AIR Forum Virtual

The AIR Forum, the annual conference of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), is the largest global gathering of higher education professionals working in institutional research, assessment, planning, and related postsecondary education fields.

2021 AIR Forum Virtual Call for Proposals 

Update: The 2021 AIR Forum will be presented virtually, May 25–28, and we’ve extended the deadline for proposal submissions to Sunday, December 6, 2020! 

While we will miss seeing you in-person this year, we’ll be delivering the AIR Forum over the same scheduled dates (May 25–28) directly to YOU, from the comfort of your own desk. You can count on the same valuable content you’ve come to expect, and we’re excited about new opportunities for learning, adapting, connecting, and sharing. 

This year has been difficult. Bringing our community together to share ideas and solutions doesn’t have to be. With a full program of keynotes, impact sessions, and engaging presentations by colleagues from around the world, the 2021 AIR Forum Virtual will offer all the features you’ve come to expect from the annual conference including concurrent sessions, networking, a virtual exhibit hall, and a variety of ways to share your story directly to your colleagues in live, recorded, and on-demand formats.

First time presenting virtually? Never fear, we’ve got all the resources and support you need to rock your first virtual session like a pro. 

2021 session formats include impact sessions, speaker sessions, panels, discussion groups, and posters. (Due to the new virtual format, we are no longer accepting pre- or post-conference workshops proposals. A separate call for virtual workshops will be announced at a later date.) 

A variety of topic areas (listed below) provide a framework for organizing educational content. Within any topic area, we encourage submissions that address current challenges and advance equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Proposal Process Updates

When filling out your proposal, be sure to select “I can present this session virtually” in the Digital Presentation Acknowledgement section. Note: Our proposal submission system may contain language that pertains to the live, in-person AIR Forum. Please disregard and prepare solely for the virtual event. 

NEW DEADLINE: Proposal submissions will now be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on December 6, 2020. 

Begin Submission

Important Dates

Oct 26,
2020
Call for proposals opens
Dec 6,
2020
NEW proposal submission deadline 
Dec –
Jan 2021
Proposal reviews and session acceptance decisions
Feb
2021
Final proposal status notifications sent
April 2,
2021
Deadline to upload Scholarly Paper for conference proceedings and session listing

Presenter registration deadline
May 7,
2021
Deadline to upload presentation resources
May 25–28,
2021
AIR Forum Virtual

    AIR Forum Virtual Sessions

    Topics

    • Assessment and 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 and 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. 

    Formats

    • Discussion Groups
      This is a virtual, browser-based experience and sessions will be 20 minutes conducted via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

      Discussion groups are highly interactive group discussions that focus on research, applications, practice, or topic of interest related to the effective use of data in higher education. The discussion leader(s) 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 discussion leader role also includes encouraging participants to share their perspectives and providing a summary and closure to the discussion. Discussions may be led by an individual or two co-leaders. Supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to the conference.  
    • Impact Sessions

      This is a virtual, browser-based experience and sessions will be 60 minutes. Platforms that may be used (at AIR’s discretion) include Zoom, Teams, GoToWebinar, etc. At least 10 minutes should be reserved for Q&A. 

      Impact sessions are broad interest sessions, with multiple presenters/perspectives, focused on emerging and important topics and issues with impact for everyone in higher education fields. These key sessions typically kick-off AIR Forum content and provide a venue for addressing opportunities, challenges, updates, and forward-looking insight into topics of broad interest that require an in-depth presentation. A limited number of session slots are available for this format. 

      Sessions may be lecture or panel with multiple presenters and feature a session moderator. Presentation slides and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to the conference. Additionally, presenters are required to use the AIR Forum PowerPoint template and agree to recording deadlines.

    • Panel Sessions
      This is a virtual, browser-based experience and sessions will be 40 minutes. At least 10 minutes should be reserved for Q&A.  

      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 a maximum of 4 presenters with an additional option for a moderator. Panelists should have identifiable, unique points of view about the topic. Proposals must identify the presentation structure that will be used to present the multi-perspective discussion session.  

      In addition to your session recording, presentation slides and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to the conference. Additionally, presenters should use the AIR Forum PowerPoint template and agree to submit the recording by the specified deadline.  
    • Poster Sessions
      This is a virtual, browser-based experience. Virtual posters should be created using PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Canvas, or any other appropriate design program. The poster should be one page and in English. The file size may not exceed 100 MB, and you must save your file as a PDF. Virtual Posters should be accompanied by a short (5 minute) recording summarizing the content. 

      Posters visually communicate the purpose, research approach, data sources, and outcomes of a scholarly or applied research project study. They efficiently communicate concepts and data to an audience using a combination of visuals and text. 

      Posters must be uploaded to the presenter portal by the specified deadline. Supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to the conference. 
    • Speaker Sessions

      This is a virtual, live or pre-recorded browser-based experience and sessions will be 40 minutes. At least 10 minutes should be reserved for Q&A.  

      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. Sessions may be led by one to three presenters. In addition to your session recording, presentation slides and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to the conference. Additionally, presenters should use the AIR Forum PowerPoint template and agree to submit the recording by the specified deadline.  

    Questions?

    Check out the frequently asked questions below. If you still need assistance, email forum@airweb.org or call us at 850-391-6345. 

     

    Call for Proposals FAQ

    • Q: Are there ever conflicts of interest between reviewers and authors?
      A: 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 personal stake or close connection. Reviewers declare conflicts of interest, when they arise, and are reassigned to other proposals. AIR trusts reviewers to decide what constitutes a conflict of interest that would create an unfair review environment and to recuse themselves from evaluating such proposals. 
    • Q: Can I edit my proposal after it has been submitted?
      A: Once you submit your proposal you will not be able to make any further changes. To ensure accuracy, we strongly suggest that you select "Save As Draft" and review your proposal before submitting.   
    • Q: Can I still submit a pre-/post-conference workshop proposal?
      A: Due to the new virtual format, we are no longer accepting pre- or post-conference workshops proposals. A separate call for virtual workshops will be announced at a later date.
    • Q: How are proposals selected for acceptance?
      A: Proposals are evaluated by volunteer reviewers 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. 
    • Q: I have already submitted a proposal. Do I need to re-submit?
      A: No. If you’ve already submitted a proposal for the in-person 2021 AIR Forum, you do not need to re-submit for AIR Forum Virtual. Whether you indicated your session could be delivered “virtually only” or “virtually or in-person,” we will evaluate your session for virtual delivery. 
    • Q: If my proposal is accepted will it be live or pre-recorded? If my session is pre-recorded is there an expectation that there will be a live zoom Q&A in the last 10 minutes?
      A: Sessions may be presented in a variety of formats, which will be determined after the review process—Live, Simulate-Live (pre-recorded but with a live Q&A chat handled through a chat box and with the option to switch to zoom for the last 10 minutes) or On-demand (no live component for on-demand sessions). For the sake of your proposal, please feel free to build in 10-minutes at the end of the session for Q&A, knowing that your timeline may need to be modified depending on the final presentation format, if your proposal is accepted.
    • Q: What is the role of the AIR Forum Program Committee?
      A: This volunteer member group reviews the accepted sessions holistically for a suitable 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 AIR Forum meets the needs of members and maximizes the learning for our attendees. 
    • Q: When are proposal presenters notified of the selection outcome?
      A: Proposal authors will be notified in January/February of their proposal acceptance status.
    • Q: Who reviews submitted proposals?
      A: AIR volunteer reviewers 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 AIR Forum and experienced firsthand the quality and range of sessions offered at AIR Forum. Reviewers use a standard rubric to rate each type of proposal. Each proposal receives a minimum of five reviews.
    • Q: Why are proposals evaluated through a single-blind review process?
      A: This process ensures that reviewers are not revealed to the session authors. Session authors, however, are revealed to reviewers. The single-blind review process was implemented in 2012 as part of a series of efforts to improve the consistency of quality sessions at AIR 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 single-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 single-blind review puts all presenters on a level playing field to build the case for their expertise.   

      Why does AIR use a double-blind review for publications and a single-blind review for AIR Forum sessions? When reviewing a print manuscript, the full evidence of the author’s proficiency in the topic is evident in the document itself. Reviewers have the actual product to review. In AIR 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. 
    • Q: Why does the proposal system still include language about in-person content delivery?
      A: In order to expedite the transition to virtual, our proposal submission system (and instructions) may contain language that pertains to the live, in-person AIR Forum. Please disregard and prepare solely for the virtual event. When filling out your proposal, be sure to select “I can present this session virtually” in the Digital Presentation Acknowledgement section. 

    #AIRForum Virtual

    What do attendees think about the virtual format? Here are a few tweets from the 2020 AIR Forum Virtual:

    Tweet by @danielleyardy
    Tweet by @laurafingerson
    Tweet by @msappel