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Saratoga Springs - Pre-Conf Workshops


November 13 - 16, 2010
Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, New York

2010 NEAIR Pre-Conference Workshops




NEAIR membership is required in order to attend a pre-conference workshop; however, conference registration is not required.  Go to Workshop Registration tab to register.

Saturday, November 13th

1:00– 4:00 pm 

Newcomers to Institutional Research, Part I                                                                                                   $120

Jessica Shedd, National Center for Education Statistics; Terra Schehr, Loyola University Maryland

This workshop is designed for new practitioners and addresses key components of IR including: defining critical issues; identifying data sources; developing standard institutional information/reports; and conducting effective assessment/evaluation activities. The instructors have extensive experience in public and private higher education institutions, and in national education policy.

Assessing General Education Outcomes                                                                                                           $85

J. Fredericks Volkwein, Pennsylvania State University

This workshop examines general education and how to assess it. Participants will review institutional Gen Ed issues and challenges, learn strategies that assesses Gen Ed courses and programs, identify the Gen Ed Outcomes recommended by the AAC&U, discuss Gen Ed assessment methods, measures, and instruments.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Institutional Effectiveness (*Laptop required)                   $85

Brian Smith, GeoDecisions

This workshop will discuss and demonstrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A "hands on" portion will allow participants to access a GIS application using demographics related to higher education in order to focus on how using GIS can enhance decision making within higher education through geography and geographic functions.

Introduction to Dashboards Using Excel 2007 (*Laptop required/Excel 2007 required)                        $85

Craig Abbey, University at Buffalo

This workshop covers the basics of creating high quality dashboards using Excel 2007. Topics covered include design theory, dashboard layout, graphs, formatting options, scaling and the use of color. The skills here will allow users to created their own dashboard.

Prerequisite: Participants should have some working knowledge of Excel 2007.

Facilitating the Strategic Planning Process: An Important Role for Institutional Research                  $85

James F. Trainer, Villanova University and President of the AIR Board of Directors

As opportunities for institutional researchers to facilitate and lead strategic planning processes expand, this workshop introduces participants to the various tools they can employ to support, facilitate and lead planning efforts on their campuses. Process oriented tools are examined (e.g., SWOT, TOWS, how to set and write goals, build consensus, monitor implementation, etc.) as are tools of a more analytical nature (e.g., external and internal factor analyses summaries, quadrant analyses, dual utility/bottom line analyses, etc.). This is hands-on workshop in which participants will employ several of these tools in a series of simulations.


Sunday, November 14th

9:00– 12:00 noon

Newcomers to Institutional Research, Part II (Continuation from Saturday afternoon)

Jessica Shedd, National Center for Education Statistics; Terra Schehr, Loyola University Maryland

A Basic Toolbox for Assessing Institutional Effectiveness - I                                                                    $160

Michael F. Middaugh, University of Delaware and Chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Executive Committee

A broad range of strategies, methodologies, and tools for assessing institutional effectiveness will be examined and discussed. The workshop will focus on measuring effectiveness of institutional processes affecting students, faculty and staff, issues related to academic productivity and cost containment, administrative effectiveness, and tools for clearly communicating institutional effectiveness.

Advanced Dashboards using Excel (*Laptop required/Excel 2007 required)                                         $85

Craig Abbey, University at Buffalo

This advanced workshop will cover how to create a dashboard that dynamically selects and updates data and handle mutliple reporting units. Additionally, attendees will learn how to work with traffic light performance indicators and create graphs with a variable number of data points.

Prerequisite: Participants should have some working knowledge of Excel 2007 and its functions.

What Do I Do With It Now?: Analyzing Open-Ended Survey Data                                                                $85

Carol Vanzile-Tamsen, University at Buffalo

Surveys often include open-ended items which are never analyzed. The goal of this session is to provide information/practice to participants in thematic analysis of such items. By the end of the session, participants will complete a thematic analysis of open-ended data and understand how results might be shared.

Tips and Tricks for Supporting Enrollment Management from the                                                          $85
Trenches: A Survival Guide (*Laptop required/Excel 2007 required)

James Fergerson, Carleton College

The workshop covers a variety of practical techniques, tools, and data that institutional researchers use to support our admissions, financial aid, and budget offices. We will focus on many advanced features available in Excel, and apply them to practical examples of enrollment reporting, modeling and forecasting.

Prerequisite: Participants should have some working knowledge of Excel 2007.

Improving College Course Placement Practices and Enhancing the                                                       $85

Effectiveness of Institutional Interventions For Underprepared Students

Alan Whitcomb, Mount Ida College

Hundreds of colleges use placement tests to assess the academic readiness of incoming students, often without considering the merit of other measures for improving college course placement decisions. An empirical approach for improving course placement practices and enhancing the effectiveness of institutional interventions for underprepared students will be presented.

Prerequisite: Participants should know how to interpret correlation coefficients and possess a basic understanding of multiple regression analyses.


1:00 – 4:00 pm

A Basic Toolbox for Assessing Institutional Effectiveness – II (Continuation from Sunday Morning)

Michael F. Middaugh, University of Delaware and Chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Executive Committee

IR Shops Acting as External Grant Evaluators: Benefits, Challenges, and Ideas (*Laptop required) $85

Sharon La Voy, University of Maryland

Institutional Researchers are increasingly being asked to serve as evaluators for external grants. We can contribute to our institutional research agenda, gain valuable experience, build relationships, and bolster our bottom line by participating. We will explore the benefits and costs of this opportunity, and share ideas to make it work.

What Are The Chances? Introduction to Probability (*Laptop required)                                                   $85

Linda Mallory, United States Military Academy at West Point

Probability is the foundation for all inferential statistics. This workshop will provide a basic overview of probability concepts, including discrete probabilities (binomial, hypergoemtric and Poisson) as well as continuous probabilities, the normal distribution, and the p-value. The workshop is hands on with discussion, demonstration, and exercises illustrating IR applications.  

Prerequisite: Participants should have some working knowledge of Excel.

Taking the Next Step: (mid) Career Management in IR                                                                                  $85

Mitchell Nesler, Empire State College

Institutional research is a hot field – career opportunities abound. What do you need to do to take the next step? Will you be ready? In this highly interactive workshop, career management issues will be addressed.

Prerequisite: Participants should have at least seven years of institutional research experience.

Using the National Student Clearinghouse – How, When, and Why?                                                        $85

Michelle Appel, University of Maryland; Chad Muntz, University System of Maryland

National Student Clearinghouse data, when carefully considered in conjunction with institutional data, can be used to answer a variety of frequently asked questions. This workshop will provide a Clearinghouse overview as well as tips and tricks for running analyses and unduplicating records.

Managing Your Projects with Free Software Tools (*Laptop required)                                                    $85

Daniel Nugent, Pennsylvania State University

Managing IR projects is challenging. This workshop will demonstrate how tools commonly used in the development of open source software may be applied to IR projects. These tools can contribute to overall project quality by facilitating good management practices, improving project documentation, and increasing awareness among project stakeholders.



  • Workshops seats are available on a first come, first serve basis. Seating is limited.
  • Please register for workshops early to assist us in our planning.
  • Questions about the workshop content and software requirements will be directed to the presenter(s).
  • Participants must bring their own laptop computers if the presenter has indicated that a computer is required.
  • Conference organizers reserve the right to cancel any workshop due to low enrollment.
  • Two-part workshops (and fees) include a Part I and Part II.
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