eAIR Newsletter September 2016

IPEDS Collection Changes: Get Involved, Be Informed

By Eric S. Atchison, Director of System Analysis, Research, and Enrollment Management, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and IPEDS State Coordinator

I remember it like it was yesterday. Being fairly acquainted with IPEDS data submission and two years on the job as an analyst, I thought I was prepared to report our institution’s financial aid data in an efficient manner with fewer edits and (hopefully) no fatal errors.

Once the winter collection opened, I realized I was severely underprepared. I had not paid attention to the numerous electronic notifications and had skipped the IPEDS Update at our regional IR conference for another session. The Student Financial Aid component had been expanded to collect data on four student cohorts with varying aid reported in each group. I spent weeks trying to understand the plethora of changes and alter our reporting schema to comply with the instructions. It was this chain of events that led me to further investigate the process by which survey components changed.

With the IPEDS fall collection now open, you may be looking over the recently approved changes to the collection system for the current year as well as upcoming changes for 2017-18 and 2018-19. This year’s collection brings many changes to several of the IPEDS components. MORE
AIR and IR Moving Forward
By Ellen Peters
2016-2017 AIR Vice President
The AIR Board met in August with a full agenda of seemingly separate issues, but upon further thought, they are all strongly related:

Monitoring Reports. Those of you who are regular readers of the Board Corner (and even some who are not) will be familiar with the concept of Ends Policies that are part of our governance model (last page of the Governance Policies). It is these Ends that drive the work of AIR, and for which the Executive Office is accountable.

What you may not know is that the Executive Office provides Monitoring Reports on a regular basis that inform the Board about how well the Executive Office is fulfilling the Policies.

In August, we received the Monitoring Report for the Ends policies. The report lays out a set of proposed measures to help us understand how well we are achieving our Ends; this will be the work of our next CEO, which brings us to the next item we discussed at length – the Executive Director search.

Executive Director Search. The Board has retained Ted Marchese of AGB Search to assist us with the search, and a prospectus for the position is posted on the AIR website.

Dr. Marchese has met with the AIR staff, the Board, and the Search Committee to gain an understanding of AIR and our needs. We anticipate a late fall and winter of activity as the search committee reviews candidate materials, and the Board appoints a new CEO in late winter or early spring of 2017.

Please share this exciting opportunity with colleagues who might be well suited to the position or who may know someone who is. The next Executive Director of AIR will help us best operate in a world that is more and more dependent on data that is available broadly (as articulated in the Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research).

Our third significant agenda item had to do with the future of IR. MORE
Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
Two-Year Enrollment After Bachelor’s Degree
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has published another Snapshot Report, an on-going series of briefs that seek to inform higher education stakeholders of institutional sector and student behavioral trends. This report focuses on students that have attained bachelor’s degrees and subsequently enroll in two-year institutions. 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.
Demand for Data Transparency/Accountability
Dear Kevork: How can our IR office meet the increasing demand for data transparency and accountability with limited staff?

Like many IR/Effectiveness offices at smaller institutions, one of the main challenges we face is the size of our staff. The increasing external demands for reporting, transparency, and accountability, as well as the internal shift in culture to be more data-driven, make serving our internal constituents challenging. Following are some of the practices we have adopted at Bucknell to address those challenges. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Kevork Horissian, Assistant Provost for Institutional Research & Assessment, Bucknell University.
Data Bite
In last month’s Data Bite, we learned that 51 percent of Offices of IR are located within the division of the Provost/Chief Academic Officer and 26 percent are located within the division of the President/Chief Executive Officer.

Who does the Office of IR director/senior manager report to within those divisions? We find 37 percent of directors of IR at public, two-year institutions report directly to the institution’s president/CEO (compared to 16 percent and 12 percent for directors of IR at private, not-for-profit, four-year institutions and public, four-year institutions, respectively). MORE

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Code – 2016 Digital Pass

These two sessions from the 2016 Digital Pass highlight the use of R, a free and open-source programming language. Both presentations walk you through a demonstration of creating and using code. No prior R experience is necessary. Find out about the R community within institutional research.

Creating Data Visualizations Using R: An Introduction for Non-Programmers
Creating graphs is a central part of the IR workload, but it can be frustrating. The presenter argues that IR professionals would be better off using R, and even those without any programming experience can learn R. A demonstration is provided on how to create and modify a scatter plot using ggplot2, an R package for building highly customizable visualizations. The presentation aims to empower viewers to use R to improve the quantity, quality, and reproducibility of their work. Presenter: Arie Spirgel, Nova Southeastern University

Instant Comparison: IPEDS Survey Files Working for You
IPEDS provides useful longitudinal and peer comparison data, but it can be time consuming to sift through all the available data to select institutions and variables of interest. This session describes how one IR office used R to automatically shape and merge full IPEDS survey files into a usable format that provides peer and longitudinal comparison data and is compatible with Tableau. Presenter: Emma Morgan, Tufts University

Across the Ocean: Adopting a New Vision for IR
Recently, the Chinese AIR in Changsha, China, hosted a conference at which several AIR and OCAIR members presented sessions. AIR member Shuguang Wei was one of the major organizers of the event, which was attended by more than 600 Chinese IR professionals. eAIR spoke with Shuguang as well as several OCAIR/AIR members, including Ruan Hoe, Yuerong Sweetland, Yan Wang, and Faxian Yang, who braved the long trip to bridge the communication gap and support the rapidly developing field of IR in China.

eAIR: Tell us about the preparation for the Chinese AIR Conference held in Changsha, Hunan, this past July. How did AIR, OCAIR, and the Chinese AIR organization collaborate for this event?

Yan Wang and Faxian Yang: At the 2015 AIR Forum in Denver, representatives from Chinese AIR met with OCAIR members to discuss topics related to institutional research. That conversation led to the Chinese AIR extending an invitation to the OCAIR Steering Committee to organize a delegation of members who could offer pre-conference workshops and serve as plenary speakers at the 2016 Chinese AIR International Conference. Ultimately, Ruan Hoe, Yuerong Sweetland, Faxian Yang, and I were selected to represent OCAIR at the conference. MORE
Qualitative Data Tool: Using QDA Miner Lite
By Barry Nagle, Managing Partner/Senior Researcher, Evaluation and Action Research Associates
ExcelIcon.png As researchers, we often receive requests to include multiple, open-ended questions in a survey. Software designed specifically to analyze qualitative data, such as open-ended survey questions, can be prohibitively expensive.

QDA Miner Lite offers a free option for researchers that can facilitate qualitative data analysis. As a note, this Tech Tip is an introduction to the software, rather than how to perform a qualitative data analysis. MORE
Transfers to Public Colleges by Degree Level
By Sam Michalowski, Director of Institutional Research, College of Staten Island

This bubble graph created in Tableau portrays the public colleges to which College of Staten Island (CSI) freshmen enrolling between 2001 and 2014 transferred before earning a degree.

Students’ administrative data records were matched to the National Student Clearinghouse and CUNY University data systems. This graph is used to better understand where CSI students are transferring with an aim of improving student retention. MORE
Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:

- Research in Higher Education
- New Directions for Institutional Research
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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