e-AIR Newsletter April 2014

APRIL 2014 NEWSLETTER, VOL. 34, ISSUE 4 | A SERVICE OF AIR SINCE 1987
How Do Your Skills and Objectives Fit with the National Picture of IR?

Do you work in a centralized IR office? Is your work focused primarily on students and student success? Are you charged with planning-related responsibilities? Do you have the skills to analyze data, write reports, interpret policy, and communicate effectively with myriad stakeholders?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, your work resonates with IR offices across the U.S., as highlighted in a National Association of System Heads (NASH) study that illuminates the work of IR at state system offices and the institutions that report to system offices. Read more about the study findings and download the NASH report. MORE
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BOARD CORNER
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Let’s Do This!
By Sandi Bramblett
2013-2014 AIR President
Happy spring from the AIR Board! I’ve been inspired by Home Depot’s latest round of commercials that have everything to do with turning a drab backyard into a beautiful spring garden. When I hear the voice say “Let’s do this,” I’m all ready to get to work.

In last month’s Board Corner, I wrote about the Board’s meeting in Atlanta. I’m happy to report that the Board, as usual, had the “Let’s do this” approach. You will soon be seeing the results of our discussion around the Ends.

First of all though, I need to give a shout-out! In addition to my husband and my editor, four other people read last month’s Board corner. Bill, Jennifer, Gerry, and Kimberly….thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! We value your feedback and I hope that you’ll be pleased with the final result of the Board’s Ends discussion.

Secondly, our work on the Ends stretched out over two days in which the conversations were inquisitive, lively, and enlightening. At the conclusion of the two-day marathon, we began crafting a statement on the Ends that acknowledges AIR’s role in decision support and our desire to ensure that you have the knowledge and skills needed to navigate that role on your campus and beyond.

We understand that practitioners require knowledge about methods and tools as well as professional and interpersonal skills. The duties and functions of institutional research include effectiveness, accountability, and research and scholarship. Leaders in higher education, whether they are presidents, provosts, agency heads, or foundation boards, should view institutional research as essential - and AIR will play a role in ensuring that we can do this. MORE
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ANNOUNCEMENTS
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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
CHANGING SCENE
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Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
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AIR ANNOUNCEMENT
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2014 AIR Award Recipients Announced
Each year, AIR members recognize their colleagues who have made extraordinary contributions to the success of the Association and to the institutional research profession. AIR celebrates the 2014 award recipients:

AIR Outstanding Service Award
James F. Trainer, Associate Vice President and Executive Director, Office of Planning & Institutional Research, Villanova University

John E. Stecklein Distinguished Member Award
Jeffrey A. Seybert, Consultant, National Higher Education Benchmarking Institute, Johnson County Community College

Sidney Suslow Scholar Award
Richard D. Howard, Director of University-Wide Office of Institutional Research & Professor, University of Minnesota (Retired)

Read the award recipients’ letters of acceptance and learn more about the awards. MORE
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VISUAL DISPLAY OF DATA
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Comparing Propensity-Matched Groups Over Two Terms for Math Course Outcomes
By Bettina Hansel, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, Borough of Manhattan Community College
We were faced with a challenge to compare the outcomes of a brand new alternative remedial math course to the traditional algebra-based remedial math course that we have always offered. The courses are very different both in the curriculum and in the instruction method, and often the students taking the courses are very different as well. But both are intended to prepare students for one of several college-level math course options.

We decided to use propensity-score matching to find a better comparison group for our new course. Based on variables likely to relate to academic success, we used a logistic regression model to create the propensity scores and matched the 418 students in the new course with a highly similar group of 418 taking the traditional course. MORE
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ASK eAIR
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Leveraging Negotiating Skills in the IR Environment
Ask eAIR invites questions from AIR members about the work of institutional research, careers in the field, and other broad topics that resonate with a large cross-section of readers. This month’s question is answered by Kristina M. Cragg, Associate Vice President of Institutional Research at Ashford University.

Dear Kristina: At times I find it frustrating that my colleagues in and out of IR don’t understand or share my concerns, goals, and approach. What suggestions do you have to work more collaboratively with colleagues across my institution? MORE
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SPECIAL FEATURE
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Fostering a Spirit of Exploration in IR
Exploring innovative uses of data takes time, but Ryan Cherland explains that it is worth the effort. He spoke with eAIR about instilling a spirit of exploration in the Office of Institutional Research at UC Irvine, how it contributes to a culture of decision-support, and why it is fun. MORE

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IR IN THE KNOW
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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
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RESOURCES
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IRecommend: Resources for IR
Always on the look-out for quick solutions or new tools? Peruse these brief synopses of resources AIR members find helpful, and share your recommendations in the comments section.

In April, AIR members recommended CUPA-HR, the U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts, and the U.S. Education Dashboard. MORE
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TECH TIPS
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Installing and Using RExcel
​By Barry Nagle, Managing Partner/Senior Researcher, Evaluation and Action Research Associates
R has become my primary statistical analysis tool. It is powerful, cost-effective and gives experienced users the ability to perform analyses without having to purchase additional programs. Microsoft® Excel, however, is still a primary data management tool for many researchers, including me. There is an answer to having to use multiple programs. An Excel Add-In that combines power of R with Excel’s efficiency is available. MORE

Using Reference Management Software
​By Gary R. Moser, Institutional Research, Analysis, and Decision Support Analyst, California State University-East Bay
As IR professionals it is important to stay on top of the academic literature and to cite those publications in our work. In order to do that well, I find it helpful to have a dedicated system for collecting, organizing, and accessing scholarly works of interest. That is what reference management software is designed to do. MORE
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JOURNAL NEWS
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Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:
- Innovative Higher Education
- Research in Higher Education
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OTHER EVENTS
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Announcements for conferences, meetings, institutes, symposiums, and other events of interest. See the LISTINGS.
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THANK YOU
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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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JOBS
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There are more than 160 listed on AIR's Job Board.
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