Board Corner

  • Board Corner
  • 12.20.18

What Are We Doing and Why is it Important?

  • by Christine Ross - AIR Board Member at Large
Christine Ross

A long time ago, in a past life far, far away… two questions my administrative team would continuously ask students to answer were: “What are you doing in class, and why is it important?” These questions remain the crux of my mode of operation, as articulating answers to these questions is extremely beneficial in clarifying why we do the things we do. This applies to our work as AIR Board members as well.

As a Board, we operate using a system of Policy Governance - a model which allows us to focus on the big picture (referred to as our Ends), to delegate to the professional staff at the Executive Office the methods for reaching those Ends, and to monitor and evaluate the work being done in a clear and rigorous way. As a Board, we are responsible to you, the membership, to make sure your needs are being met - that we are clear about what the association does and its importance. This is where the Ends policy comes into play.

The Ends Policy describes the results and value for the membership, and the AIR Ends policy drives the direction of the Association. A great deal of time, deliberation, and reflection on the work of this and prior AIR Boards was focused on our Ends policy - driven by our desire to clearly articulate exactly what AIR is doing and why it is important for the membership and the profession. This work is not done within a bubble. AIR Board members are continuously seeking out opportunities to meet with you as members to gather feedback on what exactly YOU need from YOUR association.

Our current Ends policy, based on what we heard from you and on countless hours of discussion between the Board and the professional staff at the Executive Office, states:

“AIR is a global association of higher education professionals. AIR exists to empower those individuals at all levels to utilize data, analytics, information, and evidence to make decisions and take actions that benefit students and institutions and improve higher education. This must be done within AIR’s available resources and in such a manner that the value to higher education is worth the investment of those resources. 

A.  AIR educates institutional researchers, higher education leaders, and professionals and organizations on the value 
     of institutional research.

B. AIR empowers and supports higher education professionals in: 

    • Contextualizing data across campus and throughout higher education; 

    • Learning methods and tools of the institutional research profession; 

    • Evaluating the effectiveness of institutions; 

    • Conducting research and scholarship. 

C.  AIR provides opportunities for the development of professional and interpersonal skills. 

D.  AIR promotes the development of professional networks.”

(AIR Governance Policies, September 2018)

As in all Policy Governance structures, our policies are living documents, meaning that they change based on the needs of the organization. As an AIR Board, we will continue to seek feedback from you to make sure our ENDS policy reflects “what we are doing, and why it is important” for our members

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