What does it take to transform a social network to a vibrant professional organization? The OCAIR spirit! It is twenty-two years of engagement, wisdom, devotion, voluntary service, self-governance, and mutual support for professional growth on the part of all OCAIR members! It was a great honor and privilege for me to serve as the 2017-18 Chair of OCAIR. As I reflect on what OCAIR achieved last year, I am humbled and grateful for the talent, expertise, and dedication of the 2017-18 Steering Committee and volunteers, which included the following members:
• Dai Li, Chair Elect
• Xiaoyan Liu, Member at Large
• Meiling Tang, Treasurer
• Longfei (Eric) Wang, Editor of OCAIR Newsletter
• Dangtong (Amy) Yang, Website and Listserv Support
• Eric Yang, Immediate Past Chair
• Chunmei Yao, Member at Large 2016-17 and Chief Editor of OCAIR Newsletter
• Hongmei Zhu, Coordinator
We started the year by conducting a professional development survey to understand the profile of our members and their preferences for communication and OCAIR activities. Of the respondents, 15% had less than 3 years of experience in institutional research or a related field, 29% had 3-6 years, 14% had worked for 7-10 years, and the remaining 42% had more than ten years of experience. Over 40% of the respondents served in analyst/associate/specialist positions; 19% carried an assistant or associate director title, 27% directed IR offices, and the remaining 12% were in senior leadership positions. This profile not only reflects the achievements of our members, but also depicts a career path for younger professionals. The survey results significantly influenced the format of 2017-18 OCAIR professional activities and the selection of discussion topics.
I would like to complement the contribution of our members to OCAIR. We all benefited from the webinars delivered by Faxian Yang, Chunmei Yao, Yang Zhang, and Sinji Yang. In OCAIR special sessions at the 2018 AIR annual forum, we learned from the experiences and practices shared by Lan Gao, Henry Zheng, Timothy Chow, Faxian Yang, Chunmei Yao, as well as our colleagues from Taiwan AIR: Hawjeng Chiou, Po-Lin Chen, and I-Hui Lin. Most of all, I am deeply touched by the generosity and trust of our members who donated to OCAIR’s first open fund-raising for professional development.
Membership support allowed us to expand our Travel Grant program significantly. The 2018 Best Presentation award was presented to Chunmei Yao for her research titled Factors Related to Student Retention & Success: A Study of FTFT First-Generation Students at UNC Pembroke; Yang Zhang was the winner of the Best Practice award for her presentation titled Early Alert System in a Quantitative Way; and Hanyan Wang was awarded our inaugural Young Professional Travel Grant, which targets young professionals with less than 5 years of experience in institutional research.
At the 2018 AIR Forum, I handed over the Gravel, the symbol of OCAIR leadership, to Dai Li with full trust and confidence. She is surrounded by a group of energetic, creative, and dedicated people, and together they will elevate OCAIR to a higher level. Meanwhile, I would like to challenge OCAIR members to showcase your research and best practices via OCAIR webinars; sustain the fund-raising effort and improve the Travel Grant program; build your network and develop your leadership through your service to OCAIR; and embrace diversity and inclusiveness because OCAIR is NOT defined by one geographic location, one language, or one cultural heritage.
GO OCAIR, GO!
Chair, OCAIR 2017-2018