• Board Corner
  • 09.24.20

Make a Lasting Impact

  • by Heather Kelly, AIR President; Junelyn Peeples, AIR Vice President; Martin Fortner, AIR Immediate Past President

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Three things come to mind immediately when we think of the Association for Institutional Research: abundant options for professional development, an invaluable professional network, and the possibility to serve the larger professional community. One of the many AIR member benefits is the opportunity to nominate and elect AIR’s leadership: the Vice President, Members-At-Large, and Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) members. The call for nominations opened on September 18 and will close on October 16. 

Serving on a board of directors that uses policy governance is both powerful and rewarding. You learn to listen, as well as consider and value different perspectives, which allows the AIR Board to speak collectively—with one voice—and advocate for what is good for AIR members, the professional community, and the Association. To achieve this, AIR Board members are actively engaged and interact with AIR members to gather the “voice of the members.” It is also imperative that diverse perspectives are represented, and this is best achieved through a diverse set of AIR leaders on both the Board of Directors and on the NEC. In recognition of the importance of ensuring a diverse slate of nominees, this year’s NEC drafted a statement of its intentions: 

“To ensure AIR’s leadership reflects the IR profession and the institutions we serve, the NEC strives to present a diverse slate of leadership candidates. To do so, we need a diverse slate of nominations.” 

The NEC has also added demographics to its nominee questionnaire and modified some questions to better understand candidates’ backgrounds and priorities. And, you can play a critical role in reaching this goal by including individuals from community colleges and under-represented groups among your nominations. 

Junelyn Peeples, AIR Vice President, talks below about the importance of nominations and the need for diverse candidates:

Have you ever thought there are plenty of other people whose voices will  represent the sentiments you have around issues of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion, so you stayed on the sidelines? Last year, I was nominated to be an AIR leader. I initially ignored the emails that prompted me to complete the application form, because I was so busy, just like you are now. However, a board member reached out and noted that I had not completed the application and  asked me to do so. I reflected that  if my colleagues took time out of their busy and hectic schedules to nominate me, I owed it to them to submit my application. After being selected by the Nominations and Elections Committee to be a candidate,  and then getting the phone call that my colleagues elected me as  the next AIR Vice President; I was shocked and humbled to say the least. More  importantly I felt embraced and trusted by a community I highly respect. I felt heard and seen by our community and I realized no one should ever sit on the sidelines because each voice and perspective is not only welcomed but essential.

I encourage you to nominate someone you think will be a good thought partner and who will represent the members of our community. Someone who will advocate not just for our work to help our organizations demonstrate their efficacy, but who will help advance our support access, diversity, equity, and inclusion for all the stakeholders in higher education. Someone who exemplifies forward thinking, who will help cultivate the future of IR, and someone willing to share in the responsibility of building a more equitable world. Maybe, the person you should nominate is you. I was in your shoes with all the competing priorities, but I encourage you to act on this call to serve because your voice matters more than ever and you deserve to be heard.

We ask that you nominate yourself or others who have the potential to make a difference for the future of this premier professional association. The continued success of AIR depends on the lasting impacts you and your colleagues will make!

Don’t delay, make a nomination today!