​A New Vision for Institutional Research

Are data and reporting burdens a product of the prevailing structure of institutional research? Can a new model for IR address the real-world management needs of modern postsecondary education? These questions are addressed in a Change magazine article produced by AIR entitled A New Vision for Institutional Research.

The concepts presented in this piece are not a prediction of some distant future, but rather, a reflection of the current environment in higher education. The dominant model of IR is based on a service relationship with a small set of consumers and decision  makers, and is largely organized around mandatory external reporting requirements.

This article advocates a move away from traditional structures to new models that recognize students, faculty, and staff as key decision-makers in order to better serve institutions in achieving their missions, goals, and purposes. Expansion of IR capacity can be achieved when IR serves in a coaching role, thereby expanding the cadre of data users and producers across the institution, resulting in a holistic IR function.

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This article references AIR's Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional ResearchThe Statement of Aspirational Practice for Institutional Research is a new vision of effective IR in support of student success. This vision represents a hybrid approach for IR that recognizes student success as one of several critical aspects of higher education.

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