• Board Corner
  • 07.28.20

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

  • by Heather A. Kelly, AIR President

I cherish the opportunity to meet up with our IR colleagues at the AIR Forum every year. Who would have known at last year’s AIR Forum in Denver that we would not meet again this year in New Orleans? Although the coronavirus pandemic prevented us from gathering in person, the AIR staff adeptly shifted AIR Forum content to a virtual format. I am deeply grateful to the AIR staff for providing an alternative way for the AIR community to connect and learn through the AIR Forum Virtual, the first-ever all-digital conference. I would certainly be remiss if I did not also express gratitude and appreciation to all of the presenters, attendees, and sponsors. The success of the AIR Forum Virtual can be attributed to your involvement and contributions.

"Let’s cherish every moment we have been given. The world is always changing. Nothing stays the same." —Kool & The Gang

Over 640 individuals participated in the AIR Forum Virtual. The opening keynote speaker Rebecca Costa, a global expert on the subject of “fast adaptation,” and the closing keynote speaker, Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, shared insights to adapt and thrive in a changing environment and to continue improving educational opportunities and championing student success. Some of the greatest benefits of the AIR Forum Virtual were having opportunities to share our stories, learn from one another, and support each other in the midst of uncertainty. Another benefit was the ability to watch the sessions on demand. On-demand access ended July 29.

This past year AIR was “Building on a Strong Foundation.” Due to the changing circumstances, a formal annual report for 2019-20 was not produced. Instead, the highlights of the year may be reviewed through a recording, slides, or a script of the Annual Business Meeting which may be found at the 2019-2020 Annual Report website. I encourage you to read the Joint letter from past AIR President, Marty Fortner and AIR Executive Director & CEO, Christine Keller. The Financial report from the audit conducted by Thomas Howell Ferguson PA is also available here. The highlights of the year include the release of the AIR Statement of Ethical Principles, the Data Literacy Institute, and the Joint Statement: Change with Analytics. In addition, AIR made strategic investments such as an expanded technical infrastructure, updated logo and visual brand, and our redesigned website which won the Progress Sitefinity 2020 Associations & Non-profit Website of the Year Award recognizing excellence and innovation. I congratulate Marty, the 2019-20 AIR Board and the AIR staff on a most successful year!

This is a pivotal moment in our history. Higher education is facing disruptive change like it never has before. We need to do our best to get ahead of current challenges as much as possible. Enhancing our knowledge and skills, as well as strengthening and expanding our networks, is instrumental for us to successfully support our institutions through the effective and ethical use of data. The community and resources provided by AIR are more important than ever! I encourage current AIR members to continue your membership and engagement with our association. And I invite those who are not yet members to join us as part of this invaluable community. You can join AIR or renew your AIR membership here.

As we look ahead, the AIR Board will be focused on engaging members in virtual listening sessions, continued improvement and efficiency for Board operations, and exploring how the Board can promote advocacy for and among institutional researchers and higher education professionals. The Board’s work will be responsive and relevant to our members’ needs. The Board looks forward to connecting with all of you via upcoming Coffee Chats!