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Pre-conference workshops

Pre-conference Workshops &

Special IPEDS/AIR Workshop Offerings

For your professional development, NEAIR offers the following 17 workshops in addition to an IPEDS workshop.  Half day workshops cost $85; full day workshops cost $160, and Newcomers cost $120.  The special IPEDS/AIR Workshop requires separate registration through AIR and is offered free of charge to participants - see instructions in workshop listing below.

Saturday, November 8, Afternoon Sessions, 1:00 – 4:00

Newcomers to Institutional Research, Part I (Part II on Sunday morning)

Terra Schehr, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research & Effectiveness, Loyola University Maryland

Jessica Shedd, Assistant Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives - The University of Texas System

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 workshop will be taught by persons with experience in public and private higher education institutions and in national education policy.

Career Management and Leadership in IR

Mitchell Nesler, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Decision Support, SUNY Empire State College

This workshop is designed to assist those mid-career professionals in IR consider career management and leadership issues in a highly interactive format. Various types of critical skills and experiences will be discussed. Participants will consider a series of issues associated with managing their careers in institutional research including the KSA’s needed to move ahead. Topics covered will include sources for ongoing professional development, IR knowledge skills and abilities necessary for success, managing people and budgets, public speaking, and balanced work/family life. The intended outcomes include a more thoughtful and planned approach to career management.

Prerequisite: 5 or more years of IR experience

 Course Evaluation Automation with Microsoft Excel

Nathan Rush, Research Analyst, Becker College

Paul Prewitt-Freilino, Director of Institutional Research, Wheaton College

This workshop will demonstrate the use of formulas, cell references, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to automate the creation and distribution of course evaluation summaries with Microsoft Excel. With raw data from Qualtrics and other survey software, participants will create references and formulas to populate question averages and individualized graphs, as well as write VBA to save evaluations as PDFs and distribute them as attachments via Microsoft Outlook to instructors. Limited enrollment will allow ample time for discussion and experimentation. Intended outcomes include understanding the use of VBA for automating tasks; troubleshooting broken code and formula errors; and adapting automation to other IR-related projects.

Laptop with Microsoft Excel (Windows, any version; Mac , Office 2004, Excel 11.0 or Office 2011, Excel 14.0) and Adobe Reader (or another utility to open PDF files) is required.
Prerequisite: Good working knowledge of Excel and basic understanding of or interest in VBA, as well as an understanding of the capabilities of their institution’s course evaluation or general survey software, if applicable.

 Excel Dashboards from Unit Record Data using Power Pivot

Craig Abbey, Director of Institutional Analysis, University at Buffalo

In this workshop you will learn how to create dashboards in Excel using PowerPivot and unit record data.  Using example student, applicant and HR datasets, you’ll learn how to connect to different data sources, create calculated columns, calculated fields and hierarchies as well as how to create customizable key performance indicators.  Using slicers and filters, you’ll learn how to create custom and interactive views of your data with graphs and tables.  Layout and design, important considerations in any dashboard, will also be covered.  Whether you’re looking to create operational, tactical or strategic dashboards, you’ll learn the skills you need to get started in this workshop.  

Laptop with Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013 Professional Plus or Office 365 ProPlus with "Power Pivot" downloaded, installed, and activated.  Familiarity with basic formulas and graphs in Excel is recommended.


Introduction to Business Intelligence and Analytics in Institutional Research

Thulasi Kumar, Assistant Vice Provost, Institutional Research and Effectiveness, University of Connecticut

In spite of the increasing popularity of business intelligence (BI), the term means different things to different people. This workshop will provide an introduction to the basic foundations of business intelligence, decision support, and predictive analytics in IR from a non-technical, end-user perspective. Topics covered include BI tools (Ex: COGNOS, OBIEE, SAS BI), dashboards, scorecards, predictive and visual analytics (Ex: SPSS, SAS Enterprise Miner and Visual Analytics).


Environmental Scanning to Improve Strategic Planning

Joel Lapin, Professor Emeritus, The Community College of Baltimore County

This workshop will develop the knowledge and skills of participants to successfully organize and implement an environmental scanning and strategic planning activity. To achieve this goal the workshop will use research and practice to distinguish between strategic planning and other types of planning; identify important external trends in eight environmental change (taxonomy) areas; provide case studies of successful strategic plans and processes based on external environmental scanning trends; include a simulated small group scanning team exercise; and provide materials to organize and operate this activity at your institution.

Sunday, November 9, Morning Sessions, 9:00 – 12:00

Continued - Newcomers to Institutional Research, Part II (Part I on Saturday afternoon)

Terra Schehr, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research & Effectiveness, Loyola University Maryland

Jessica Shedd, Assistant Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives - The University of Texas System

Delaware Study: Best Practices for Data and Visualization - Part I (Part II on Sunday afternoon)

John Barnshaw, Director - Higher Education Consortia, University of Delaware

The National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity (Delaware Cost Study) the “tool of choice” for comparative analysis of faculty teaching loads, direct instructional costs, and separately budgeted scholarly activity, all within academic disciplines. Currently, the Delaware Cost Study is at an all-time high with institutional participation and continues to grow each year.

Utilizing data from the Delaware Cost Study, this workshop explores strategies and tactics for (1) integrating data systems, (2) facilitating unit and institutional improvement through benchmarking activities and (3) implementing an integrated approach to planning, which offers several key advantages over traditional systems planning.

Laptop required.


Predictive Analytics: Building Workflows for IR Offices - Part I (Part II Sunday afternoon)

Paul Prewitt-Freilino, Director of Institutional Research, Wheaton College

Nathan Rush, Research Analyst, Becker College

Few institutional research professionals have extensive experience with predictive analytics or other data mining techniques. This session presents a general framework for conceptualizing a predictive analytic project that participants can apply to their own institutional environments. Utilizing KNIME (open source predictive modeling software), participants will construct their own workflows to extract data, prepare data, and build predictive models within a graphical interface (no code is required). Hands-on applications will focus on key opportunities for institutional research to construct predictive models to support student recruitment and student success using a mock data set.

Laptop with Desktop Version of KNIME (free download) required
Prerequisite: Experience working with large data sets

Assessing General Education Outcomes

Fred Volkwein, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University

Betty Harper, IR Associate, Penn 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 at both the course and program levels, identify the Gen Ed Outcomes recommended by the AAC&U, discuss Gen Ed assessment methods, measures, and instruments.


Focus Group Design and Implementation in IR and Assessment

Laura Ariovich, Research and Planning Analyst, Prince George's Community College

The purpose of this workshop is to provide training on how to conduct effective focus groups in the IR and assessment fields. Workshop participants will reflect on conceptual and methodological issues related to research design, including which IR and assessment questions would be best answered through focus group research, how many focus groups are needed, and how to select and recruit focus groups participants. In addition, workshop participants will practice how to formulate appropriate focus group interview questions and how to moderate an effective focus group in a higher education setting. Workshop participants will apply the conceptual and methodological tools introduced by the instructor in hands-on, small group activities.


IR Support of Program Review Efforts

David Hemenway, Director, Institutional Research, Assessment & Compliance, Mitchell College

This session will discuss how IR can support academic, administrative and student life program review efforts. We will discuss the data/information needs of the review process, the different approaches to formalizing the program review process and integrating it into an institution's governance, planning and budgeting processes.


Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner

Thulasi Kumar, Assistant Vice Provost, Institutional Research and Effectiveness, University of Connecticut

Tom Bohannon (SAS)

This workshop covers the skills required to assemble analysis flow diagrams using the rich tool set of SAS Enterprise Miner for predictive modeling (decision tree, regression, and neural network models). The workshop will cover the following:

·  define a SAS Enterprise Miner project and explore data graphically

·  modify data for better analysis results

·  build and understand predictive models such as decision trees and regression models

·  compare and explain complex models

·  generate and use score code


Laptop required

Sunday, November 9, Afternoon Sessions, 1:00 – 4:00

Continued - Delaware Study: Best Practices for Data and Visualization  - Part II (Part I Sunday morning)

John Barnshaw, Director - Higher Education Consortia, University of Delaware


Continued - Predictive Analytics: Building Workflows for IR Offices - Part II (Part I Sunday morning)

Paul Prewitt-Freilino, Director of Institutional Research, Wheaton College

Nathan Rush, Research Analyst, Becker College


#Assessitall: Student Learning & Institutional Effectiveness

Jodi Levine Laufgraben, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Assessment & Institutional Research, Temple University 

The commitment to continuous improvement requires campuses to assess it all! But assessment of student learning is often seen as separate from assessment of institutional effectiveness. In this workshop participants will discuss benefits and strategies for connecting assessment of student learning with assessment of institutional effectiveness. There will be examples and hands-on activities throughout the workshop with a particular focus on using assessment results for continuous improvement, planning and decision making. Throughout the session participants will discuss the role institutional research can play in integrating or coordinating campus-wide assessment efforts.


Dueling Pivot Tables: Compare Survey Data from 2 Populations

Michael Johnson, Director, Institutional Research, Dickinson College

Create a tool in MS Excel to graphically present side-by-side quantitative comparison of survey data from two distinct groups of interest. This tool helps to focus on statistically significant differences in the mean response (or proportions) as well as effect size. Other features include “sliders” and “dynamic labels” that provide warnings if sample size is small and the ability for users to select confidence levels. Bring your own survey data or use the sample data set provided.

Laptop required: Yes, with Microsoft Excel 2010 or 2013. 
Prerequisite: Be familiar with entering formulas and creating simple charts in Microsoft Excel.  Basic understanding of hypothesis testing, descriptive statistics and analysis of survey results.


Introduction to Statistics using SPSS

Jessica Sharkness, Associate Director, Office of Institutional Research & Evaluation, Tufts University

This workshop will develop participants’ basic understanding of statistics and of SPSS. Participants will learn the conceptual underpinnings of many common descriptive and multivariate analyses and will also learn to conduct these analyses in SPSS and interpret the results. Participants will learn how to produce and apply measures of central tendency, variance, and outliers; confidence intervals, frequency distributions and cross tabulations; tests of group differences (i.e., t-tests, ANOVA); correlation; and regression. Emphasis will be placed on how to interpret output and communicate results, as well as on statistical versus substantive significance. Participants will perform statistical operations with SPSS using student survey data.

Laptop with tested and functioning copy of SPSS (either their own copy or a trial version downloaded from the SPSS website) required

Qualitative Analysis: What to Do with Comments

Carol Trosset, Director of Enrollment Research, Bennington College

This workshop is intended for IR practitioners who want to improve their skills in collecting, analyzing, and reporting on qualitative data from surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Participants will learn about issues involved in qualitative analysis and will observe and practice some basic techniques. The instructor will lecture on the nature of qualitative data and the goals and challenges of qualitative analysis, will demonstrate basic methods and the resulting analyses and reports, and will direct participants in analytical exercises to practice the techniques and discuss related issues. No special prior skills are needed. Handouts will include the data to be used in the exercises.


Survey Research: Best Practices for Institutional Research

Lauren Conoscenti, Research Analyst, Tufts University

Katia Miller, Research Analyst, Tufts University

This workshop is designed to help newcomers to IR or those who have had minimal exposure to survey research get acquainted with the best practices in survey research methods. Participants will learn how to plan, design, and manage effective print and electronic surveys in a college or university environment. Critical decision points along the lifespan of the survey will be discussed, including how to choose a sample, how to maximize response rates, and what to do with incomplete surveys. The workshop will also demonstrate how to implement techniques using an online survey platform. Upon completion, participants will be ableto approach survey projects equipped with strategies to gather meaningful data for their institution using surveys.

recommended, but not required.  Qualtrics account recommended, but not required.

Special Opportunity!

Saturday, November 8, 8:30am – 4:30pm

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) and the North East Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR) are co-hosting a one-day IPEDS Workshop for IPEDS Keyholders* in conjunction with the 41st NEAIR Annual Conference. Financial support for this workshop is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  This six hours of instruction (demonstrations, discussions, PowerPoint presentations, and hands-on computer based training exercises) divided into two 3 hour segments is provided at no charge to participants.

Workshop Content Description

The Best Practices for Reporting and Using IPEDS Data to Improve Office Efficiencies Workshop is designed for individuals who lead the IPEDS data submission cycle on their campus and have done so for at least one full reporting cycle. Using IPEDS as a focus, participants will:

-Learn IR best practices and technical efficiencies in data management through Excel (e.g., pivot tables, merging data, custom formulas, and filters);

-Examine multiple options for IPEDS submission (manual entry, .csv file upload, and XML);

-Learn how to use benchmarking data to address key institutional questions and needs.

Participants should have experience using the IPEDS Data Center to retrieve data and a working knowledge of Excel (e.g., how to create basic formulas and sort data). This workshop will not review IPEDS survey component submission instructions nor cover basic benchmarking concepts (though intermediate topics are covered).


Note: Participants are required to bring a MAC or PC laptop with wireless capability and Microsoft Excel.

IPEDS Workshop Online Registration

This workshop is limited to 45 participants and workshop seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Seat confirmations are delivered via email on a rolling basis approximately 3 business days after an online seat registration is submitted. For additional information and to request a seat, please visit

Questions? Email:, or phone:  850-385-4155 x202

*Note: This Workshop curriculum is intended for both officially designated IPEDS Keyholders as well as individuals that serve in a secondary (proxy Keyholder) role assisting the official IPEDS Keyholder in the data collection/entry process.




1.  Workshops seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited.

2.  Please register for workshops early to assist in planning.

3.  Questions about workshop content and software requirements will be directed to the presenter(s).

4.  Participants must bring their own laptop if indicated in workshop description.

5.  Conference organizers reserve the right to cancel any workshop.


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NEAIR Calendar

11/12/2016 » 11/15/2016
43rd Annual Conference Baltimore Inner Harbor