CAIR 2019

Lately, I’ve been hard at work preparing for a very busy California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR) 2019 Conference in Monterey Bay. There is something so special about the State and Regional AIR meetings; I think it’s the way the local focus mixes with the national big picture to create a buzz of familiarity and excitement. I am excited to reconnect with colleagues, meet some new IR pros, and dig in to learning more about things I’ve been thinking about.

What I’ll Be Learning at CAIR

Narrowing down my CAIR 2019 agenda was not easy! SO many great programs, and many diving into the topics I am really excited about!

Postcollege Outcomes continue to be a hot topic and a key area of focus of the IEHE’s work. I’m looking forward to hearing new ideas on the topic at Slicing the Wage Pie: Addressing Income Inequality of Graduates (Thursday at 2:15 PM in Laguna Grande B) and An Exciting New Way to Track Post-enrollment Outcomes (Thursday at 4:45 in Laguna Grande A).

Of course, on the way to their Postcollege Outcomes it’s critical that we help ALL students succeed. CAIR is hosting a number of novel sessions focusing on Student Success, including: Supporting Student Research (Wednesday at 4:30 PM in Laguna Grande E), Unit Load Momentum: Indicator for Successful and Timely Graduation (Thursday at 11 AM in Laguna Grande F), New Approach to Predictive Models for Student‐centered Support (Thursday at 4:45 PM in Laguna Grande D), IR Collaboration with Athletics: Working Toward Student Success (Friday at 9:15 AM in Laguna Grande A).

Though my work currently takes me outside the IR Office, I always try to keep up on best practices in Institutional Research. There are many opportunities to do so, such as IR 101: IR Preparedness and Response Guide (Thursday at 2:15 PM in Seaside Ballroom) and Expand Your IR Capacity: Design a Shared Student Success Dataset (Friday at 9:15 AM in Laguna Grande D), and Once Upon a Time, There Was an Institutional Researcher (Wednesday at 4:30 PM in Laguna Grande G).

And if you know me, you know I can never get enough Data in my life. CAIR always has me covered there, and this year is no exception. The exceptional lineup includes: (IPEDS) Survey Says: Let’s Feud! (Wednesday at 3:30 PM in Laguna Grande E), Promoting Actionable Data Analysis for Program Review and Program Planning (Wednesday at 3:30 PM in Laguna Grande F), Tired of Tableau? Try Paper ‐ Dashboards vs. Infographics (Thursday at 11 AM in Laguna Grande D), and Beyond Compliance: Turning Your Data into Action (Thursday at 4:45 PM in Seaside Ballroom).

CAIR 2019 Announcement for 44th Annual Conference, November 6-8, 2019, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Seaside in Monterey Bay.

What I’ll Be Sharing at CAIR

With CAIR 2019 falling so close to the holiday season, I’ll be embracing the Spirit of Giving. Giving conference presentations, that is! I have quite a few sessions lined up, so you should find plenty of opportunities to come heckle me 😉 Seriously, though, I’ll be talking more about the things I’m working on, thinking about, and that are driving our work at the Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education.

Monday & Tuesday

I’ll be co-facilitating IPEDS Workshops. Monday’s workshop is Beyond Compliance: How to Use IPEDS Data to Examine Student and Institutional Success and Tuesday’s is New Keyholder Training. These workshops require advanced registration and space is limited; you can find out more and access the registration link here:


WSCUC Invited Session: WSCUC Graduation Rate Dashboard 101 ‐ New Users and a Refresher (Wednesday at 2:15 PM in Laguna Grande C): This year will mark the fifth collection of Graduation Rate Dashboard (GRD) elements for all undergraduate institutions in the WSCUC Annual Report. Additionally, in spring 2018, visiting teams began to engage institutional leaders regarding their use of the GRD along with other measures to better understand and improve student success. This session is intended for those new to WSCUC and/or the GRD. The presentation will include 1) a background of the GRD 2) definitions, 3) how to submit GRD data for the Annual Report, and 4) resources to use the data including the comparative tool and institutional use cases. Presenting on behalf of WSCUC.


IR 101: Negotiation Skills for IR (Thursday at 8:45 AM in Seaside Ballroom): While many IR professionals focus on developing technical skillsets, there is a tendency to overlook development of “Essential Skills” such as effective negotiation and communication skills. However, with the changing role of IR professionals the combination of such “Essential Skills” and technical skills becomes essential. This session is designed to help IR professionals identify and develop non-technical skills to facilitate the changing role of IR in many institutions. Using institutional project examples, practical strategies, and lessons learned regarding the necessity of soft skills in complex institutional projects are shared. With Dr. Paula Krist, Dr. Waddell Herron, and Dr. Leeshawn Moore.

IR 101: Managing an Institutional Research Office (Thursday at 10 AM in Laguna Grande F): Whether your office has one person or a dozen, there are management concerns and issues that will have to be addressed.  This session is for new institutional research directors or for people who may aspire to be. Topics include defining the roles that each member of the IR team fulfills, making informed personnel decisions, and building institutional relationships. An effective IR office must be nimble – come to expand your thoughts on how. Panel with Dr. Kris Krishnan, CAIR President Jessica Luedtke, and Dr. Leeshawn Moore. 

AI and Storytelling: Beginner’s Information for IR Application (Thursday at 3:45 PM in Laguna Grande B): Data analysis is quickly becoming not enough to tell our institution’s story and help leaders identify where they should intervene. This session offers an introduction into two areas that can help IR professionals humanize data and get others to use it – storytelling and artificial intelligence (AI). While these topics seem to be the new “buzz” words and it can seem a bit overwhelming as to where to dig in, this session focuses on IR applications and provide some relevant resources for those who want to learn more.


Getting Published: The CAIR Report (Friday at 10:30 AM in Laguna Grande A): Come learn more about CAIR’s new online annual publication, “The CAIR Report”. “The CAIR Report” offers an opportunity for presenters at the annual CAIR conference to publish written versions of their research. In this session, co-editors of the CAIR Report will discuss the submission process and criteria for inclusion. The short presentation will be followed by a conversation with contributing authors about their experiences with the submission and publication process, then a Q & A from attendees. Presenting with CAIR Immediate Past-President, Dr. Brianna Moore-Trieu.

Getting Credit for Serving Non‐Traditional Students (Friday at 11:30 AM in Laguna Grande F): We all want to retain and graduate 100% of our students. But what does it mean when we graduate less than 100%? Did we fail? How can so much effort, time and energy result in some students dropping out or transferring? Current measures unfairly do not account for student and institutional characteristics that are correlated with lower completion rates, which tends to impact non-traditional and transfer serving institutions. This session shares results from a national study using IPEDS Outcome Measures (OM) data. This is the first national analysis that analyzes completion rates of transfer students while taking into account student and institution characteristics. Institutions educating non-traditional and transfer populations will find this session of value.

See You at CAIR 2019!

If one of the sessions I’m giving or attending piques your attention, but you are unable to attend, let’s connect! You know I love to review the content and chat about these big ideas. If you see a hole in my agenda, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to be there 😊

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @KPowers_IEHE for more about my CAIR 2019 experience. I’ll be following @CAIR_Org and #CAIR2019 to stay updated about the Conference.

The Institute for Effectiveness in Higher Education (IEHE) innovates and improves higher education standards through our strategic research, publicly available resources, and partnerships with colleges and universities. We provide extensive expertise on data strategy, IPEDS, institutional research and student success to drive institutional effectiveness.