AIR LEADs: Leadership with Evidence, Analytics, and Data


This course prepares higher education data professionals to make the jump to serve as leaders within their institutions, the profession, and beyond.


Our field and our institutions require leaders who understand, embrace, and contribute to data-informed decision-making with urgency, care, and evidence. Developing as leaders and growing beyond management roles requires time and dedication to cultivate skills, knowledge, and mindsets.

In this course, we explore how higher education data professionals—including those from institutional research (IR), institutional effectiveness (IE), and assessment—can prepare to make the jump to serve as leaders within their institutions, the profession, and beyond. 

This type of leadership development requires dedication and time to learn new things and to unlearn what we think we already know. This course incorporates both virtual and face-to-face opportunities to provide that time and space for participants with the guidance of experienced facilitator-mentors. 

Is this course a good fit for you? Find out here.

"[AIR LEADs] fills a big gap. It fills a big need." —AIR Member, Assessment Professional

Course Topics

This course is designed to prepare IR, IE, and assessment professionals for leadership today and into the future. The content spans a variety of topics that coalesce to prepare an individual for taking on leadership roles beyond their current purviews:

  • Political savviness, including attentiveness to nuance, navigation of difficult conversations, working effectively with difficult people and in difficult situations, inspiring others, and developing strategy
  • Effective communication and collaboration, including conveying information, active and engaged listening, navigation of complex and uncomfortable conversations, and traversing difference
  • Intentionality, including the complex interactions of ethics, equity, empathy, collaboration, building alliances, taking risks, and decision making
  • Vision and strategy, including the creation of bridges between understanding the past and looking forward, deployment of resources, clarity in the process of budget and finance-related matters, and pursuit of a future that is proactively shaped rather than a world in which we simply react
  • Advocacy, including support and expansion of data democratization and data literacy across the institution, highlighting the contributions and value of the data function while contributing to decision making, and mitigating the quest for perfect versus the need for good or “good enough”
  • Care of oneself, including self-reflection, mindfulness, and crafting a plan for what your path forward with leadership might look like 

Course Experience



1.5-Hour Virtual Meeting and Self-Directed Activities

Prior to the in-person seminar, participants will attend a virtual gathering to learn what to expect during the seminar, familiarize themselves with the learning portal, meet the cohort members and facilitators, and engage in a kick-off topic on- and offline. Participants will engage in a variety of activities as they anticipate the seminar, including readings, online videos, and a self-assessment. 



1.5-Day In-Person Gathering

At this 1.5-day in-person seminar, participants will explore leadership concepts and expand their knowledge, skills, perspectives, and mindsets through a variety of conversations and interactive exercises. Day one will include a reception at the host hotel and an opportunity to attend dinner groups. 



Monthly 1.5-Hour Virtual Meetings

Following the seminar, participants will engage in monthly virtual meetings for five months to ensure that learning is made relevant to everyday experiences. These gatherings will explore a variety of topics, with content input from participants, including opportunities to discuss how they have been able to test and apply the ideas of the course to the real situations they encounter in their work. 


Course Value

Participants in this course will:

  • Be poised to think differently about their roles, career trajectories, and contributions to their institutions
  • Be well-suited to assist in leadership of their institutions as higher education continues to adapt and mature with approaches to data
  • Be encouraged to form professional relationships with one another to build trusted networks for future conversations and opportunities
  • Receive certificates of completion, formal letters of acknowledgement to their institution leaders, and public recognition by AIR

2022 Schedule 

August 3

Virtual course kickoff.

August 11–12

1.5 day in-person gathering.

Monthly Virtual Meetings

1.5-hours each for 5 consecutive months; 3:00–4:30 p.m. ET. 

  • September 13, 2022
  • October 11, 2022 
  • November 15, 2022 
  • December 13, 2022 
  • January 10, 2023 

2022 Instructors

Jeremy Goodman
Vice President for Administrative Services & Innovation
Olin College 

Michele J. Hansen
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Institutional Research & Decision Support

Bethany L. Miller
Director of Institutional Research & Assessment
Macalester College

Jason F. Simon
Associate Vice President, Data, Analytics, & Institutional Research
University of North Texas 

2023 Schedule

Plans are underway to offer AIR LEADs in 2023. Details will be provided here as soon as the course dates are confirmed. You are also welcome to email for more information. 



Please email with any outstanding questions you may have.