The AIR Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award celebrates the scholarly papers that best exemplify the standards of excellence established by the award's namesake and that make significant contributions to the fields of IR, IE, or Assessment. The purpose of the award is to promote scholarship and to acknowledge that AIR members make a wide variety of scholarly contributions to the field, ranging from theory to practice.
The Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award annually honors a scholarly paper that has been accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal. Authors will be given the opportunity to present during an AIR event (e.g., annual AIR Forum conference, webinar, coffee chat).
Note: In January 2021, the AIR Board of Directors established new criteria for this award, effective January 2022. Qualified award candidates who presented their scholarly papers at the 2020 AIR Forum Virtual have until March 2022 to apply under the previous criteria. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Effective January 2022
- Scholarly papers must include research questions, methodologies, literature reviews, and findings.
- The due date for submitting a paper for the award is January each year.
- The paper can only be submitted once.
- Scholarly papers must have been published or accepted in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal in the last calendar year: January 1 – December 31.
- One of the authors must currently be an active member of AIR and a member at the date or time of acceptance of the paper in a peer-reviewed journal.
- The paper must articulate implications for practice, or the authors must provide evidence or details of the impact of the research on practice in IR, IE, or Assessment.
Submission and Selection
Papers should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
- A PDF of the published paper, or if accepted for publication and not yet published, a copy of the acceptance letter and the final draft of the paper submitted to the publisher
- The authors’ telephone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses with the contact author noted, if more than one author
- All submissions will be reviewed by a committee of AIR members
- Authors will be notified of the committee’s decision by April
2019 Charles F. Elton Best Papers
College Student Satisfaction Typology and Its Relationship with Engagement Patterns
Jihee Hwang, Texas A&M University; Felix Wao, University of Oklahoma
Hwang, J. & Wao, F. (2021). College Student Satisfaction Typology and Its Relationship with Engagement Patterns. Journal of College Student Development, 62(1), 118-124. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/781699/pdf
Interaction across Ideological Boundaries and College Outcomes
Jiali Luo, Duke University
Jiali Luo. (2020). Interaction across Ideological Boundaries and College Outcomes. The Journal of Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2020.1738162
Investigation of the Effect of First-Year Seminars on Student Success
Qingmin Shi, John R. Crooker, Christina Drum, and Brent M. Drake, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Shi, Q., Crooker, R. J., Drum, C., & Drake, B. M. (2021). Investigation of the effect of first year seminars on student success. Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 33 (2).
Making Graduation Matter: Initial Evidence and Implications
for Policy and Research
Ching-Hui Lin, National Sun Yat-sen University; Jyun-Hong Chen, Soochow University; Victor M. H. Borden, Indiana University Bloomington
Ching-Hui Lin, Jyun-Hong Chen & Victor M. H. Borden (2020) Making graduation matter: initial evidence and implications for policy and research, Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1711040
2018 Charles F. Elton Best Paper
How Often Is ‘Often’: Examining the Meaning of Vague Quantifiers in Higher Education
Louis Rocconi, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Amber Dumford, University of South Florida; Brenna Butler, Pennsylvania State University
Rocconi, L. M., Dumford, A. D., & Butler, B. (2020). How often is ‘often’: Examining the meaning of vague quantifiers in higher education. Research in Higher Education, 61(2), 229-247
2017 Charles F. Elton Best Papers
Destinations of Out-of-State Students: A Case of One Institution
Iryna Johnson, Associate Director for Analytics, Auburn University
Johnson, I. Y. (2018). Destinations of out-of-state students: A case of one institution. Research in Higher Education
2016 Charles F. Elton Best Papers
Strategic Agenda-Setting of Institutional Research in Taiwan’s Higher Education Institutions
Sophia Shi-Huei Ho, University of Taipei (Taiwan); Michael Yao-Ping Peng, Hsuan Chuang University, Taiwan
Understanding the Impacts of the Standardized Test Optional Admission Policy and Global Implications
Yuko Mulugetta, Ithaca College; Abraham Mulugetta, Ithaca College
Mulugetta, Y., & Mulugetta, A. (2018). Understanding the impacts of the standardized test optional admission policy and global implications. The Congress Proceedings: Twenty Seventh Annual World Business Congress
Visualizing Rater Agreement: Beyond Single-Parameter Measures
David Allen Eubanks, Furman University
Eubanks, D. (2017). (Re) Visualizing Rater Agreement: Beyond Single-Parameter Measures. Journal of Writing Analytics, 1
2015 Charles F. Elton Best Papers
A house divided? Examining persistence for on-campus STEM and non-STEM students
Ann Gansemer-Topf, Iowa State University; Aurelia Kollasch, Iowa State University; Jie Sun, Southern Methodist University
Gansemer-Topf, AM., Kollasch, AK., & Sun, J. (2015). A house divided? Examining persistence for on-campus STEM and non-STEM students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, doi:1521025115611671, first published on October 26, 2015.
Managing Resources and Relations in Higher Education Institutions: A Framework for Understanding Performance Improvement
Shihuei Ho, University of Taipei; Yao-Ping Peng, Hsuan Chuang University
Ho, Sophia Shi-Huei, & Peng, Michael Yao-Ping (2015). Managing Resources and Relations in Higher Education Institutions: A Framework for Understanding Performance Improvement. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, doi:10.12738/estp.2016.1.0185, Vol: 16(1).
Are student loan default rates linked to institutional effectiveness
Terry Ishitani, University of Tennessee; Sean McKitrick, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Ishitani, T.T., & McKitrick, S.A. (2016) Are student loan default rates linked to institutional effectiveness? Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 46: Iss. 1, Article 3.
Choice of academic major at a public research university: The role of gender and self-efficacy
Iryna Johnson, Auburn University; William Brian Muse, Columbus State University
Johnson, I.Y., Muse, W.B. (2016). Choice of academic major at a public research university: The role of gender and self-efficacy.Research in Higher Education.
Does Taking Developmental Courses Improve Two-Year College Student Success?
Julie Noble, ACT, Inc.
Noble, J. (2016). Does Taking Developmental Courses Improve Two-Year College Student Success? ACT Research Report 16-1.Iowa City: ACT. Inc.
Healthy university work culture, decision-making and communication leadership skills
Afolakemi Oredein, Lead City University
Oredein, A.O. (2016). Healthy university work culture, decision-making and communication leadership skills. Journal of Global Research in Education & Social Science, Vol. 6(2).
Coupling Admissions and Curricular Data to Predict Medical Student Outcomes
Diana B. Sesate, Arizona State University-Tempe; Jeffrey F. Milem, University of California, Santa Barbara; Kadian L. McIntosh, University of Arizona; W. Patrick Bryan, University of Arizona
Sesate, D. B., Milem, J. F., McIntosh, K. L., & Bryan, W. P. (2016) Coupling Admissions and Curricular Data to Predict Medical Student Outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 1-18. doi:10.1007/s11162-016-9426-y.
Course-Taking Patterns of Community College Students Beginning in STEM: Using Data Mining Techniques to Reveal Viable STEM Transfer Pathways
Xueli Wang, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wang, X. (2015). Course-Taking Patterns of Community College Students Beginning in STEM: Using Data Mining Techniques to Reveal Viable STEM Transfer Pathways. Research in Higher Education, 57: 544. doi:10.1007/s11162-015-9397-4.
Mining Text Data: Making Sense of What Students Tell Us
John Zilvinskis, Indiana University
Greg Michalski, Florida State College at Jacksonville
Zilvinskis, J., & Michalski, G. (in press). Mining text data: Making sense of what students tell us. Association for Institutional Research Professional File.
Student Engagement and Student Learning: Examining the Convergent and Discriminate Validity of the Revised National Survey of Student Engagement
John Zilvinskis, State University of New York at Binghamton
Anthony Masseria, Indiana University - Bloomington
Gary R. Pike, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Zilvinskis, J., Masseria, A.A. & Pike, G.R. (2017) Student Engagement and Student Learning: Examining the Convergent and Discriminate Validity of the Revised National Survey of Student Engagement Research in Higher Education, 58: 880. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9450-6
2014 Charles F. Elton Best Papers
Keep on Truckin’ or Stay the Course? Exploring Grit Dimensions as Differential Predictors of Educational Attainment, Satisfaction, and Intentions
Nicholas Bowman, Bowling Green State University
Patrick Hill, Carleton University
Nida Denson, University of Western Sydney
Ryan Bronkema, University of West Georgia
Bowman, N. A., Hill, P. L., Denson, N., & Bronkema, R. (2015). Keep on truckin’ or stay the course? Exploring grit dimensions as differential predictors of educational attainment, satisfaction, and intentions. Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 6, 6: pp. 639-645., first published on March 2, 2015.
Student Involvement in Ethnic Student Organizations: Examining Civic Outcomes Six Years After Graduation
Nicholas Bowman, Bowling Green State University
Julie Park, University of Maryland
Nida Denson, University of Western Sydney
Bowman, N. A., Park, J. J., & Denson, N. (2015). Student involvement in ethnic student organizations: Examining civic outcomes six years after graduation. Research in Higher Education, 56, 127-145.
Predicting Successful Remediation among Latina/o Students
Gloria Crisp, University of Texas-San Antonio
Nicole Reyes, University of Texas-San Antonio
Erin Doran, University of Texas-San Antonio
Crisp, G., Reyes, N. & Doran, E. Predicting Successful Mathematics Remediation Among Latina/o Students. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 1538192715621950, first published on December 29, 2015 doi:10.1177/1538192715621950.
Guaranteed Tuition Policies and State General Appropriations for Higher Education: A Difference-in-Difference Analysis
Jennifer Delaney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tyler Kearney, University of Illinois
Delaney, J. A. & Kearney, T. D. (2015). Guaranteed Tuition Policies and State General Appropriations for Higher Education: A Difference-in-Difference Analysis. Journal of Education Finance, 40(4).
Living With Smartphones: Does Completion Device Affect Survey Responses?
Amber Dumford, Indiana University
Angie Miller, Indiana University
Lambert, A.D., & Miller, A.L. (2015). Living with smartphones: Does completion device affect survey responses? Research in Higher Education, 56(2), 166-177.
Using NSSE to Understand Student Success: A Multi-Year Analysis
Stefano Fiorini, Indiana University-Bloomington
Tao Liu, Indiana University-Bloomington
Linda Shepard, Indiana University
Judith Ouimet, Indiana University
Fiorini, S., Tao L., Shepard L. and Ouimet J. (2014). Using NSSE to Understand Student Success: A Multi-Year Analysis. In S. Whalen (Ed.), Proceedings of the 10th national symposium on student retention, Louisville, Kentucky. (pp. 460-473). Norman, OK: The University of Oklahoma.
The Postsecondary Resource Trinity Model: Exploring the Interaction between Socioeconomic, Academic, and Institutional Resources
Matt Giani, University of Illinois
Giani, M. S. (2015). The postsecondary resource trinity model: Exploring the interaction between socioeconomic, academic, and institutional resources. Research in Higher Education, vol. 56, 2, pp 105-126. Research in Higher Education.
Against the Odds: The Impact of the Key Communities at Colorado State University on Retention and Graduation for Historically Underrepresented Students
Tae Nosaka, Colorado State University
Heather Novak, Colorado State University
Nosaka, T. , Novak, H. (2014). Against the Odds: The Impact of the Key Communities at Colorado State University on Retention and Graduation for Historically Underrepresented Students. Learning Communities Research and Practice, 2(2), Article 3.
Examining the Effects of Institutional and Cohort Characteristics on Retention Rates
Gary Pike, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Steven Graunke, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Pike, G. R., & Graunke, S. S. (2015). Examining the effects of institutional and cohort characteristics on retention rates. Research in Higher Education, 56, 146.165
College Seniors’ Plans for Graduate School: Do Deep Approaches Learning and Holland Academic Environments Matter?
Louis Rocconi, Indiana University-Bloomington
Amy Ribera, Indiana University-Bloomington
Thomas Nelson Laird, Indiana University
Rocconi, L. M., Ribera, A. K., & Nelson Laird, T. F. (2015). College Seniors’ Plans for Graduate School: Do Deep Approaches Learning and Holland Academic Environments Matter? Research in Higher Education, 56(2), 178-201.
Applications of Social Network Analysis in Institutional Research
Ning Wang, University of California, San Francisco
Wang, N. (2015). Applications of Social Network Analysis in Institutional Research. AIR Professional Files, Spring, 2015