This course prepares higher education data professionals to make the jump to serve as leaders within their institutions, the profession, and beyond.
Registration is closed for the 2023 cohort. Please check back for details on the 2024 course.
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 knowledge, skills, mindsets, and habits.
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.
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
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.
2-Day In-Person Gathering
At this 2-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.
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
Virtual course kickoff; 3:00–4:30 p.m. ET.
2-day in-person gathering; 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET. All events will take place at The Darcy hotel in Washington, D.C.
Monthly Virtual Meetings
1.5-hours each for 5 consecutive months; 3:00–4:30 p.m. ET.
- September 12, 2023
- October 10, 2023
- November 14, 2023
- December 12, 2023
- January 9, 2024
Head of Campus Operations
Associate Vice President, Institutional Research & Planning
The Ohio State University
Director of Institutional Research & Assessment
Associate Vice President, Data, Analytics, & Institutional Research
University of North Texas
At the time of registration, participants are invited to briefly describe their interest in the course and provide the names of supervisors who are supporting them with the time and resources necessary to complete the course successfully. Supervisors' contact information is also gathered in order to notify them of their colleagues' successful completion of the course.
Keep in mind that space is limited, and seating is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
|AIR Member||AIR Nonmember|
|Early (through June 30)||$750||$865|
|Regular (after June 30)||$920||$1,035|
AIR LEADs FAQs
Q: Is this course a good fit for me? How much IR/IE/assessment experience is necessary?
A: The course is open to people with different levels of experience in a variety of roles. However, it is designed for professionals who are ready to step into leadership positions—senior-level roles within the data function or other equivalent or higher-level positions outside of IR/IE/assessment.
Q: Is this course a good fit for professionals new to the field?
A: Yes. People who are new to IR/IE/assessment, are in leadership roles, and have work experience within or beyond higher education will likely find the course beneficial. Examples might include a new director who has transitioned from a different unit, or an assistant vice president whose new portfolio of work includes data function responsibilities. Individuals in entry-level IR/IE/assessment roles may not find the course relevant for their current positions.
Q: Is this course a good fit for professionals in leadership roles?
A: Yes. Individuals who are new—or relatively new—to leadership roles will find the course beneficial, especially if self-reflection has led them to identify areas in which they need to fill leadership knowledge gaps.
Q: Is participation in all components of the course required?
A: Yes. The course is a comprehensive cohort-based experience and participation in all components is required. We understand that conflicts arise but ask that participants plan to attend the pre-seminar virtual meeting, the entire seminar in full, and the five post-seminar virtual meetings. Participants will receive certificates of completion.
Q: Do participants have the option to engage in the seminar virtually?
A: No. The seminar is in-person only.
Q: What is the course’s time commitment?
A: See course experience. Registrants are expected to attend all course phases.
Q: Is this a management course?
A: No. This course focuses on leadership as clearly differentiated from management with recognition that there can be overlap in requisite knowledge, skills, and mindsets.
Q: Does the course include data skills training?
A: No. If you are seeking training on specific data skills, we invite you to explore AIR’s suite of professional development offerings, including courses, workshops, webinars, tutorials, IPEDS training, and the AIR Forum.
Q: Does course registration include lodging and/or travel cost?
A: No. Visit host hotel and event site for more information and online room reservations.
Q: Will AIR contact my supervisor?
A: Institution leaders, including supervisors, will be notified of participants’ successful completion of the course in recognition of their accomplishments.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any outstanding questions you may have.
“AIR LEADs brings together the person and the professional to contribute to a balanced individual that takes care of self, their team, and the others around them with both traditional intelligence and emotional intelligence, that I feel is missing in so many leadership trainings.” —AIR Member, Data Professional