1. What is your job title?
My role is Evaluations Coordinator & Analyst.
2. Briefly, how would you describe your role in terms of your place in your institution?
As a part of the strategic planning team within the Planning and Information Office, my role is embedded in the Academic Quality Office and reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
3. From your perspective, what are the emerging areas of interest in institutional research?
Over the last couple of years, we have started to see data scientists working in the Planning and Business Intelligence units. Data scientists use data mining techniques to access data—structured and unstructured—in a range of open sources, extract knowledge, and integrate insights into business decisions. I think data science will challenge the landscape of institutional research. I was at Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Global Boot Camp last December. It was amazing to see how cognitive service tools processed natural language into scripts, and how they connect translation and text analysis with simple apps that you can create for yourself! My view is that AI and machine learning will be discussed more frequently and possibly merged into institutional research.
4. What do you believe will be the future priorities for institutional research?
Despite technological advancement and the upsurge of high-tech tools, I believe that the priority for institutional researchers is to develop ‘soft’ skills. This would enable us to provide meaningful information rather than data just in numerical formats. In a way, I think how we translate data into insights helps others understand that the information is as important as, if not more important, than what tools to adopt and how to visualise the data.
IR has developed into a specialised area with multidisciplinary knowledge and backgrounds. For that, as institutional researchers we need to continue our professional development acquire knowledge, and upskill ourselves to better support decision-making processes. This professional development should also reflect the issues we face and contextual intelligence at both organisational (university) and the institutional (higher education sector) levels.
5. As incoming AAIR Newsletter editor, what will be your focus for future newsletters?
To be honest, my focus for the next 6–12 months will primarily be on learning, and on finding a co-editor to work together with me. I would like to learn how the newsletter is prepared and where to search and find the most relevant content for AAIR members so that I can bring you the latest and greatest information. Based on these outcomes, I would like to introduce theme-based special issues to allow our members to become more involved and participate more actively in their professional association. I will start to contact our members for ideas and their advice and contributions for the coming issues. My goal is to make the AAIR newsletter a collaboration platform to promote our Association, our members, and what we are going to achieve! I anticipate that there will be challenges ahead for me, but I’d like to walk this journey with hope and joy!
If you’re interested in working with me on the newsletter I’d love to hear from you. Please read the position description and contact us directly. Details below…
Would you like to feature in the ‘Institutional Researcher’s Corner’ segment of our newsletter, The Institutional Researcher? Contact our trusty editors with the answers to 5 simple questions, and we’ll feature you in an upcoming issue.
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