Are data and reporting burdens a product of the prevailing structure of institutional research? Can a new model for IR address the real-world management needs of modern postsecondary education?
These questions are addressed in a newly released Change magazine article produced by AIR entitled A New Vision for Institutional Research. The concepts presented in this piece are not a prediction of some distant future, but rather, a reflection of the current environment in higher education.
The dominant model of IR is based on a service relationship with a small set of consumers and decision makers, and is largely organized around mandatory external reporting requirements. This article advocates a move away from traditional structures to new models that recognize students, faculty, and staff as key decision makers in order to better serve institutions in achieving their missions, goals, and purposes. Expansion of IR capacity can be achieved when IR serves in a coaching role, thereby expanding the cadre of data users and producers across the institution, resulting in a holistic IR function.