Call for Proposals
September 12 – October 10, 2023
The 2024 AIR Forum proposal submission deadline has passed. Final proposal status notifications were sent in late January 2024.
Thank you to those who submitted a session proposal for the 2024 AIR Forum. The AIR Forum is the annual conference of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and provides an opportunity for professionals in higher education to learn, connect, and share.
The 2024 AIR Forum will take place May 28–31 (with pre-conference education May 27–28), at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, CO. All sessions will be presented in person at this venue. There will be no hybrid or virtual options. All presenters must register for AIR Forum and plan to attend and present in person in Denver.
Presentation formats include pre- and post-conference sessions, impact sessions, speaker sessions, panels, discussion groups, and posters.
Please see the resources below for information about the proposal process, the review process, and more.
Note: AIR Forum sessions are non-commercial. Sessions should not be used to promote a specific product or service. To share your product or service at the conference, become a sponsor (some levels entitled to sessions and demos). AIR Forum Sponsor Sessions are scheduled separately and should not be submitted through the proposal process. An AIR staff member will contact sponsors to schedule these sessions.
About the Review Process
Proposals are assessed by AIR members using a rubric that evaluates session quality and potential draw (interest or 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.
September 12, 2023
Call for proposals opened
October 10, 2023
Proposal submission deadline is 5pm ET
October 2023 – January 2024
Proposal reviews and session acceptance decisions
Late January 2024
Final proposal status notifications sent
April 12, 2024
Presenter registration deadline
May 13, 2024
Deadline to upload scholarly paper for designation in session listing
May 27–28, 2024
May 28–31, 2024
Topics help organize sessions into common themes and are based on AIR’s research into the duties and functions of IR. Choose the most appropriate session format and topic for your proposal.
Assessment & Evaluation
This topic area features research, projects, tools, and methods at the program and institutional levels that support or advance planning, continuous improvement, accreditation, external compliance, or other purposes in pursuit of improved and equitable student outcomes, student learning, or institutional success.
Technology & Tools
This topic area features the technical and ethical aspects of the collection, storage, protection, and provision of data as well as the application of appropriate analytic tools for decision support. It includes systems, structures, tools, methods, models as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
This topic area features the identification and application of effective, ethical, and equitable approaches and strategies for using data and analysis in support of improved outcomes for students and for institutional success. It includes interpretation, contextualization, reporting, and communication and other approaches necessary to advance data-informed decision-making.
Collaborating with Stakeholders
This topic area features methods, programs, and strategies to coach, educate, and collaborate with stakeholders to increase the effective, ethical, and equitable use data, including data access, data capacity, data literacy, and data governance.
Leadership & Career Development
This topic area features approaches, methods, and strategies to cultivate and advance professional leadership, growth, and career progression. It includes visioning, strategy, planning, staff development, and management at the organizational, unit, or program levels.
Research & Policy
This topic area features the research, policy analysis, and scholarship that inform and advance the knowledge and work of professionals in the field. It includes the development, implementation, and impact of policies and/or research at institutional, system, federal, state, or local levels.
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. Impact Sessions are composed of a maximum of 4 presenters with an additional option for a moderator. Four to six session slots are available for this format. Sessions that are not accepted as impact sessions due to capacity constraints may be accepted as panel or speaker sessions. Presentation slides are expected and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to AIR Forum.
Impact sessions will be 90 minutes and set up in theater seating. The set-up includes standard audio/visual including a podium, microphone(s), projector, screen, and projection cable. Presenters must supply their own laptop for presentations. Internet access, projector adapters for mobile devices and tablets, and/or U.S. voltage adapters are not provided.
Speaker sessions present research, share applications, practices, or topics of interest for higher education professionals. Sessions may be led by one to three presenters. At least 10 minutes should be reserved for Q&A. Presentation slides are expected and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to AIR Forum.
Speaker sessions will be 45 minutes and set up in theater seating. The set-up includes standard audio/visual including a podium, microphone(s), projector, screen, projection cable. Presenters must supply their own laptop for presentations. Internet access, projector adapters for mobile devices and tablets, and/or U.S. voltage adapters are not provided.
Panel Sessions include multiple perspectives about an application, practice, or topic of interest for higher education professionals. 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. Presentation slides are expected and supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to AIR Forum.
Panel sessions will be 60 minutes and set up in theater style seating. The set-up includes basic audio/visual including a podium, panel table, microphone(s), a projector, screen, and one projection cable at the podium. Presenters must supply their own laptop for presentations. Internet access, projector adapters for mobile devices and tablets, and/or U.S. voltage adapters are not provided.
Discussion groups are highly interactive group discussions that focus on research, applications, practice, or topic of interest for higher education professionals. 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 one to three leaders. Supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to AIR Forum.
Discussion groups will be 45 minutes and set up in individual rooms with semi-circle seating. Because discussion groups are intended to be interactive conversations and not presentations, no audio-visual equipment is provided, however, a flip chart and markers are provided.
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 may be led by one to three presenters.
Posters are displayed in the Exhibit Hall with presenters available for a 60-minute question and answer period. Posters should be no larger than 40” x 40”. Each poster is allotted an area approximately 45” x 45” (half of a 4' x 8' free-standing poster board). Posters should be printed on thin/lightweight poster paper or fabric as heavy materials may be difficult to attach to the display board. Presenters are encouraged to include a QR code for attendees to scan for additional insights as well as contact information for any follow-up questions. Supplementary materials/handouts summarizing the presentation should be uploaded to the presenter portal at least two weeks prior to AIR Forum and may include a short (5 minute) recording summarizing the content linked with other resources via the QR code printed on the poster. No audio/visual support, internet access, materials tables, and electrical outlets are provided.
To meet the needs of different audiences, some pre-/post-conference sessions are tool-based, and others are primarily value-based or theory-based. Also, to provide a wide array of content and training, AIR has specific interest in exploration of the topics outlined below.
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.
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.
Diversity, Equity, 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Check out frequently asked questions (FAQ) below. Still need help? Send an email to the AIR Forum team at email@example.com.
Call for Proposals FAQs
Q: How do I submit a proposal?
A: To submit a proposal, first carefully review the instructions and then proceed to the online submission system.
Q: How are proposals selected for acceptance?
A: Proposals are evaluated by AIR members using a rubric that evaluates session quality and potential draw (interest or 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: Who reviews submitted proposals?
A: More than 200 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 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.
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: What type of review process is used for evaluating session proposals?
A: Proposals undergo a half-blind review process, meaning that reviewers are not revealed to the session proposer(s) but session authors are revealed to reviewers.
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 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: What is the role of the AIR Forum Program & Strategy Committee?
A: This volunteer group reviews recommendations 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 do I submit my Affiliated Organization (AO) Best Presentation?
A: AO Best Presentations should not be submitted during the regular call for proposals. These sessions are automatically accepted into the program and have their own submittal process. AO’s will receive a notification at a later date to submit their best presentation for inclusion in the program.
Q: When are proposal submitters notified of the selection outcome?
A: Proposal submitters will be notified of their proposal status (accepted/not accepted) late January 2023.
Q: Do I have to purchase AIR membership to submit a proposal or to present?
A: No. However, all AIR Forum presenters must be registered and attend the AIR Forum to present. AIR membership is not required, but members do receive a significant discount on the registration fee. You may purchase a membership along with AIR Forum registration.
Note: Pre-/post-conference workshop presenters do not need to register for the AIR Forum to present.
Q: What is a scholarly paper?
A: Any session can be designated as a scholarly paper session. To be designated as such in the AIR Forum session listing, a scholarly paper of academic nature must be uploaded via the presenter portal by May 13, 2024. Please note that the criteria to be eligible for the Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award has been revised.
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 session listing and on the AIR Forum website if uploaded by the deadline.
Q: Can I edit my proposal after it has been submitted?
A: Once submitted your proposal is complete, but you can edit your submission up to the cut-off date.
Q: Can some presenters on a session present virtually?
A. No. There will be no virtual or hybrid options for presenters or presentations in 2024. All session presenters must register for AIR Forum, attend, and present in person, in Denver.
Q: How is the conference location determined?
A: Many factors go into choosing a conference location. AIR Forum locations are booked 4–5 years in advance of the conference due to the size and scope of the event, the space required for our many sessions and activities, and the number of hotel rooms needed for our attendees.
Q: Who attends the AIR Forum?
A: Professionals in institutional research, assessment, planning and related higher education fields attend. Each year, about one-third of attendees are at the conference for the first time. AIR Forum attendees represent all higher education sectors, most U.S. states and territories as well international affiliates.