2024 TAIR Pre-Conference Workshops

W1 – IPEDS – Benchmarking: Supporting Decision Making and Institutional Effectiveness

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 – 8:45am – 12:00pm

This workshop introduces the fundamentals of benchmarking as a way to demonstrate institutional effectiveness. It is designed for individuals with little to no experience in benchmarking studies. Participants use data from the IPEDS Surveys, Data Feedback Reports, and the “Use the Data” center at the NCES website to learn about the types of comparison groups that can be constructed. Exercises demonstrate establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs) and identification of variables to refine comparison groups.

Cost: FREE

Presenter: Association for Institutional Researchers

Level: Beginner

Track: Reporting Knowledge and Skills



W2 – IPEDS Data Tools

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 – 1:00pm – 4:15pm

This workshop provides a hands-on deep dive into the IPEDS Use the Data website to better determine which of the various tools to use in applied higher education research. Participants can expect to learn when to use Data Trends, Statistical Tables, Summary Tables, Compare Institutions, and Custom Data Downloads leading to increased efficiency in responding to data requests. We will explore each of these tools and the benefits and limitations of each.

Cost: FREE

Presenter: Association for Institutional Researchers

Level: Beginner

Track: Reporting Knowledge and Skills



W3 – An Introduction to Python

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 – 1:00pm – 4:15pm

This workshop is designed for college institutional researchers looking to dive into Python programming. Attendees will get a beginner-friendly introduction to Python, covering its basics and practical applications in data analysis. The session focuses on Python’s syntax, data structures, and functions, emphasizing their relevance in handling and analyzing complex datasets. Through hands-on exercises, participants will learn how Python can streamline tasks, perform statistical analysis, and automate processes. Real-world examples tailored to institutional research contexts will be highlighted, enabling attendees to apply Python’s capabilities directly to their work. This workshop aims to equip researchers with foundational Python skills, empowering them to enhance their data analysis techniques and streamline research methodologies.

Topics include:

·        Why Python?

·        Virtual Environment Setup using Anaconda (or miniconda)

·        Package installation

·        Jupyter Notebook

·        Python basics

·        Syntax

·        Data structures

·        Functions

·        Classes

·        Misc. tips

·        Open-Source Packages

·        Pandas

·        SciPy

·        Scikit-learn

·        Matplotlib

·        Seaborn

·        Case Studies

The workshop format will be a presentation with encouraged attendee participation

By the end of the workshop attendees will:

·        Determine whether Python suits their needs as a department

·        Learn about the anaconda distribution

·        Learn about and how to install useful open source packages

·        Learn about base Python features

·        See use cases specific to institutional research

·        Be provided with a list of resources for further exploration

Cost: $75

Presenter: Matthew Wolfe – Tarrant County College

Level:  Beginner

Track: Collect, Analyze, Interpret & Report



W4 – Employing qualitative methods to enhance storytelling with data and prioritize student voice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 – 1:00pm – 4:15pm

This workshop provides hands-on training with several qualitative methods to enhance data collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting for student success. Participants will practice interview and focus group techniques as well as more innovative qualitative methods such as the use of charettes and participatory engagement with students or other stakeholders to support better storytelling. Processes such as IRB approval and challenges with recruitment as well as issues of generalizability will also be discussed.

The first hour will provide hands-on training with interview, focus group, charettes, and other participatory engagement methods including assessment to determine what tools or techniques to prioritize. In the second hour we will analyze and interpret the data collected from our previous practice and produce a report. In the last hour we will discuss applications for future research and address potential issues including IRB approval, recruitment of participants, and generalizability. Throughout we will have opportunities for questions and considerations of meaningful student participation in institutional research to inform and promote student success.

Attendees will:

  • Demonstrate qualitative data collection techniques for interviews, focus groups, charettes, and other student engagement methodologies.
  • Translate these data into insights through analysis and interpretation of qualitative data.
  • Develop a plan to engage these techniques in future research at their institution with an awareness of potential challenges in implementation.

 Cost: $60

Presenter: Amber Raley – Dallas College

Level: Beginner

Track: Collect, Analyze, Interpret & Report



W5 – Newcomers to Institutional Research

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 – 8:30am – 11:45am

The TAIR Newcomer’s Workshop is a half-day session focusing on resources that are available to institutional researchers and more specifically members of TAIR. The workshop will explore how IR offices and the roles within them are both similar and different across various types of institutions. This presentation will cover the benefits of TAIR membership including the Listserv, Summer Workshops, TAIR conference, and Certificate Program. Let this be the beginning of your networking experience with other IR professionals.

Cost: $60

Presenters: Marc Turner – Texas State University and David Brown – Tyler Junior College

Track: Newcomers



W6 – SQL 101: A Hands-on Introduction for Institutional Researchers

March 27, 2024 – 8:30am – 11:45am

This session will teach you the basics of SQL, a programming language used with relational databases. You will learn how to retrieve and filter data, join tables together, as well as use aggregate functions and case statements. By the end of this session, you will have a basic understanding in SQL.

This session does not provide information on available software or systems that utilize SQL, but only covers the programming language.

Sample data and code will be provided so that attendees can follow along using http://sqlfiddle.com/.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Comment on code to make it more readable
  • Retrieve data using the SELECT and FROM statements
  • Filter data using the WHERE clause and other operators
  • Insert, update, and delete data using the INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements
  • Join tables from different databases
  • Use case statements
  • Order data using the ORDER BY clause
  • Use aggregate functions to summarize data
  • Filter aggregated data using the HAVING clause

Cost: $75

Presenter: Emily Rhodes – UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Level: Beginner

Track: Data Analysis Tools and Methods



W7 – A work-around for assessment data collection with a limited budget

March 27, 2024 – 8:30am – 11:45am

In this session, you will be able to follow the work-around process we use instead of an off-the-shelf “assessment” software. In this process, we collect, manipulate, and report assessment data using tools that most organizations already possess, such as Microsoft SharePoint Sites, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and SAS (or your choice of statistical software).

By the end of the workshop attendees will:

*You will learn about an application for Site SharePoint Sites

*You will learn how a Word document can be customized to allow you to extract the data entered in many forms into one single spreadsheet using a macro in Excel.

*You will see how SAS can be used to import the collected data and create a cumulative Trend report.

Cost: $60

Presenter: Carolina Sheeder – Texas Women’s University

Level: Intermediate

Track: Reporting Knowledge and Skills



W8 – Predictive Analytics in Higher Education within a Socially Conscious Framework

March 27, 2024 – 8:30am – 11:45am

As technology advances and machine learning becomes more salient, great consideration must be taken when applying these methodologies to institutional research in higher education. Due to the inherent bias that takes place with predictive models, awareness of the possible issues that may arise with certain methods is instrumental to ensure a socially conscious framework. This presentation will discuss: the ethical considerations that should be taken when trying to use predictive models, working with stakeholders to ensure clarity, presenting to stakeholders in concise and understandable ways, the pros-and-cons of different kinds of predictive methodologies and choosing the right one for your needs, and resources and software available. There will be availability for discussion.

The three-hour workshop split into two main parts: framing and planning a predictive model, and possible methodologies.

·        The first half of the workshop will focus on ethical considerations and stakeholders. Due to the inherent bias of various methods, certain steps must be taken to try to alleviate some of that bias and ensure social consciousness. We will also discuss presenting these complex analytics to stakeholders in a clear and concise manner, and how to work with requesters to ensure the best possible model.

·        The second half of the workshop will present and compare various methods available for predictive analytics at various levels of complexity, and possible software and resources to run a model. Discussion of possible models and what they’d look like will take place.

Attendees will be able to:

·        Be conscious and aware of ethical and methodological considerations that come with predictive analytics and machine learning.

·        Know about different kinds of methods that can be used to develop predictive analytics while being conscious of ethical frameworks.

·        Be aware of nuances in data and recognize patterns within the population as well as typical patterns within these groups to build a better model.

Cost: $75

Presenter: Jacqueline Lucero – Alamo College District & Zhi Zhang – Alamo College District

Level: Intermediate

Track: Current Issues

W9 – Leveraging ChatGPT for IR: Techniques for Data Mastery and Reporting Excellences

March 27, 2024 – 9:30am – 11:45am

This two-hour workshop will provide a unique opportunity for Institutional Research professionals to delve into the practical applications of ChatGPT and Claude across various coding domains. Participants will gain hands-on experience in utilizing ChatGPT for generating Python codes, R codes, Excel formulas, SQL queries, SAS codes, and similar tasks, ultimately enhancing their data manipulation and modeling proficiency and efficiency. In this workshop, we will explore innovative methods and strategies for utilizing ChatGPT in the realm of Institutional Research, specifically tailored for data cleaning, integration, visualization, and reporting.

Requirements: This is a hands-on workshop and each participant is required to bring their own laptop.

Basic familiarity with coding concepts in Python, R, Excel, SQL, or SAS is recommended, but the workshop is designed to accommodate participants with varying levels of data manipulation and reporting expertise.

Cost: $60

Presenter: Mahdi Ahmadi, PhD – University of North Texas

Level: All Levels

Track: Reporting Knowledge and Skills