

For example, NEAIR held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, just after the Tree of Life murders, and provided attendees with suggested ways to help the hurting community.

One of the sentiments I hear most from members of the IR community is our desire to help improve our institutions and support our students in achieving their goals. We believe that the data, analyses, and interpretations we provide can and do make a difference for our institutions and in the lives of students.

That passion for student success, continuous improvement, and educational mission is what attracted me to IR over 20 years ago, and what has kept me engaged in our work.

Even as our profession has evolved and the environments in which our institutions operate change, this passion remains strong and true.

As we in the United States enter the season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for our profession and our commitment to empowering decisions that improve the lives of individual students and higher education in general.

I am thankful our profession has connected me to smart and engaging people who care deeply about their colleagues and their institutions. And I am thankful I have been able to help my own colleagues and the institutions I have served. May we all be so fortunate. MORE
Generation Z Increasingly Picking Trade School Over College
As new high school graduates from Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2003) enter higher education, researchers note a rising interest in trade schools and internships that allow students to enter the workforce more quickly with less debt. A Brookings Institute report that found that states are updating their policies, regulations, and funding for career and technology education (CTE). MORE
Keeping the AIR Community Informed
AIR welcomes brief announcements of interest to the higher education community, such as the release of a report, funding opportunities, or a request for applications. MORE
Streamlining Data Requests
Jerry Oman
Dear Jerry: Our IR office is swamped with custom data requests every semester. How can we streamline our system so that we can focus on higher value-added analyses for the university and reduce time spent on custom projects?

Proactively Make Information Available
When I started my career in IR, self-service intelligence reporting platforms were increasing in popularity and gaining traction. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Jerry Oman, Institutional Analytics and Strategic Effectiveness, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Visualizing Survey Data in Tableau

National Survey of Institutional Research Offices

2019 AIR Awards


Scholarships Available: Learn More

Importing/Exporting Fixed Data with R
By Blake Madden, Institutional Data Analyst, Edison State Community College

R Logo A common format used for reporting data is fixed-width columns. In this format, columns are set to a specific width, with no delimiters between them. This is an optimal way to store data, but can prove to be difficult when importing and exporting it. For example, most spreadsheet applications (e.g., Microsoft® Excel) offer fixed-width importing, but using this feature is tedious and prone to errors. MORE
UNC Pembroke Dashboard
By Aaron Pathripala, Manager of Data Collection & Reporting, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Dashboard Chart In January 2017, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina unanimously approved Higher Expectations, a five-year strategic plan for the UNC System.

The plan calls on the UNC System to achieve ambitious goals in access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and institutional excellence and diversity. MORE

Promoting Quality, Impact, and Scale
eAIR spoke with Jonathan Gagliardi, Assistant Vice President for Strategy, Policy, and Analytics, Lehman College, about his new role, plans for the future, and career accomplishments.

NSIROeAIR: Congratulations on your new role as Assistant Vice President for Strategy, Policy, and Analytics at Lehman College. Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities in this newly created position?

My knowledge of higher education was shaped by a host of experiences. These include my time helping to lead American Council on Education’s center for Policy Research and Strategy, serving Nancy Zimpher and the State University of New York, and working with Rebecca Martin at the National Association of System Heads. Each of these underscored how important it is to serve an evolving student demographic, create more dynamic and resilient institutions, and support transformational leaders through the use of data and application of analytics. As I became more familiar with Lehman it became clear that the college really embodies the future of American higher education. When the opportunity to join Lehman in this new role surfaced, it was too good to be true. MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from this influential journal:

- Innovative Higher Education

- Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition

- New Directions for Institutional Research

- Research in Higher Education
Excel Combo Chart
By Charlise Anderson, Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Jarvis Christian College

Often the Office of IR is asked to provide data and visual regarding degrees awarded, graduate school placement, and job placement. Rather than sending 3 visuals, the office has used Excel Combo Chart to provide the viewer with an overall visual. MORE

Visual Display of Data
Announcements for AO and IR community conferences, meetings, institutes, and symposiums. See the LISTINGS.
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
Thanks to the AIR Community
Here are some special thanks to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for our Association
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