e-AIR Newsletter September 2018

Listening to Improve our Association

Forum Session RecordingsBy Ellen Peters, AIR Immediate Past President and Gina Johnson, AIR Assistant Executive Director for Partnerships & Membership

What did members say?

AIR members talked a lot last year. We know, because we listened. We were – and still are – interested in the perceived changes to the field and AIR’s role in addressing these changes. Listening sessions were hosted by the AIR Board and Executive Office staff between summer 2017 and early 2018. We asked three questions during these sessions, which were conducted at regional and state AIR Affiliated Organization (AO) events and other higher education gatherings. MORE
From Professional Development to Professional Responsibility: My Journey to a New Understanding
Shari Ellertson
Board Member at Large
Shari Ellertson
Back in the day, my professor in graduate school gave me a nudge to submit a proposal for a national conference. My first thought was “Wow, really?!” I thought it was neat that someone I admired so much thought this was something I could do.

Then, I thought, “Who me? I’m not sure I have anything to say!” He assured me that the evaluation project I had been working on was worth talking about. After all, if our institution was wrestling with how to address an issue, then certainly, others were too. That made sense and it felt good to know we were probably not alone.

“But I don’t know that I have the best example,” I countered. He said that nobody had “THE” answer. Rather, he suggested, we could spark a discussion with others by bringing this topic to the surface. He was so enthusiastic about the possibilities of getting a discussion started. That was new to me, as I had been thinking of the conference as more of a one-way classroom rather than a two-way conversation.

“Well, I’m nervous about speaking to a large audience. A lot of people at the conference have much more experience than I do,” I said. He suggested that this would be a great way to pick the brains of others who may have already encountered this topic in their work. Also a good point, I thought. I could actually ask other people for input on MY project. Plus, I could stretch my presentation skills; I had given plenty of presentations in class and they had always gone just fine.

“But what if they ask me questions I don’t know the answers to. I don’t want to look foolish.” He assured me that nobody has answers to all questions. I really didn’t understand how he could be saying this. After all, he had written/produced literally hundreds of articles and presentations. He asked me what the worst thing that could happen would be if someone asked a question I couldn’t answer. “Well, I guess I could just tell the person I don’t know or write down their question and get back to them," I said. He suggested that I could also ask other audience members if they had the answer. That didn’t sound so bad.

I would prepare the presentation to the very best of my ability, and be open to questions for which I may not have an answer.

Our conversation turned from one of professional development for me (what would I gain?) to one of professional responsibility (what could I give?). I realized my education and experiences were not simply a means to an end (obtaining a job or being promoted) but, really, just a beginning. My education was preparing me to contribute to the profession, and it was my responsibility to do so. Wow. MORE
Forward50 is seeking feedback on its recommendations to remove obstacles to getting to and through college. The IR community is well-positioned to respond; we know the context in which students thrive. Share your thoughts and comments by September 28. MORE
Keeping the AIR Community Informed
Call for proposals, college rankings, journal articles, surveys, and more.
Assessing High Impact Practices
Ask eAIR
Dear Ishuan: How can faculty members or program coordinators at my institution assist IR in carrying out successful assessment of “High Impact Practices” (HIPs) such as Learning Communities?

My answer to this question is informed by my experience as a teaching faculty member and my training as an applied economist. As a faculty member in a large public university in the Midwest, my main duty is to instruct undergraduate courses each semester. I have taught Learning Community (LC) courses, such as Business Statistics, serving students in the College of Business. My teaching experience includes senior capstone (Senior Research Seminar) and writing-intensive courses.

Over the years, I have mentored many undergraduate research projects and supervised student independent studies and internships. Currently, I serve as the Vice President of the International Honor Society in Economics (Omicron Delta Epsilon). MORE

This month’s question is answered by ​Ishuan Li, Associate Professor of Economics, Minnesota State University-Mankato.

2018-19 IPEDS Fall Collection Now Open

AIR Webinar - How Does My IR Office Compare?

Get Involved in AIR

2019 AIR Forum Call for Proposals Now Open

2019 NCSED Data Institute

Customized Help for Excel Workbooks
Microsoft AccessScenario: You have a workbook that is very complex, packed with formulas, data tables, and worksheets that need to be sorted in a particular order, etc. However, it is a very nice, flexible workbook that would allow people to view data in a variety of ways… if they could only be relied on to use the workbook properly.

One route would be to create a manual to go with the workbook, but these things get lost or left behind, and people have to leaf through them to find the part they want.

Another route is to create unobtrusive help within the workbook that is there when needed, but largely out of the way when not.

This workbook uses a minimum amount of VBA, with a form button to control the display/non-display of formatted text boxes in a worksheet. MORE
Cultivating a Data Culture in Higher Education
Ishuan Li
Kristina Powers

Ishuan Li
Angela E. Henderson
eAIR recently spoke with editors Kristina Powers, President, K Powers Consulting and Angela E. Henderson, Director of Institutional Research & Effectiveness, Stetson University, about their recent volume, Cultivating a Data Culture in Higher Education.

eAIR: What is a data culture?

Great question! In fact – this is the very first thing that we focus on in chapter 1 (page 3) of the book because it is a common question. “At the core level, a data culture focuses on the use of information to make sound decisions that help an institution attain a competitive gain. It is not a focus on numbers, but rather on effective use of resources to make advantageous decisions. Let us be clear that a data culture is not a reliance on figures at the expense of individuals with subject matter expertise within the institutions.

eAIR: What does it mean to be a change agent within your institution?

People often think of a change agent as someone who is a senior leader because they have the ability to make change. While this is true, change can occur by people throughout the organization at all levels. Given your role and responsibilities, consider who you work with and what change is needed within your sphere of influence. Everyone has some influence. Even little changes can create noticeable impact. For example, an analyst brought forward a thoughtful proposal on how to improve data quality that frustrated her. While she had intended for me to make the change based on the information she shared with me, I encouraged her to see that the most appropriate person to evoke the change was her since she knew the issue and players better than I did. MORE
Student Voting Engagement
By Lisa Castellino, Associate Vice President and Michael Le, Research Associate, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Humboldt State University

In January 2012, the U.S. Department of Education issued a “call to action” challenging colleges and universities to support academic programs and experiences designed to increase student civic learning and engagement in democracy. Many campuses already support civic learning experiences. We know very little, however, about whether these experiences increase the knowledge, skills, and commitment students will need to engage in democracy, in politics, policymaking, and social action. MORE

Visual Display of Data

Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from this influential journal:

- Research in Higher Education
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
There are more than 130 listed on AIR's Job Board.
Search Now!
facebook icon AIR on Google Maps Button AIR Home Button Email AIR Button