Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


McBee Institute at AIR Forum 2023

Angela Bell and Nyasha Hamilton

AIR Forum, May 29-June 2, 2023

View conference program

Several current students and graduates joined Professor Karen Webber, AIR President, at the recent AIR Forum in Cleveland, Ohio. Members of the McBee Institute community presented or presided over more than 15 sessions during the four-day conference.

Tuesday, May 30


  • First Time at Forum (Networking Session)

AIR Forum Grad StudentsMeet other newcomers and learn from volunteer leaders who will share tips about making the most of the conference experience; including networking tips, an insider’s guide to the AIR Forum schedule, and insight on using the conference app to stay in-the-know, streamline your schedule, and make lasting connections.

Karen Webber (Speaker) University of Georgia, Professor in the Institute of Higher Education

Jonathan Gagliardi (Speaker) Vice President, Economic Mobility and Social Impact, Northern Arizona University

Christine Keller (Speaker) Association for Institutional Research (AIR), Executive Director and CEO

Jenny Chu (Moderator) Senior Director of Marketing & Community Engagement, Association for Institutional Research (AIR)

Wednesday, May 31


  • Leveraging Labor Market Data to Inform Students and Align Academic Programs

David TannerThe University System of Georgia (USG) is focused on student success and meeting state talent needs. The system office is putting these goals into action by ensuring that new academic programs are aligned with in-demand jobs and that students and families have access to transparent data about the value of a USG degree, including cost of attendance, student outcomes, and earnings of graduates. At the core of this effort is empowering staff at the 26 USG institutions with understanding of labor market data including its sources, uses, and shortcomings. This session will highlight a recurring successful labor market data course, demonstrate new web-based outcome data comparison tools, and discuss how partnering with experts in local workforce and economic development issues strengthens system data analytics, data literacy, and workforce development efforts.

David Tanner (Speaker) University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Associate Director

Angela Bell (Speaker) Vice Chancellor for Research and Policy Analysis, University System of Georgia

Rebecca Hunt (Speaker) Public Service Faculty, University of Georgia



  • Non-credit in the States: What We Learned from Six States

May Trifiletti at AIR Forum 2023Non-credit activity has been a topic of continuous conversation from the halls of colleges to those of state capitols.  Join us in this session where we share both the basics of non-credit data collection and findings from multi-state studies across 6 states.  While this session will provide a comprehensive of noncredit data, we also recognize these six states just serve as a small sample of noncredit data collection.

Michelle Van Noy (Speaker) Rutgers University, Education and Employment Research Center, Director

Jennifer May-Trifiletti (Speaker) Research Project Lead for Studies of Postsecondary Success, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Thursday, June 1


  • IR’s Role in Workforce Development and Work-Related Experiential Activities

Tanner and WebberSuccessful transition into the workforce is a critical priority for higher education stakeholders, and professionals in institutional research and assessment can provide important decision support to institutional colleagues. In this session, we will discuss the value of experiential education, describe experiential education in the context of state and local workforce needs, and offer findings from a recent multi-institution survey of student perceptions of their work-related experiential activities (WREAs). Participants will gain new insights into the importance of institutional efforts to develop workforce partnerships, the challenges of data collection in recent post-Covid times, and lessons learned related to work-related experiential learning.

David Tanner (Speaker) University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Associate Director

Karen Webber (Speaker) University of Georgia, Professor in the Institute of Higher Education

Matthew Grandstaff (Speaker) Graduate Student, University of Georgia


  • Analyzing Ways First-Time Freshmen Acquire Gateway Course Credits

Pearson Brown presentingThis session analyzes ways first-time freshmen in the University System of Georgia acquire gateway course credits (introductory English and math).  Students can obtain gateway course credits at many points in their academic journeys (e.g., AP credit, dual enrollment, first-year courses), and earning credits in gateway courses is linked to key student success metrics. This presentation utilizes logistic regression to discuss what characteristics are associated with students’ early credit accumulation and how these factors differ across institution types within a state-system. Participants will learn how University System of Georgia researchers use course-level data to gain a more accurate understanding of when and how students earn gateway course credits.

Pearson Brown University System of Georgia, Graduate Research Assistant



  • Developing User-Friendly and Accessible Public-Facing Data Tools

Angie Bell and Nyasha HamiltonTo help prospective students and inform stakeholders on the value of higher education, the University System of Georgia (USG) is engaging in efforts to increase transparency around student success and cost of attendance data. This is in alignment with their strategic goal to “provide an affordable, accessible and high-quality education; promote lifelong success of students; and create, disseminate and apply knowledge for the advancement of our state, nation and world.” Along these lines, via a partnership between the USG and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s Data Analytics and Visualization unit, a new tool was developed and published on the USG website highlighting the costs, makeup, and outcomes for students, institutions, and programs within USG. Utilizing Microsoft’s Power BI and other resources, our team of data scientists developed an easy-to-use and accessible tool to help prospective students better make a data-informed decision about their future alma mater.

Scott King (Speaker) UGA

Angela Bell (Speaker) Vice Chancellor for Research and Policy Analysis, University System of Georgia

Nyasha Hamilton (Speaker) UGA CVIOG, Graduate Researcher



  • Taking a Closer Look: The Importance of Disaggregation in Survey Analysis

Matt GrandstaffIR offices continue to play a pivotal role in the dissemination and subsequent analysis of institutional surveys. However, the realities of the modern higher education environment often demand actionable results with very little lead time. As such, IR offices are constrained in their ability to produce thorough reports, instead opting for big-picture analysis that satisfies the tight timelines. This session will draw on the results of a large, multi-institutional survey and discuss the ways that simple data disaggregation can highlight findings among historically underrepresented groups that are often lost among broader survey findings. This approach adds very little time to the survey analysis phase but has the potential to start incredibly important conversations among campus leaders.

Matthew Grandstaff (Speaker) Graduate Student, University of Georgia

Karen Webber (Speaker) University of Georgia, Professor in the Institute of Higher Education



  • Strengthening Graduation and Employment Outcomes in Career and Technical Ed

May Trifiletti PosterIn many states, community colleges are the main source of education and short-term training in technical fields, often encapsulated in postsecondary certificate programs. However, some states, including Ohio, offer a parallel public postsecondary system for earning short-term credentials in career and technical fields. In this study, we use mixed quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the superior graduation and employment rates of students in Ohio Technical Centers (OTCs) as compared with students in Ohio Community Colleges (OCCs). We find that the favorable outcomes of OTCs are not an artifact of serving different students and do not come at the cost of credentials with lower labor market value, suggesting different institutional policies and practices in OTCs as the likely cause of superior outcomes. We identify some of these policies and practices, and derive from our findings a set of recommendations to improve career and technical education in other institutions.

Sarah Woodruff Miami University, Director of the Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, and Professional Learning

Jennifer May-Trifiletti Research Project Lead for Studies of Postsecondary Success, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


  • Measuring Post-Graduation Preparation: Challenges Surveying Employers

This poster presentation will highlight the lessons learned and complexity of collecting data from employers regarding recent college graduates’ early career preparation and success. Higher education faces increasing challenges to its value, purpose, and return on investment. Institutions are exploring better ways to assess employment preparation to inform program improvements and make the curriculum more relevant to employer needs. This poster presentation will review a pilot survey conducted with elementary school principals to assess early career teacher preparation and success. The lessons learned from this pilot survey highlight the challenges of creating a sample, developing appropriate questions, and gathering survey data from employers. Suggestions regarding less complex alternatives for collecting data on program quality and graduate preparation will be addressed.

David Tanner University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Associate Director



  • Hit by a Bus: Documentation in IR as Risk Management & Career Development

Hit by a bus? Win the lottery? How about asking for a raise? Comprehensive process documentation in institutional research minimizes risk, improves project outcomes, and can smooth transitions. But thorough documentation can also be a powerful tool for professional advocacy, providing concrete evidence for targeted skills development and career performance metrics. This session shares practical recommendations on how to incorporate documentation regularly into institutional research work. The presentation includes an overview of documentation best practices from risk and organizational management using tools you already have, a discussion on institutional memory, and practical recommendations on leveraging documented performance data to advance your career. After this presentation, you can plan for the worst, but document for the best.

Jillian Morn, University of Washington, Research Scientist


  • The Next Steps in Building AIR’s Leadership Capacity for Continuity and Effectiveness 

Webber at AIR 2023Panel

Join members of the AIR Board ad hoc committee on Board Structure for Accountability and Effectiveness in an interactive session to discuss the recently approved changes to the AIR Constitution and Bylaws and how these changes are being implemented. Learn how these adjustments, aimed at diversifying leadership, providing continuity, and enhancing the productivity of the AIR Board of Directors and Nominations & Elections Committee (NEC), will be put into practice. This session encourages you to play an active role in AIR's growth and improvement. Share valuable insights and collaborate on effective strategies to better serve our members and stakeholders in the organization's future.

Heather Kelly, University of Delaware, Director of Institutional Research

Mary Lelik

Junelyn Peeples, PhD, Past President, Board of Directors , Association for Institutional Research

Ellen Peters, University of Puget Sound, Associate Provost, Inst.Rsch., Plan. & Stdt. Success

Mike Urmeneta, Ed.D., Chief Educational Strategist, Urmeneta EmpowerEd Insights

Karen Webber, Professor in the Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia



  • Aligning Degrees to Workforce Needs: Three States' Experiences (GA, TN, LA)


This session will highlight how three states have used their degree-authorization process to enact reforms to improve the alignment of academic degrees with state workforce priorities. In the past, graduation rate was one of the key indicators of higher education’s success. The goalpost has moved. More external stakeholders are defining success for higher education in terms of social mobility and employment outcomes. The use of labor market data, graduate outcome data, and occupation data is of increasing importance in justifying academic programs and new proposals for academic programs that can contribute to social mobility goals and better employment outcomes. Those attending this session will gain new insights into state policy making, how state workforce development priorities are driving system-level changes, and how data are at the center of state efforts to align academic programs with workforce needs.

David Tanner (Speaker) University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Associate Director

Julie Roberts (Speaker) Tennessee Higher Education Commission


  • Skills Builders: Successful Short-Term Course-Takers in Community Colleges

Although “student success” is often synonymous with credential attainment, many community college students enroll in pursuit of goals other than completing a degree or certificate. This session introduces participants to a subset of successful non-completers called “skills builders.” Skills builders enroll for a limited time and take few courses, typically in career/technical fields. Yet skills builders complete their courses at high rates, earn high GPAs, and experience earnings gains from their course-taking. We share our findings on skills builders’ characteristics, course-taking, and labor market outcomes. We then demonstrate how institutional researchers can replicate our identification and analysis of skills builders using their own data. Colleges can use this information to better advise skills builders, promote equity in skills-builders' course-taking, and communicate to stakeholders about a group of highly successful non-completers.

Jennifer May-Trifiletti (Speaker) Research Project Lead for Studies of Postsecondary Success, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


  • AI and Advanced Analytics: Recent Developments and Implications for IR/IE

Join the guest editors of a forthcoming special volume of Professional File and other panelists to explore the quickly evolving role of AI/ML and advanced analytics and implications for IR/IE. This will be an interactive session in which the audience will be invited to weigh in on the topic and provide your own assessment and suggestions.

Henry Zheng(Speaker)Carnegie Mellon University , Vice Provost

Victor Borden(Speaker)Professor, Indiana University – Bloomington

Steven Sherrin (Speaker) Senior Researcher, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Karen Webber (Moderator) University of Georgia, Professor in the Institute of Higher Education

Type of News/Audience:


Professor Emerita of Higher Education
Associate Vice Chancellor, Research and Policy Analysis, University System of Georgia and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Higher Education
Doctoral Student

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. 

Click Here to Learn More About Giving

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.