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Bethesda - Pre-Conf Workshops

Pre-conference Workshops



Note: NEAIR membership is required in order to attend a pre-conference workshop; however, conference registration is not required.

Saturday, November 3rd

1:00 – 4:00 pm

Newcomers to Institutional Research, Part I

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 workshop will be taught by persons with experience in public and private higher education institutions and in national education policy. Please note there are two parts to this workshop (Part II is on Sunday morning).

An Introduction to R and LaTeX for IR, Part I (Laptop with R, LaTeX and RStudio software required)

Jason Bryer, Excelsior College

This workshop will provide an overview as well as hands on exercises for using R and LaTeX to perform data analysis and report generation. Participants will learn to perform basic statistical analyses in R and to generate reports with LaTeX in spreadsheet, presentation, and document formats. Please note there are two parts to this workshop (Part II is on Sunday morning). Appropriate for newcomers.

CANCELLED - Preparing for Accreditation: IR Roles and Responsibilities

Rebecca Brodigan, Bowdoin College;

Karen Froslid Jones, American University 

The presenters, an evaluator from Middle States and an evaluator from NEASC, will conduct a workshop on preparing for accreditation. This session will provide an overview of the accreditation process and will focus on the 5th year report and the self-study with a special emphasis on expectations around assessment issues. This workshop will not cover standards for technical or career colleges. Appropriate for Newcomers.

How to Manage a Small (or One-person) Office (Laptop required)

Maren Hess, Saint Vincent College

In an era of "do more with less", IR professionals need to have their A-game of organization, prioritization, and management always accessible. This session offers suggestions and strategies that I have used over the past ten years in a small office to keep focused and structured without becoming overloaded. Participants will need laptops. Appropriate for Newcomers.


Sunday, November 4th

9:00 – 4:00 PM

NCES's Other (non-IPEDS) Postsecondary Studies and Data Tools (Laptop Required) 

Tracy Hunt-White, NCES - National Postsecondary Student Aid Study;

Sarah Crissey, NCES - Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study 

This session will introduce institutional researchers to NCES's postsecondary sample and longitudinal studies (National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study), to inform them of how these data can be used for national benchmarking, and to demonstrate PowerStats, the tool that will make it possible. This session will contain hands-on exercises that address questions pertaining to financial aid, persistence, attainment, and labor market outcomes. A reference handout and supplemental exercises will be provided for additional training.  


CANCELLED - Using Environmental Scanning and Forecasting to Improve Strategic Planning

Joel Lapin, The Community College of Baltimore County

This workshop will differentiate strategic planning from other types, discuss environmental scanning, and provide case studies of external trends and their role in strategic plans. Appropriate for Newcomers.


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

An Introduction to R and LaTeX for Institutional Research, Part II (Continuation from Saturday Afternoon)

Jason Bryer, Excelsior College

Tips and Tricks for Supporting Enrollment Management from the Trenches: A Survival Guide (Laptops with Excel 2010 or 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, 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. Appropriate for Newcomers. 


Facilitating the Strategic Planning Process: An Important Role for IR

James Trainer, Villanova University

Increasingly, colleges and universities are engaging in strategic planning processes. Institutional research can play an important role in supporting and facilitating these efforts. This workshop serves as an introduction to strategic planning in higher education and introduces IR professionals to a number of planning tools and techniques. Appropriate for Newcomers.


Quick and (Not) Dirty Benchmarking with IPEDS (Laptop required)

Craig Abbey, University at Buffalo

This workshop will teach you how to create high quality benchmarking graphs in Excel using IPEDS data. Participants should have basic Excel and web-browser skills. Appropriate for Newcomers.


Taking the Next Step: Career Management in IR

Mitchell Nesler, Empire State College

This workshop is designed to assist IR professionals considering management opportunities by presenting issues in a highly interactive format. Various types of critical skills, career opportunities and necessary experiences will be discussed.

Using Excel Pivot Tables for Strategic Data Management (Laptops with Excel 2010 Required)

Charis Ng, The New School;

Paula Maas, The New School;

Mya Starling, The New School 

Participants will use typical institutional data with Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts in Excel 2010 to subtotal, aggregate, and summarize data by category and sub-category. Suggestions for presenting data and sharing interactive Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts with the campus community will be discussed. Appropriate for Newcomers.

CANCELLED - Public Speaking for Institutional Researchers: Improving Your Delivery

Kelli Parmley, Virginia Commonwealth University

Many people believe that those who are effective at public speaking are born with those skills - not true. There is a theory and practice of public speaking that can actually be learned. Whether you have a fear of public speaking or not, if you want some insight into how to improve your delivery, learn a bit of the theory, and have a "safe" opportunity to practice a few concepts, then this session is for you. This session will highlight some key principles from communication theory; provide participants with templates for organizing content for speaking with three purposes: inform, influence, or entertain; identify several "tips and tricks" related to delivery -- e.g., reducing anxiety, floor command, knowing your audience. The session will be interactive and provide ample opportunities to practice some of these concepts and principles. Appropriate for Newcomers.


1:00 – 4:00 PM

Course Embedded Assessments: Why, When, Where, and How

Cherry Danielson, Carleton College

This session provides concepts and tools for IR staff to understand what it means to embed assessment in courses. Participants will clarify the relationship between course-level and program-level assessment. They will explore ways to implement that relationship and help faculty to discover how existing course work might accomplish that. Appropriate for Newcomers.


Beyond Newcomers: Insights for Continued Professional Growth

Rebecca Brodigan, Bowdoin College;

Elizabeth Clune-Kneuer, St. Mary's College of Maryland;

Gayle Fink, Bowie State University 

Melanie Larson, Lasell College 

This workshop is designed to help practitioners with 2-5 years of IR experience map professional development paths. Topics includes reaching beyond routine tasks, being noticed, building relationships, how institution type and office size affects role, and what to look for in your next role as you develop as a professional. Participants should have a basic foundation in IR and be comfortable with common jargon used in the field. Participants will be asked to take a personally assessment before the workshop to aid in  discussion and their personal goal-setting.

Taking a Look at the Playbook for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

Heather Kelly, University of Delaware

Are your institution's student learning outcomes assessment plans effective and relevant? We will discuss approaches to student learning outcomes assessment that are effective and will meet accreditation standards. The goal of this interactive workshop is to provide tools you can use to promote effective student learning outcomes assessment on your campus. Appropriate for Newcomers.


Using the National Student Clearinghouse - How, When and Why? (Laptop Required)

Michelle Appel, University of Maryland;

John Burczek Dreier, University of Maryland;

Joe Williams, University of Maryland 

Learn how to use National Student Clearinghouse data to answer policy-makers' questions. This interactive workshop will provide a Clearinghouse overview, as well as tips and tricks for running analyses, unduplicating records, and preparing sample reports. Participants should understand data management concepts, such as concatenation, aggregation/unduplication, and file combination/merge.

How Institutional Research Can Maximize its Impact on Improving Student Success

David Hemenway, University of the Pacific

This workshop will focus on ways to maximize institutional resarch data/information and studies to improve student success. Topics to be discussed include: maximizing the use of institutional information/data and survey information; the role of institutional research in administrative, student support and academic program review; and examples of simple studies that have been used to improve student success. Attendees will receive examples of this work and receive reporting templates that will be useful at their institutions. This workshop will offer simple, practical approaches to improving student success using assessment and institutional research strategies. This preconference workshop will be beneficial to new and experienced practitioners working in both small and large offices. Appropriate for Newcomers.

Experienced Practitioners' Colloquium: Practically True Confessions in IR (No Charge)

Michael Dooris, Pennsylvania State University

Mitchell Nesler, Empire State College

Maren Hess, Saint Vincent College

If your IR longevity is somewhere between 'seasoned' and 'antediluvian', please join us for this year's offering of a venerable NEAIR tradition. IR veterans are invited to share experiences from the past year, offer support and advice, and enjoy the camaraderie which gives NEAIR its 'NEAIRiness'.

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



  • Workshops seats are available on a first-come, first-served 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.

Workshop Fees:

- Half day workshops - $85

- Two part and full-day workshops - $160

- Newcomers Workshop - $120

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