Board Corner

  • Board Corner
  • 05.24.21

Communication for Connectivity

  • by Heather A. Kelly, AIR President

The exchange of ideas and perspectives and the transfer of knowledge are critical to the sustained growth of the IR/IE profession. And the efficacy of such interactions hinge on effective communication. Results from the recent AIR Stakeholder Survey indicate that communicating the value of IR/IE is one of the top five current challenges facing IR/IE professionals. The challenge of communicating the important role of IR/IE in strategic decision making was also a theme we heard during this year’s Board-hosted coffee chats. Advocating for the value of IR/IE within the higher education community is a priority for AIR—so much so that the Ends policy statement and AIR mission stipulate, “AIR educates institutional researchers, higher education leaders, and professionals and organizations on the value of institutional research.”

Communication is a key component of what we do. In this month’s eAIR, authors touch on how communication facilitates collaboration, ways to prime stakeholders to engage with data, communicating in our new hybrid reality, and more. We know that the ability to effectively tell a story with data can lead to deeper understanding, more actionable insights, and ultimately better decisions for the benefit of students and the institution. The Foundations Workshop being offered this June will focus on Effective Reporting and will articulate the principles of data storytelling, creating a data story, and understanding reporting needs of various audiences.

More intentional communication and sustained connections have been essential as we’ve navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic. IR/IE professionals were called upon to produce, use, and communicate data and information to stakeholders in new and expanded ways. An AIR Community Survey on Leading and Managing During COIVD-19 asked about successful strategies for leading IR/IE units during the pandemic. Survey respondents reported that communication was key. Common topics of discussion in our online community, AIR Hub, included how to better serve stakeholders and “how to effectively communicate the necessity of data collection, review and reports to the benefit of the institution.”

We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to better communicate the value of IR/IE and the ways you are effectively communicating data and information to your stakeholders. Let’s continue the conversation on AIR Hub!

The AIR Forum Virtual is the ultimate opportunity for connectivity. I look forward to “seeing” you there virtually at the conference!