Recent News

  • Board Corner
  • 03.29.24

Board Corner: Newly Elected Leadership, AIR Forum, and More

  • by Jonathan S. Gagliardi, AIR President

Taken one way, the phrase, “What’s past is prologue,” could be used as an optimistic reminder that our personal experiences and shared history have prepared us for an unbridled future. Viewed through another lens, it can serve as a cautionary tale. How, after all, can we avoid previous missteps if history isn’t used to learn and grow?

When something new is accompanied by opportunities and challenges, the need to take a beat is human nature. Nothing new there. However, I have observed that those who are able to take full advantage of new trends and natural moments of pause and transition practice meaningful reflection, are willing to grow, and choose to pursue a modified or new path forward. While that sounds simple enough, it really isn’t. Why is that? Well, someone dear to me recently told me that people tend not to see the world for what it is, but rather, as a reflection of their innermost thoughts and feelings. There’s a lot of truth and permanence to that. The constraints imposed by the limitations of our individual lenses can short-circuit our ability to evolve and make progress. We become concretized, making it hard to move forward. Given the ongoing changes we as a community and field are facing, we ought to be aware of that. It’s something that I’ve sat with for a bit.

I should probably share one of conclusions that I came to in doing so: AIR’s prologue is pretty good. The history of our field is littered with examples of the durability, adaptability, and importance of institutional research and institutional effectiveness (IR/IE). Now, as data are wielded for good and bad, and tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning simultaneously inspire and overwhelm society, IR/IE and adjacent fields will play a pivotal role in identifying emerging trends, and as importantly, shaping their utility. This is especially true for matters related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and student and institutional success, as noted in the ongoing work of the IR Future Committee, which continues to work in support of our shared values by surfacing emergent trends and highlighting how we can continue to strengthen and diversify leadership, all while promoting the value of IR/IE.

For evidence of the convergence of those efforts, look no further than our newly elected members of the Board of Directors and the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC). Please join me in welcoming Yenny Anderson, Bethany Crowell, Adrea Hernandez, and David Rudden to the Board of Directors, and Timothy Chow and Yesenia Espinal to the NEC! We owe a debt of gratitude to current NEC members, who worked tirelessly over the last six months to recruit and support a group of leaders who together will enhance the diverse perspectives and distinct institutional forms represented in AIR’s leadership. Furthermore, AIR’s leadership reflects our community and the voices of our members. On that note, I would like to thank you for voting in the recent elections. Your voice matters!

As a reminder, the recent changes to our constitution/bylaws have made it so that the Chair (beginning next year) and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors will be elected by members of the Board, and the Chair of the NEC will be elected by members of the NEC. We will announce those selections in early April.

Looking ahead to the next few months, we hope you can join us for the 2024 AIR Forum being held in Denver, CO. A fantastic lineup of speakers has been organized, headlined by Paul Zikopoulos, artificial intelligence expert and vice president of cognitive data systems at IBM. Moreover, attendees will have the chance to learn from their peers and hone their skills through an amazing slate of opportunities for professional development.

AIR Forum also represents an opportunity for us to come together as a community. Whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert—and I would score more of an “I” on the Myers Briggs—we all benefit from connection. In addition to looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues, spending time with all of you helps me broaden the lens through which I view our world. That strengthens my capacity to look beyond my own personal experiences and react to the changing landscape in ways that strengthen my decision making, allow me to learn continuously, grow professionally, and most importantly, evolve as a person. It is a time that I cherish for so many reasons, as I know many of you do. For those reasons, I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, wishing you all continued happiness and success this spring. Thank you for the work you do in service to our students, institutions, and economies. Take care of yourselves.


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