e-AIR Newsletter June 2018

JUNE 2018 NEWSLETTER, VOL. 38, ISSUE 6 | A SERVICE OF AIR SINCE 1987
New Data, New Possibilities: Benchmarking with NCES Sample Surveys

Analyzing a ReportBy Austin Caperton, Research Analyst and Manager of Institution Relations, RTI International

With the recent release of the 2015-16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:16) by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a common question posed by institutional researchers—especially those who provided data for the survey—goes something like this: “What kinds of data are available with NPSAS, where can I access them, and how can I use the data to benefit my own institution?”

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is widely used within the IR community as a benchmarking tool to compare institutional measures such as enrollment and financial aid. Because the data are publicly available, measures are relatively stable over time, and peer institutions can be easily compared using the customizable Data Feedback Report, IPEDS is particularly useful for these purposes.

Benchmarking possibilities with IPEDS are, however, limited by the aggregate nature of the data and the definitions used to create those measures. MORE

 
BOARD CORNER
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After the Forum, Our Work Begins
Michelle Appel
AIR President
Michelle Appel
Those of us able to attend the Forum last month likely came back to our institutions with lots of new ideas and new perspectives. I always think of the Forum as the place where I am professionally reinvigorated, where I find lots of new ideas that sometimes turn into new projects. So, while the Forum comes at the end of both the academic year and my campus’ fiscal year, it is also the beginning of new ideas and projects.

Similarly, the AIR Board transitions at the Forum. We said goodbye to members transitioning off the Board and we welcomed new ones.

This year, we set aside time for “office hours” to listen to what members had to say, and we engaged in sessions that brought new focus for us on issues we’d been pondering. The Forum allowed me, as President, to think about and share my areas of focus for the Board for the upcoming year.

As a Board, our job is to pay attention to the long-term goals for the Association, and we delegate the operational tasks associated with those goals to the Executive Office. We are responsible for having clarity about why the Association exists and what the future of the profession is. Last year we conducted listening sessions, formalized an IR Future committee, and worked on our Ends Policy which enumerates the Association’s goals.

This year, we will continue in this vein, including a review of the AIR Code of Ethics, particularly in light of analytics; a continued review of our Ends Policy; and an examination of our Board structure. All of this is done with a focus on the long-term health of the profession and the Association.

On a final note, I saw a fair number of Forum attendees talking about ethics and our continued work when scanning the #AIRForum2018 Twitter feed. If you weren’t part of those conversations, you can still find them on Twitter by searching for that hashtag.

On the final day of the Forum, I saw a challenge to keep promoting our good work and to keep the conversations about our work going on Twitter. Please join the conversation and tag @AIR4Data or use the #IRWaterCooler hashtag. MORE
 
IR IN THE KNOW
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Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the US
The Pell Institute and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy at the University of Pennsylvania have published a report accompanied by the Equity Indicators Website, with data on equality and opportunity in higher education. MORE
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
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Keeping the AIR Community Informed
A new higher education compliance study seeks to assess how institutions without a comprehensive compliance plan handle and manage federal compliance…MORE
 
AO AND IR EVENTS
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Announcements for AO and IR community conferences, meetings, institutes, and symposiums. See the LISTINGS.
ASK eAIR
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Reporting Cross-sector/Interagency Data
Jason
Dear Jason: Most states have built or are working on some type of statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS). In your experience in Iowa, what are some of the benefits and challenges in reporting on cross-sector/interagency data?

The ability to use cross-sector data to follow large numbers of students throughout their educational path and beyond can be extremely powerful. For example, in Iowa we have used our SLDS system to, for the first time, understand how many Iowa high school graduates go to college, how many struggle with remedial courses and retention in college, and how many eventually earn certificates and degrees. We have explored factors that predict future success in college and conducted research on how well the state of Iowa prepares high school students for college level math. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Jason Pontius, Associate Chief Academic Officer, Iowa Board of Regents.
SPECIAL FEATURE
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2018 Forum Photo Gallery
The 2018 Forum in Orlando was the gathering place for more than 2,000 colleagues and friends from a wide range of higher education fields. To see some of the best moments from the conference, visit the Forum Photo Gallery.

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Learn, Connect, Share AIR Forum ad

2018 Enterprise IT Summit Webinar

Charles F Elton Best Paper Award

SPECIAL FEATURE
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Data Bite
In this month’s Data Bite, we explore the clients of the IR Office. We categorized the number of clients served by the IR Office and found that 17% of IR Offices serve a limited number of institutional offices/units (fewer than 15) while 20% served a broad range of institutional offices/units (23 or more). Among those IR Offices with a limited number of clients, are there similarities? The answer is yes... and no. MORE

Units Served by IR Offices with limited Number of Clients
SPECIAL FEATURE
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AIR AO Travel Grant Recipients: Advice and Key Take-aways


The AIR Affiliated Organization (AO) Travel Grant, now in its fourth year, was created to partner with AOs and serve the skill development needs of institutional researchers who might otherwise be unable to attend the Forum. Qualifying AOs receive matching funds from AIR on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to $1,000. eAIR spoke with these 2018 recipients and Forum presenters about their experience with the travel grant and their time at the Forum. MORE
 
VISUAL DISPLAY OF DATA
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UTSA First Generation ‘Birds of a Feather’ Dashboard
By Mahmoud Abunawas, Institutional Research Analyst, Brian Cordeau, Director of Reporting, University of Texas at San Antonio

The University of Texas at San Antonio has about 11,000 first-generation students. This visualization was created for UTSA’s First-Generation Festival, which celebrated our first-generation students and raised awareness about their student experiences. More than two dozen UTSA offices set up informational tables during the festival to promote their services and programs. At the festival, the Office of Institutional Research provided a statistical snapshot of first-generation students to faculty, staff, and students. MORE

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TECH TIPS
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Pivot Tables, VLOOKUP, and Absolute/Relative Formula References
By Joe Duggan, Institutional Researcher: Decision Support Specialist, Edmonds Community College

Tableau Logo I’m sure we’ve all been faced with the need to create a quick analysis/fishing expedition of some sort, and the first temptation is to go to Excel and create a Pivot Table, at which point we can hit some …frustrations.

This next example is fairly straightforward in nature, but hopefully shows that it is possible to squeeze a lot of information into a Pivot Table set up without taking up inordinate amounts of space and time. MORE
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
 
CHANGING SCENE
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Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
 
THANK YOU
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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
 
JOBS
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There are more than 120 listed on AIR's Job Board.
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