A Holistic Approach to Institutional Research


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Do you know Barbara?

Join Barbara, a Director of Institutional Research, as she onboards Mark, her new employee. This six-week online course follows Barbara and Mark as they consider what it means to be an institutional researcher in the current higher education landscape. The 40-person cohort receives mentor support and engages in activities to encourage conversation among participants about the topics Barbara and Mark explore.

  • What is a holistic approach to IR? In Week 1, Barbara provides an overview of the course.

  • What does it mean to be an IR professional? In Week 2, Barbara shares her perspective and encourages Mark to develop his own understanding of the field and his role as an IR professional.

  • What is decision support? In Week 3, Mark learns about the art of transforming data into actionable information that’s placed in appropriate contexts for relevant audiences.

  • How are data managed and governed? In Week 4, Barbara and Mark discuss data as institutional assets and examine the concepts of data quality, security, privacy, and access.

  • What is the research in institutional research? In Week 5, Mark learns about the nuances of research and problem solving, and bolsters his understanding of the common lines of inquiry pursued in IR.

  • How does IR contribute to data-informed decision cultures? In Week 6, Barbara and Mark explore the interaction between data literacy and data capacity at the institutional level.

Why should I attend the face-to-face seminar?

This interactive, mentor-led experience provides deeper exploration of course topics, dynamic examination of the challenges faced by individual course participants, and establishment of networks that enhance personal and professional development.

When and where can I attend?


This six-week mentor-supported online course includes a series of papers, videos, and exercises on course topics.


$500 (2017-2018 AIR Members)
$675 (Non-members)

Current Session

Fall 2017
September 18 - October 29

Future ONline Sessio​ns

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This six-week mentor-supported online course is followed by a two-day face-to-face seminar.


$800 (2017-2018 AIR Members)
$975 (Non-members)

Current Session

Fall 2017
Sept. 18 - Oct. 29 (online portion)
Nov. 6 - Nov. 7 (face-to-face seminar in Phoenix)

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Future Hybrid Sessions

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"This course is truly designed to be more integrative in terms of its learning style and approach than any kind of previous professional development for institutional researchers. It represents the fact that the roles of an institutional researcher change over time. We cannot just learn about turning data into information and creating good reports without considering data quality, data management, and other elements and aspects of our jobs."

 --Mary Ann Coughlin,
Member of the course development team 



Contact air@airweb.org with questions. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​