e-AIR Newsletter September 2014

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Labor Market Information: Gauging Effectiveness in Preparing Students for the Workforce

By Alicia Crouch, Director of Research and Data Analysis and Baron Wolf, Coordinator of Institutional Research & Communications, both from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System

Figure 1: LABOR MARKET INFORMATIONEffectively preparing students for the workforce and meeting the needs of employers are integral parts of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) mission. To gauge its effectiveness in these areas, KCTCS began performing regular matches of educational records and Kentucky’s unemployment insurance data in 2005.

KCTCS uses this match and additional sources of traditional and real-time labor market information to inform accountability efforts, program approval, and curriculum review in an effort to support student success and employability.

High Wage, High Demand Completions
KCTCS graduate data are combined with traditional labor market information (occupation wage rates and occupational projections) produced by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. MORE
Direction of the Association
By Gary R. Pike
2014-2015 AIR Vice President
VP Gary PikeDuring the August AIR Board of Directors meeting, we unanimously approved a new Ends Policy statement for the Association:

AIR exists so that higher education institutions effectively use institutional research—data, information, and analysis for decision support—in a rapidly changing environment. This must be done within AIR’s available resources.

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.
Higher education leaders view institutional research as essential.

The final Ends statement is slightly different than earlier versions the AIR Board shared with members. The key difference is that we included the words “institutional research” in the broad statement that forms the base of the pyramid representing the difference AIR intends to make.

The changes in the Ends statement are more than “wordsmithing.” The changes are intended to broaden the focus of the Association. We chose to use a small “i” and a small “r,” rather than capital letters to emphasize that we are interested in everyone who performs research at colleges and universities, not just staff in IR offices. 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.
Using the Excel Combine Rows Wizard
?By Kristin McKinley, Associate Director of Research Administration, Lawrence University
Combine Rows Excel Add-InOur Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid recently asked me for information about how to combine multiple rows of data for a given student into a single row within an Excel worksheet. I shared with him two ways that I typically handle this depending on the complexity and size of the worksheet: (1) manually copying and pasting or (2) using formulas, such as concatenating (=CONC).

While I have only done this manually a few times, I found it to be extremely time-consuming and more likely to produce errors. This prompted me to look for a new solution to the issue. MORE

How Technology May Change the Horizon of IR
?By Zhao Yang, Financial Planning Manager, University Budget Office, Old Dominion University
How Technology May Change the Horizon of IRDuring the industrial revolution, the progression of occupation was measured by the level of machinery use. Craftsmen were replaced by massive industrial production lines. With the invention of the computer, the new wave of advancement of occupations has been underway. For most data processing occupations, the measure for the progression is the level of less human-interaction and more automation.

IR, as a data processing and analytical occupation, is still at the craftsman level, or the machine-aided hand-production stage, if we compare it to the history of industrial revolution. Will this craftsman-level operation change with rapid technology advancement in the information industry? MORE
A New Workplace Environment: How Do I Transition Well?
Camille ShepherdDear Camille: I’m starting a new position in a workplace environment that’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. What suggestions do you have for helping to ensure a smooth transition?

Camille Shepherd, Assessment Specialist in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at Midwestern State University, recently relocated to Texas from the United Kingdom. She offers advice for navigating successful transitions to new workplace environments. MORE

Call for Volunteers

Call for Proposals

IPEDS Data as the Public Face of an Institution
Sonia Schaible-BrandonSonia Schaible-Brandon is Director of Institutional Research at Colorado Mesa University. She serves as a lead instructor for the workshop IPEDS Data as the Public Face of an Institution. Sonia spoke with eAIR about the workshop and shared examples of how IPEDS data are used in the public domain.

eAIR: What is the goal of presenting the workshop IPEDS Data as the Public Face of an Institution?

In my mind, the main goal of Public Face is to communicate to those responsible for data submission how important it is to maintain accuracy and integrity when submitting the data because it is so public-facing. MORE


Hot Topics for IR
The 2015 AIR Forum Call for Proposals will open in just a few days (Sept. 15). As you plan your proposal, it may help to review a list of hot topics from the 2014 Forum, as indicated by the 10 concurrent sessions with the highest rating and greatest attendance.
  1. Identifying Critical Courses that Predict Dropout
  2. Leading Data Governance Activities: Perspectives from Two Institutions
  3. On Demand Interactive Dashboards—PowerPivot, a Free and Simple Tool
  4. CAIR Best Presentation: Six Stages of Growth for the IR Professional
  5. "Power" Tools for IR Reporting
  6. FERPA and its Role In Institutional Research – How to Play it Safe
  7. IPEDS Upload File Formats – Leveraging Technology to Reduce Reporting Burden
  8. SAS and Excel Go Hand in Hand for Automation: Data Management to IR Reports
  9. Building a Better Attainment Metric: The Student Achievement Measure (SAM)
  10. Making the Most of College and University Rankings
To view these and other presentations from the 2014 Forum, visit the 2014 MyForum web app.

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 this influential journal:
- 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.

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