AIR Forum Denver, CO May 28-31, 2024

Impact Sessions

Please note: All times are listed in U.S. Mountain Time Zone.

Tuesday Impact Sessions  

1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (included with AIR Forum registration) 

The 2024 AIR Forum officially began on Tuesday, May 28 with a series of curated Impact Sessions focused on a wide range of emerging and important topics and issues with impact for everyone in higher education. These sessions are open to all registered AIR Forum attendees and are included in regular AIR Forum registration. Impact sessions include lectures, panel presentations, and interactive discussions. Impact sessions are 90-minute sessions scheduled in two consecutive time blocks from 1:00–2:30 p.m. and 3:00–4:30 p.m. 


Building More Inclusive Systems for Who Counts

May 28 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 EF

Adam Lalor (Landmark College), Wyntre Stout (University of Pittsburgh), Brent Drake (John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education), Moderator: Mary Ann Coughlin (Springfield College) 

While IR is a mainstay for providing replicable and standardized data about university populations such as faculty, staff, and students, our systems too often limit who can be counted, and in what ways those individuals can be described. Institutional data collection and reporting systems need better ways to identify who comprises our institutional communities, with attention to upholding the autonomy, confidentiality, and privacy of minoritized individuals. This session will feature discussion of ways to build systems for more inclusive representation, as featured in a forthcoming Special Issue of AIR Professional File edited by Elizabeth Jach. 

Faculty Activity and Impact: Attitudes Towards Openness Are Changing IR 

May 28 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 AB

Aurora Mendelsohn (University of Toronto); contributing author: Anthony Gray (University of Toronto)

What issues do IR professionals face as data related to faculty activity and impact are deployed at an institutional level? Examples of these kinds of data include: grant applications; public engagements; impacts on public policy and clinical practice; community engaged research; funding sources. 

Numerous products are currently being marketed to institutions for the collection and display of such data (eg: Elsevier, Digital Science, VIVO). These platforms are powerful tools to promote a university and its researchers but they can also raise concerns about how the data are used. What about privacy? Academic freedom? Advancement? Evaluation? Definitions of impact? This talk will explore kinds of faculty activity and impact data and discuss the challenges and opportunities in this growing area of IR. We will suggest that cultural and professional attitudes towards openness in the context of higher education contain significant implications for our institutions. How should we respond? 

IPEDS Update 2024

May 28 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 CD

Tara Lawley (National Center for Education Statistics)

This session provides a general update on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), annual survey collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education. The following information will be presented: changes to the upcoming 2024-25 through 2026-27 data collections, including changes to Admissions, Cost of Attendance, and Student Financial Aid; a brief overview of Research and Development, and a brief overview of major updates to IPEDS Tools and the IPEDS website. Note: an abbreviated encore presentation will be featured in the regular concurrent session line-up. 

Building a Collaborative Data Lakehouse Environment 

May 28 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 AB

Matthew Hoolsema (Carnegie Mellon University), Henry Zheng (Carnegie Mellon University), Roman Mitz (Carnegie Mellon University), Alexis Parker (Carnegie Mellon University) 

Data silos are major barriers to delivering insights and values to campus stakeholders at most colleges and universities. Data lives in multiple operational systems that often do not communicate with each other, and data governance barriers can prevent users from accessing relevant data that could inform process improvements and decision making. In this session, we will discuss some of the barriers that have prevented progress on our campus, share technology solutions that have helped us start to break through these barriers, and highlight the collaborative work through a community of practices that has allowed those technology solutions to gain traction. Presented through the lenses of strategy, culture, and technology, we will present case studies of projects that have become possible because of our new collaborative data lakehouse environment. 

Education Data in Federal Policy: A Look at 2024 and Beyond

May 28 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 EF

Diane Cheng (Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), Bryan Cook (Urban Institute), Jonathan Fansmith (American Council on Education), Moderator: Christine Keller (Association for Institutional Research) 

This interactive session will provide an overview and assessment of the current federal policy landscape in Congress and the Department of Education, with a focus on data, equity, and student success. Panelists will discuss as well as respond to audience questions on the potential impact of the regulatory agenda, current and prospective legislative proposals impacting today’s students, and intersections with the work of states and postsecondary institutions. The expert presenters represent organizations that serve a broad array of constituencies, all of which play a crucial role in policy development. 

The Analytics Playbook: Who’s on Your Team? 

May 28 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Mile High Ballroom 1 CD

Betsy Reinitz (EDUCAUSE), Leah Ewing Ross (Association for Institutional Research), Lindsay Wayt (NACUBO) 

Everyone has a role in building an analytics-enabled culture, but we don’t all have the same role. A new playbook from AIR, EDUCAUSE, and NACUBO operationalizes the Joint Statement on Analytics and features the leadership opportunities for data champions – including IR/IE professionals – in this work, regardless of an institution’s status on the journey. In this highly interactive session, presenters will demonstrate how to conduct some of the plays and will engage participants in an exploration of how to customize plays for their own institutions’ contexts. Join us to explore the playbook, to be released in August, which was developed as part of an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.