It is a true honor and privilege to be serving as AIR President. This year has already proven to be challenging for so many members of our community. I am proud to be leading an association that is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and wants to support its members and bring about positive change. We are all being asked to face a new reality and AIR is positioning itself to serve its members in new and innovative ways. The current landscape, nationally, globally, and within higher education, makes community more important than ever before.
In addition to the AIR Forum Virtual, there are new products and services to provide opportunities for our community to connect. The first is the AIR Hub, which connects data champions in higher education to learn from each other and share resources. It also provides the opportunity to expand your professional network. I encourage you to create your personalized profile, post on the discussion board, and share your expertise by engaging in the discussions. The second is Coffee Chats. The next Coffee Chat, scheduled for July 17, will focus on Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education. This will be a unique occasion to discuss challenges and how the AIR community can help advance equity and inclusion in higher education. I hope you will join us for this important conversation where we can listen and learn together.
Later this month, the association will host the AIR Forum Virtual—our first-ever all digital conference for champions of data-informed decision making in higher education. In preparation for the virtual conference, I have had the pleasure of meeting both of the keynote speakers. I am confident you will be motivated by the opening keynote speaker Rebecca Costa, an American Sociobiologist and Futurist, who is a global expert on the subject of “fast adaptation,” and you’ll be inspired by the closing keynote speaker, Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, whose research and policy efforts have improved educational opportunities and success for all students. The AIR Forum Virtual will include both real-time sessions and on-demand access. Your AIR Forum favorites, such as Q&A with presenters and attendees, the Exhibit Hall, networking breaks, as well as (virtual) yoga and (virtual) happy hours are all on the program.
The first-ever virtual AIR Annual Business Meeting held on May 27 had a record number of attendees (n=120) at the outset of the meeting. If you missed the meeting or would like to experience it again, a recording and script are available here. There is still plenty of time to register for AIR Forum Virtual. I look forward to “seeing” you there virtually later this month!