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  • Board Corner
  • 09.27.23

A Look into the Year Ahead

  • by Jonathan S. Gagliardi, AIR President

Dear Colleagues,

I hope the first few weeks of the semester have gone smoothly! In the last Board Corner, I wrote about the importance of taking stock, listening, and acting. Indeed, the Board of Directors (BOD) is meant to “create a link between the membership and the operational association,” as noted in our governance policies. In other words, do we as a Board understand the interests, concerns, and needs of our members? Are we facilitating awareness, interest, and engagement among the members of the AIR community? With your active engagement and input, the BOD will continue to make progress in serving as your ambassadors.

Take for example, the ongoing work of the Future of IR Committee. When it began in the 2022-23 Board year, the committee—which was composed of AIR community members and BOD members—considered the role of IR/IE within the context of the future of higher education over the next three to five years. The committee reviewed higher education literature, the work of other associations, data from the 2021-22 National Survey of Institutional Research Offices (NSIRO), the AIR Statement of Aspirational Practice for IR, and Board minutes, in addition to the rich qualitative input received through regional AIR and Affiliate Organization meetings. The conclusion of the first year of committee work yielded four critical issues for further inquiry, which were shared at the 2023 AIR Forum and are noted below.

  • Demonstrate the Value of Institutional Research and Institutional Effectiveness.
  • Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Amplify Student and Institutional Success.
  • Cultivate Leadership for the Institutional Research and Institutional Effectiveness Professional.

As you might imagine, each of these areas are highly interrelated. The most tangible way to demonstrate the value of IR/IE is to amplify institutional and student success. To do that well requires a commitment to creating diverse teams, equitable policies and practices, and inclusive environments that nurture success for our students, faculty, and staff. Cultivating evidence-based, equity-focused leaders within IR/IE is a key ingredient to scaling such approaches throughout our colleges and universities. Much of the work done by previous iterations of the BOD and the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), in partnership with members of the AIR community, such as an explicit commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within our mission and governing principles, have set us up to take additional actions to advance our shared values.

So, how will we continue to advance and improve this year and beyond? I am excited to share how the BOD and NEC will focus its time, effort, and energy this year.

First, The Board will continue to leverage its ad hoc committees. This year, the Future of IR Committee will continue its work. Building on the four critical areas surfaced during the previous Board year, the committee will develop a summative set of ideas and possible actions to be undertaken by the Board or considered by the AIR Executive Director. Moreover, the committee will promote greater awareness and transparency within and among the community about the future of the profession and relevant programs and services offered by AIR. These ideas and actions will help to create a roadmap of recommendations and reforms that can help to strengthen our profession and amplify the impact of the work we do.

The work of the Future of IR Committee will also inform and be informed by the newly created AIR Volunteer Leadership Pathways Committee. This committee will generate a series of recommended actions for the Board focused on broadening opportunities for members to prepare for and learn about volunteer leadership on the BOD or NEC. The intent is to facilitate the expansion and diversification of the association’s volunteer leadership pathways by removing barriers and/or creating new Board-sponsored programs. The work of the Volunteer Leadership Pathways Committee will unfold over an accelerated timeline, with the recommendations presented to the Board in early 2024.

This is truly exciting work that is built upon years of engagement between the BOD, the NEC, and the AIR community. It will take all of us to realize the full potential of the ideas and recommendations that surface throughout the remaining Board year.

I look forward to providing you with routine updates on the evolution of this work and invite you to share your thoughts and input by reaching out to me directly or any of the other Board or NEC members.

All the best,

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eAIR is the newsletter of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). From its start in October 1987 to today, eAIR remains one of the most important tools for providing news to the higher education community.

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