Call for Proposals


Call for Proposals is Closed for the 2019 AIR Forum

Thank you to those who submitted a proposal for the 2019 AIR Forum. Proposal status notifications were sent to presenters on January 10, 2019. If you did not receive a notification, please contact

About the Review Process

More than 300 AIR members volunteer to evaluate session proposals using a standard rubric. Each proposal receives a minimum of five reviews to achieve a draw and quality score. Proposals are accepted based upon these scores, space availability and the overall mix of the content for the conference program.

Important Dates

September 12, 2018

  • Call for Proposals Opens

October 17, 2018

  • Proposal Submission Deadline

October 2018 – January 2019

  • Proposal Reviews and Acceptance Decisions

January 2019

  • Final Proposal Status Notifications Sent

March 22, 2019

  • Scholarly Paper Upload Deadline for Icon in the Program Book
  • Presenter Registration Deadline to be Listed in the Program Book

May 28 - 31, 2019

  • AIR Forum

Forum Topic Areas

  • Identify Information Needs

    This topic area includes the process of identifying stakeholders and their decision support needs. Proposals in this topic area may include:

    • reviews or results of research and policy relevant to higher education decision support (e.g. federal higher education data policy, state higher education policy and administration, large-scale studies of higher education topics);
    • working with stakeholders in the decision support process;
    • consideration of large datasets or surveys at the institutional, system, or organizational level.
  • Collect, Analyze, Interpret, and Report Data and Information

    This topic area includes the technical functions of institutional research in providing data, information, and analysis for decision support.

    Proposals in this topic area may include:

    • data collection tools and methods;
    • data analysis tools and methods;
    • techniques to create more efficiencies in mandatory and other regular reporting processes;
    • dashboard and visualization tools and technologies to provide accessible data and information directly to consumers;
    • development of information to support stakeholders in understanding and making decisions.


  • Plan and Evaluate

    This topic area includes operational, budgetary, and strategic planning and evaluation functions, such as those associated with assessment, both formative and summative, and formal accreditation requirements.

    Proposals in this topic area may include:

    • processes and results of planning efforts to improve institutional, system, or organizational operations (e.g. faculty workload studies, HR studies, space planning);
    • processes and results of collaborative budgetary planning efforts;
    • effective practices related to IR’s role in organizational strategic planning;
    • processes and results of assessment and accountability efforts;
    • effective practices in regional, national, and specialized accreditation.


  • Serve as Stewards of Data and Information

    This topic area includes IR’s role in ensuring an organization-wide data strategy as well as efforts related to data governance.

    Proposals in this topic area may include:

    • effective practices in data governance;
    • effective practices in development and use of data warehouses;
    • processes in developing and coordinating organization-wide data strategy;
    • effective practices related to data privacy, security, compliance, and ethics considerations;
    • effective practices in data quality assurance;
    • processes related to accessibility of data and information to appropriate users.


  • Educate Information Producers, Users, and Consumers

    This topic area includes efforts to train, coach, and educate constituents related to the use of data, analysis, and information to inform decision making. It also includes scholarly work to inform and improve the work of IR, IE, and assessment.

    Proposals in this topic area may include:

    • effective practices in training and coaching related to data and information use;
    • effective practices in training and coaching related to data collection and analysis;
    • processes to connect internal and external producers and users of data;
    • results of scholarly research in IR, IE, planning, and assessment


  • Operations and Leadership

    This topic area includes the organization and management of IR offices and functions. It also includes intentional development of professional staff and leadership development of IR, IE, and assessment professionals.

    Proposals in this topic may include:

    • effective practices in organization of the IR function inside the office (e.g. tracking requests, organizing and providing access to results of institutional research)
    • effective practices in project management, particularly when balancing IR, IE, planning, and assessment work
    • processes to review and select technologies to conduct the work of IR, IE, planning, and assessment professional development of IR, IE and assessment staff
    • leadership development and succession planning of an IR office


Forum Session Formats

  • Speaker Sessions

    45-minute session with one to three presenters.

    Speaker Sessions share innovative applications, research practices, and professional work products in IR, assessment, planning, or other data-centered functions. Room Set-up and Technology: Speaker Sessions will be set up in theater style seating with standard audio/visual including: Materials Table, Podium, Microphone, Projector, and Screen. Internet access is not guaranteed and presenters must bring a laptop.

    This is the most competitive format. Approximately 150 of the anticipated 400 proposals for this format will be accepted.

  • Panel Sessions

    60-minute session with three to five presenters.

    Panel Sessions include multiple perspectives about an IR application, practice, or topic of interest. Panels are composed of three to five presenters with one member serving as a moderator. Panelists should represent different functions within a college (e.g., IR, IT, Dean), or presenters from different organizations and always have identifiable, unique points of view about the topic. Room Set-up and Technology: Panel Session will be set up in theater style seating with basic audio/visual including: Materials Table, Podium, Panelist Table, 2 Microphones, Projector, and Screen. Internet access is not guaranteed and presenters must bring a laptop.

  • Discussion Group Sessions

    45-minute session with one or two leaders.

    Discussion Group Sessions are highly interactive group discussions that focus on a current topic or issue in the field. The session leader (presenter) briefly presents opening remarks to define the session and set the context. Three to five questions submitted with the session proposal provide the structure for the discussion that follows. The session leader also encourages participants to share their perspectives and provides a summary and closure to the discussion. Discussions may be led by an individual or two co-leaders. Room Set-up and Technology: Discussion Groups will be scheduled in a room set up with semi-circle chairs with a presenter table at the front. A flip chart and markers are available upon request. No A/V, laptop, projector, or internet access is provided or available.

  • Poster Presentation Sessions

    Visual display, with one 45-minute Q&A session, one to three presenters.

    Poster Presentation Sessions visually communicate the purpose, research approach, data sources, and outcomes of a scholarly or applied research project study. Poster Presentation Sessions are displayed on shared free-standing board space (two per board) with each poster allotted an area approximately 4’ x 4’ (half of a 4’ x 8’ board). The poster display boards and push pins are provided by AIR. Posters will be scheduled at a pre-assigned board in or near the Exhibit Hall. Audio/visual support, Internet access, and a materials table is not provided or available.

Call for Proposals FAQ

  • Who Can Submit a Proposal?

    All professionals in IR, effectiveness, assessment, planning, and related postsecondary education fields may submit proposals. You do not have to be a current AIR member to submit a proposal. However, all Forum presenters must register for the Forum to attend.

    A lead presenter submits the proposal and lists co-presenters and their contact information. All co-presenters must be registered by March 22, 2019 to appear in the program book.

  • Who Attends the AIR Forum?

    Over 2,000 professionals in institutional research, effectiveness, assessment, planning, and related fields attend. Each year, about 1/3 of Forum attendees are attending for the first time. (Click here to see a sample breakdown of attendees by field, office size, and sector).

  • How do I submit a proposal?

    To submit a proposal, first carefully review the instructions [pdf] and then proceed to the online submission system by clicking the 'Begin Submission' button above.

  • How to a submit a Pre-/post-Conference Education (formerly Pre-conference Workshop) proposal?

    A: To submit a Pre-/post-Conference Education (formerly Pre-conference Workshop) proposal please visit the Pre/Post-conference Education page.

  • What are the presenter qualifications, including program book listings?

    To present at the Forum and be listed in the program book, presenters must register for and attend the AIR Forum in Denver. Unfortunately, authors and/or contributors cannot be listed as presenters unless they are attending and presenting at the Forum. At this time, there are no provisions for presenting remotely.

  • What is a Scholarly Paper?

    Any session can be designated as a scholarly paper session. To be designated as such in the Forum program book and online listing, a scholarly paper of academic nature must be uploaded via the presenter portal by March 22, 2019.

    High quality draft versions are acceptable. However, outlines, PowerPoint presentations, or speaking notes are not. Authors retain all copyright to the paper and are free to submit the final version to an academic or practitioner scholarly journal. Scholarly papers are typically 8-30 pages in length and contain research questions, methodologies, literature reviews, and findings (though variations are acceptable). Only .PDF, .DOC, and .DOCX formats can be uploaded.

    All scholarly papers and authors will be highlighted in a special section of the AIR Forum program book and on the Forum website if uploaded by the deadline. Forum presenters who upload scholarly papers will be prompted to list the names of all authors when the paper is uploaded. Forum attendance is not required for authors to be recognized in Forum materials for the contribution to the field of IR scholarship. All scholarly papers presented at the Forum are eligible for the 2019 Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award.

  • Who reviews submitted proposals?

    More than 350 AIR members read, evaluate, and comment on proposals each year. Each proposal receives a minimum of five reviews. Reviewers are recruited and selected through an annual call for volunteers. Reviewers must have attended a prior Forum and experienced firsthand the quality and range of sessions offered at the Forum. Reviewers use a standard rubric to rate each type of proposal.

  • Are there ever conflicts of interest between reviewers and authors?

    Reviewers are randomly assigned to specific proposals and so there is the potential for a reviewer to be assigned a proposal in which he/she has a vested interest or close connection. Reviewers declare conflicts of interest, when they arise, and are reassigned to other proposals. AIR trusts reviewers to determine what constitutes a conflict of interest that would create an unfair review environment and to recuse themselves from evaluating such proposals.

  • Why are proposals reviewed using a half-blind process?

    This process ensures that reviewers are not revealed to the session proposers. Session authors, however, are revealed to reviewers. The half-blind review process was implemented in 2012 as part of a series of efforts to improve the consistency of quality sessions at the Forum.

    A successful concurrent session requires great content and organization, as well as a presenter who has the background and experience to handle the topic. The half-blind review allows presenters to share their backgrounds, affiliations, and any other evidence of their expertise with reviewers. Often, it is critical to know that a presenter has access to data or technologies. The half-blind review puts all presenters on a level playing field to build the case for their expertise.

    Why does AIR use a full-blind review for publications and a half-blind review for Forum sessions? When reviewing a print manuscript, the full evidence of the author’s mastery of the topic is evident in the document itself. Reviewers have the actual product to review. In Forum session reviews, however, there is only a brief description and “promise” of what will be delivered. The presenter’s capacity to fulfill the promise is legitimately part of the selection process.

  • How are proposals selected for acceptance?

    Proposals are evaluated by AIR members using a rubric that includes ratings from session quality and potential popularity. Proposals are then ranked based on reviewer ratings. Because there are usually more -high-quality proposals than space available, additional screening is required to reduce the number of sessions and balance the overall program in terms of topics and sector representation. It is unfortunate, but space limitations usually mean that some -high-quality sessions are not accepted. Approximately 150 of the anticipated 400 speaker session proposals are accepted. See a sample rubric here.

  • What is the role of the Forum Program Committee?

    This six-member volunteer group reviews the accepted sessions holistically for an appropriate mix of topics across the program and breaks ties between proposal scores as needed. This committee is advisory to the Executive Office on all aspects of assuring that the educational program at the Forum meets the needs of members and maximizes the learning for our attendees.

  • What happens when a session is not accepted?

    Presentations that are not accepted in the first round of reviews may be invited to resubmit in a different format for a second review. Discussion groups and poster presentations are highly-respected, highly-valued educational offerings at the Forum and can be selected for a second-round proposal. (Note: Not all proposals are invited to resubmit in a different format.) Resubmissions must adhere to the guidelines for the format for which they are being resubmitted (i.e. posters must be a visual display of data and do not include AV; discussion groups must have 3-5 questions listed to guide the discussion and do not include AV.)


Send the Forum Team an email at or call us at 850-391-6345.