Call for Proposals


2020 AIR Forum Call for Proposals:
September 18 – October 16, 2019 

Thank you for your interest in submitting a presentation proposal for the 2020 AIR Forum. Proposals will be accepted for speaker sessions, panels, discussion groups, posters, and pre-/post-conference sessions to be presented throughout the Forum, May 25-29. Please see the resources to the right for information about the proposal process, attendee demographics, the ratings rubric, review process, and more.

Begin Submission

After clicking “Begin Submission,” you will first need to create a NEW account. (Not associated with previous accounts or your AIR account).

Forum Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Session Topics

  • Assessment & Evaluation
    This topic area features initiatives, research, and methods at program and institutional levels that are externally or internally driven for planning, accreditation, or other in pursuit of improved and equitable student and institutional success.
  • Data & Technology
    This topic area features the technical and ethical aspects of provision and manipulation of data as well as the application of appropriate analytic tools for decision support, including collection and structuring, methods, predictive models, and machine learning. 
  • Decision Support

    This topic area features the recognition of stakeholders with: 

    • Attention to equity, 
    • Identification of their information, data, and analysis needs, and 
    • Determination of effective and ethical approaches to meeting those needs in support of student and institutional success; including interpretation, contextualization, reporting, and communication. 
  • Educating Stakeholders
    This topic area features efforts to coach and collaborate with stakeholders on the ethical/contextual production and use of data for decision making. Also included are approaches to research and scholarship that both inform and advance the work of professionals in the field.
  • Leadership
    This topic area features visioning, strategy, governance, and management at the organizational, unit, or program levels. As well as career planning and development. 
  • Policy
    This topic area features the development, evolution, implementation, and impact of policy at institutional, system, federal, state, or local levels.

Concurrent Session Formats

  • Speaker Sessions

    45-minute session with one to three presenters.

    Speaker Sessions present research, share applications, practices, or topics of interest related to the effective use of data, analytics, information, and evidence for decision making that benefit students and institutions. 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, Screen, and VGA/HDMI projection cable. Internet access, beyond conference Wi-Fi is not provided, and presenters must bring a laptop. 

  • Panel Sessions
    60-minute session with three to five presenters. 
    Panel Sessions include multiple perspectives about an application, practice, or topic of interest related to the effective use of data in higher education. 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, finance), 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 standard audio/visual including: Materials Table, Podium, Panelist Table, Table Microphones, Projector, Screen, and VGA/HDMI projection cable. Internet access, beyond conference Wi-Fi, is not provided, and presenters must bring a laptop.
  • Discussion Groups
    45-minute session with one or two leaders. 
    Discussion Groups are highly interactive group discussions that focus on research, applications, practice, or topics of interest related to the effective use of data in higher education. The discussion leader (presenter) briefly presents opening remarks to define the topic and set the context. Three to five questions submitted with the session proposal provide the structure for the discussion that follows. The discussion leader's role also includes encouraging participants to share their perspectives and provision of a summary and closure to the discussion. 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 Sessions
    Visual display, with one 60-minute Q&A session, one to three presenters. 
    Poster Presentations visually communicate the purpose, research approach, data sources, and outcomes of a scholarly or applied research project/study. Posters are displayed in the Exhibit Hall with presenters available for a 60-minute question and answer period. Each poster is 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. 
  • Micro Sessions
    7-minute session, within a 45-minute block of sessions, with one presenter.  

    These highly engaging 7-minute sessions take place in our new expo theaters located in the Exhibit Hall (AV provided). Micro sessions are designed for one or two presenters, and each presentation should consist of a maximum of five slides. A staff moderator will monitor time to keep sessions on track. Micro sessions are designed to present software tips and solutions, succinct summaries of ideas or research projects, or share information central to a niche audience. Micro sessions are also a great way for new speakers to gain experience with conference speaking. Room Set-up and Technology: Micro Sessions will be set-up in expo theaters, located in the exhibit hall, with theater style seating for 40 with standard audio/visual including: Laptop, Materials Table, Podium, Microphone, Projector, Screen, and VGA/HDMI projection cable. Internet access, beyond conference Wi-Fi is not provided, and presenters must bring a laptop. 

Pre-/Post-Conference Sessions

To meet the needs of different audiences, some pre-/post-conference sessions will be tool-based, and others will be primarily value-based or theory-based. Also, in order to provide a wide array of content and training, AIR has specific interest in exploration of the topics outlined below.

Pre-/Post-Conference Session Topics

  • Leadership and Management
    The organization of data functions vary across institutions, and key leadership and management principles set the foundation for successful enterprises. This topic addresses the knowledge, skills, resources, and training needed to effectively manage an office, unit, or project to ensure it meets institutional needs (e.g., hiring and supervising staff, mentoring/training, resource management, budgeting, space allocation). 
  • Institutional Effectiveness
    A student-focused paradigm requires the integration of institutional effectiveness and operations. This topic explores the roles of IR, IE, and Assessment in leading institutional data strategies and strategic planning to improve student success.
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
    Commitment to student success requires attention to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of the institutional enterprise, including the data function. This topic considers the roles of IR, IE, and Assessment in efforts to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are prioritized in data-informed decision cultures.
  • Data Models
    Robust data functions that support data-informed decision cultures are more than the sums of their parts. This topic explores the essential considerations, leadership requirements, design challenges, and structures necessary for the creation of data models that facilitate achievement of the institution’s mission and goals. 
  • Use of Data
    We know the use of data is essential in pursuit of improved student success. Yet each institution varies in its needs and levels of sophistication. This topic considers the “how” of data use (e.g., advanced analytics, software, governance), the why of data use (e.g., goals, ethics), and the theoretical (e.g., is IR/IE/Assessment the same as or different from data science?) with attention to institutional and student contexts. 
  • Effective Communication of Data
    A data-informed decision culture relies on compelling presentations of data that engage and inform stakeholders. This topic explores theoretical and ethical considerations and best practices, including the creation of visualizations, report writing, and the varied approaches needed to reach different audiences. 
  • Data Literacy
    Cultivation of a data-informed decision culture requires strategies to increase data literacy, capacity, and use among stakeholders. This topic focuses on ways to build data literacy across the institution and expand decision support capacity.

Important Dates

SEPT 18,
Call for proposals open
OCT 16,
Proposal submission deadline 
Proposal reviews
Final decision notifications sent
MAR 20,

Presenter registration deadline to be included in session listing

Scholarly paper upload deadline to be included in session listing
MAY 25-29,
AIR Forum 

Call for Proposals FAQ

  • Q: Who can submit a proposal?

    A: 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 Friday, March 20, 2020 to appear in the session listing. 

    Note: Pre-/post-conference workshop presenters do not need to register for the Forum. 

  • Q: Who attends the AIR Forum?
    A: 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.
  • Q: How do I submit a proposal?
    A: To submit a proposal, first carefully review the instructions [pdf] and then proceed to the online submission system.
Visit the FAQ page for more answers to your Forum related questions. 

eAIR asked Iryna Johnson, Associate Director for Analytics at Auburn University and Forum presenter since 2005: How would you encourage higher education professionals to submit a proposal for possible presentation at the Forum, and why? Read the full article for Iryna's answer and proposal tips.


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