It Started With a Conversation

Statement-Screenshot2.pngThe Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research provides a new vision of IR with a student success focus. It highlights the need for IR to serve a broader range of decision makers, expand the IR function outside of the traditional IR Office, and establish chief-level leadership for an institution’s data strategy and resources. The statement concludes with a call to action that challenges the reader to use the ideas set forth to engage in conversation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including producers and consumers of IR.

At the 2016 Forum in New Orleans, AIR hosted an Impact Session to further the conversation encouraged by the aspirational statement. The event showcased four institutions that have accepted the challenge to implement the statement components. Jeremy Goodman of Olin College of Engineering, Michele Hansen of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Kristina Powers of Bridgepoint Education, and Tim Stanley of Utah Valley University shared examples of how these ideas are shaping IR and data at their colleges and universities. They brought the statement to life for the Forum audience by providing their unique perspectives on this work and describing relevant challenges and opportunities.

The discussion about institutions’ use of the aspirational statement and why these ideas matter was followed by a conversation with a second group of thought leaders who illuminated the spirit of the statement within the context of national conversations that further the field of IR and data. Sandi Bramblett of Georgia Institute of Technology; Patrick Perry of California State University, Chancellor’s Office; and Patrick Rossol-Allison of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation highlighted how IR is part of the solution to the challenges everyone is facing. They addressed issues of capacity, identified opportunities for how this new vision of IR can be embraced, and illuminated the overarching goal of a student-focused paradigm for IR.

The Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research challenges IR professionals to initiate discussion about how institutions can place data at the center of all discussions. There is no end to this work; the dialog will continue to evolve as it informs action. AIR looks forward to launching a new pilot group for the aspirational statement this year, and will issue an announcement about the application process in late summer 2016.

You are invited to watch the Forum Impact Session, It Started with a Conversation: A Practical Guide to the Statement of Aspirational Practice for IR, which is available at no cost. Please join us in this work by sharing how these ideas and related work are furthering the role of IR at your institution in the comments below or by contacting AIR at






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