This year I enrolled with AIR in the inaugural professional development programme, ‘A Holistic Approach to Institutional Research’. The initial cohort had about 80 participants, mainly from the USA, but also included people from the Netherlands, Canada, France and New Zealand.
The programme provided a foundation to navigate the ever-growing demands for data and information in the current higher education landscape. In addition to the course content, a cohort model, mentor support, and group activities encouraged active conversation among participants
The programme consisted of six weeks of online learning consisting of paper and video lessons followed by pre-tests, assessments and post-tests, concluding with a two-day intensive face-to-face workshop. There were generally two to three assessment tasks to be submitted each week based on either the sample data, or using experiences from your own institutions.
The topics covered were:
As part of the online learning and assessment we were required to post each week to a discussion board about an aspect of the topic covered that week, and then also respond to and comment on at least one other participant’s posting.
The two-day intensive workshops were facilitated by the mentors and developed on the topics covered in the online component of the programme.
The workshops were very interactive, using self- and group-based learning and presenting.
This course provided me with the key foundation of the ‘what and why’ of institutional research and how to navigate the ever-growing demands for data and information. Institutional research is broad and encompasses myriad roles and responsibilities, and higher education institutions are diverse, and as such, some aspects of the function of institutional research vary by institution. This programme acknowledged those differences and focused on the commonalities that ground the field to make participants think holistically.
I learned so much from the opportunities of learning from others, and by sharing my own perspective in both the online discussion boards and in the workshop.
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