e-AIR Newsletter October 2018

25 Years and Counting: National Student Clearinghouse Advances Lifelong Learning

Douglas ShapiroeAIR spoke to Douglas Shapiro, Executive Research Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, about the 25th anniversary for the National Student Clearinghouse and how the organization has contributed to lifelong learning and student success since 1993.

eAIR: Congratulations on 25 years of service to the K-20 education community! Are there big plans to celebrate this milestone?

Thank you! The National Student Clearinghouse is celebrating 25 years of nonprofit service to education this year and we want to show our appreciation to the higher education community for making it possible. Your participation enables us to provide unique insights regarding students’ educational pathways, transfer outcomes, and academic progress, while simultaneously reducing administrative burdens on postsecondary institutions nationwide. This year, the Clearinghouse has a full schedule of new events – more than 150 -- to share with the education community. More events will be added throughout the year, so make sure you bookmark our events calendar and check back often. Through December 2018, we are also celebrating by giving away monthly prizes in our 25th anniversary sweepstakes, with a grand prize awarded at the end of the year. MORE
Ethical Use of Data
Paige Borden
Board Member at Large
Paige Borden
As more and more campuses employ predictive analytics tools, the logical next question is how to ensure the ethical use of the insights gained. We need to ensure that the information and interactions boost opportunities for students, rather than limit their choices. Institutional researchers are at the forefront of this issue, as we have access to the data, perform analysis, and generate research insights that may trigger interventions by end users. Therefore, we must pay special attention to the ethical use of data.

As an example, my institution has spent the past five years engaging with multiple vendors, implementing different software tools, and doing our best to consider the usage of the findings and how to properly engage with students. In reality, we had pockets of teams following best practices, but we did not have a university-wide approach. My unit is now engaged in coordinating the holistic development of a university philosophy statement governing the ethical use of data. However, my university isn’t alone in this journey!

AIR recognized this critical topic and sponsored multiple events with deep dives into data ethics. In March, the EDUCAUSE/NACUBO/AIR 2018 Enterprise IT Summit included a session on “The Ethics of Analytics.” The May 2018 AIR Forum included an Impact Session on “Exploring the Ethics of Analytics,” a discussion group on “Applying the AIR Code of Ethics…,” and a keynote by Cathy O’Neil, “Weapons of Math Destruction,” that included details on the accidental bias of algorithms.

The AIR Board is also closely following this trend. To encourage an updated focus on the ethical use of data, the Board has plans for an advisory workgroup to update and enhance the AIR Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. While the currently posted version includes amendments from 2013, the general language remains largely unchanged from its original 1992 adoption. The new advisory workgroup will consist of a few Board members and a set of invited AIR members. The group is expected to work through the winter and hopes to have a culminating face-to-face convening in March.

The ethical use of data is a rapidly changing environment for higher education. MORE
First-generation Student Success
The first report from the Center for First-generation Student Success is now available. The report offers a mixed-method analysis of four-year institutions and how they identify and serve first-generation students. 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
Assessing High Impact Practices
Jessica Egbert
Dear Jessica: As a newly promoted Director of IR, how can I leverage our office to improve campus-wide decision-making?

Congratulations on your promotion! Institutional research (IR) is in a decision making and support renaissance. While the IR office may have previously been primarily utilized for standardized reporting, it has become a sophisticated, institution-wide contributor. As such, opportunities abound for leveraging your office to improve campus-wide decision making.

In interviews with colleagues at various institutions, three strategies have arisen about enhancing how IR offices influence decision making. Your response to the following question may determine if these strategies are appropriate for you! (If your response is anywhere on the maybe-to-no continuum, these may be particularly useful!) MORE

This month’s question is answered by Jessica Egbert, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Engagement, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.


Upcoming AIR Webinars: Learn More

2019 Forum Pre/Post-Conference Education

2019 NCES Data Institute

National Survey of Institutional Research Offices: Learn More

Toy Models for Fun and Profit
By Gary R. Moser, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, California State University Maritime Academy

Microsoft Access

During an IR practitioner’s typical work day (if there even is such a thing), one is unlikely to invent problems to solve just for fun; there are enough real problems to work on as it is. However, I am a believer in the importance of “Toy Models” (TM) as a way to gain fluency with tools and methods that one might not otherwise encounter.

Toy models are great for getting your feet wet with new statistical methods, or as a way to develop a deeper, more intuitive understanding of ideas you’re already familiar with. MORE
Benchmark with Data from the National Survey of IR Offices
eAIR spoke to Katherine Coy, Jeremy Goodman, and Michele Hansen about how they have used data from the 2015 National Survey of IR Offices. They also look ahead to how they will use the new benchmarking tool available with the 2018 National Survey.

NSIROeAIR: How did you use data from the 2015 National Survey to improve your IR Office?

Jeremy Goodman (Olin College): First and foremost, the results of the 2015 National Survey helped me understand my colleagues better. When we are at the AIR Forum or other meetings, we often discover through conversation how much variety there is to our roles – the kinds of data we have access to, how we intersect with accreditation responsibilities, the varying breadth and depth of how we serve our institutions. The National Survey helped paint a clearer picture of that. I learned that my single-person office would be characterized as broad in personality (defined as engagement “with nearly all data initiatives”), that I have access to a greater range of data than many of my colleagues (hello there, unrestricted access to financial aid data!), and that my consumer base has historically been typical – largely senior leadership and academic initiatives. MORE
Visualizing Career Outcomes with Qlik
Visual Display of Data Iryna Johnson, Associate Director for Analytics and Katherine Barker, Graduate Research Assistant, Institutional Research, Auburn University

Surveys of students and alumni play an important role in understanding career outcomes. However, survey results are frequently presented in aggregated form and represent the student population as a whole, rather than parsing out the data by department or by program.

Such static reports that represent the entire university are of little use to educational programs and departments. To make data relevant for educational programs, the Office of Institutional Research has created Qlik visualizations of university-wide surveys.

Career outcomes are measured using three surveys currently conducted by the office. Graduating Senior Exit Survey is conducted among graduating undergraduates; response rates for this survey range from 50% to 60%. Graduate Student Exit Survey is conducted among graduating graduate students, and response rates for this survey are typically close to 40%. MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from this influential journal:

- Innovative Higher Education
Announcements for AO and IR community conferences, meetings, institutes, and symposiums. See the LISTINGS.
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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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