AIR Forum Virtual

Impact Sessions

The 2021 AIR Forum Virtual will feature four 60-minute live streamed impact sessions focused on a wide range of emerging and important topics and issues with impact for higher education professionals at all levels. Impact sessions take place Wednesday and Thursday and include a moderated live Q&A.

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

12:00–1:00 p.m. ET

Institutional Transformation and the Role of Strategic Data

Matthew Crellin, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Archie Cubarrubia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success strategy works to support institutional transformation that creates a student experience that results in dramatic and equitable increases in outcomes and educational value. Members from the Postsecondary Success team at the foundation will co-present their insights and approaches to institutional transformation – and share how institutions transform by integrating evidence-based practices that create inclusive and coherent learning environments while impacting the structure, culture, and business model of the institution toward student success. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

12:00–1:00 p.m. ET

Integrating Big Data, Thick Data, and Subject Expertise into IR

Victor Borden, Indiana University Bloomington, Phoebe Wakhungu, Indiana University, Bloomington, Seonmi Jin, Indiana University Bloomington

Big data, thick data, and predictive analytics have transformed the work of institutional researchers, changing the skill sets needed by practitioners and the collaborations required to assemble and analyze data. This impact session describes a triangulation approach, the Insight Engine. It combines the use of big data and predictive analytics with ethnographic research, or thick data, as well as a third component: the expertise of scholars and practitioners who attempt to understand the causal mechanisms (theory) behind phenomena through empirical research and practical experience. The model, established to support a statewide project for improving college and career readiness and college success, provides a useful general model for IR practice. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

12:00–1:00 p.m. ET

Join the Equity Walk: How IR Can Advance DEI

Bethany Miller, Macalester College, Jacqui Broughton, Michigan State University, Kristin McKiney, Lawrence University, Chris Hubbard Jackson, St. Charles Community College

Higher education hasn’t been shielded from the social unrest in the United States, and as such, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become priorities for many institutions. Many institutions look to their data for where changes can be made, and institutional research (IR) is often included. This impact session will provide an understanding of IR’s role in advancing DEI efforts with an emphasis on equity, by hearing from four IR professionals who have worked on advancing equity initiatives on their campuses from beginning to more advanced efforts. This session will focus on providing tools and resources for attendees to utilize while considering ways to use data as a tool to advance equity, as well as strategies for identifying and addressing challenges related to being engaged in equity work. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

12:00–1:00 p.m. ET

Citizen Data Scientists: Opportunities and Challenges for IR

Aurora Mendelsohn, University of Toronto, Anthony Gray, University of Toronto 

Institutional research offices continue to grow in importance and influence, as interest in institutional data and analytics expands across the sector. Much of this interest comes from individuals without specifically quantitative backgrounds in statistical or data science—administrators, communications and advancement professionals, managers, and others. Thanks to the availability of various analytical tools, more people than ever before are working with data, creating visualizations, and drawing "data-informed" conclusions. These are the emerging citizen data scientists. In this impact session, we discuss the evolution of modern institutional research and the advent of citizen data scientists. What challenges and opportunities does this evolution present? We will suggest how IR professionals might support citizen data scientists in the service of better decision-making.