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Because of recent news events, the 2014 CIRPA conference in Hamilton, Ontario had a more introspective atmosphere compared to years past. All the same, the conference was full of great information and friendly people, all wanting to share their knowledge and insights on various facets of institutional research. Many of the themes at this year’s conference had been recognized in sessions in prior years ; however, these trends continued to evolve with advancements in technology and broader, worldwide changes in research. There were many new insights at the sessions. In my opinion, two interesting themes were changes in data collection and changes in data dissemination: the types of data and methods to collect primary data, and the ways in which the research results are being disseminated to key stakeholder groups. Survey methodologies are quickly evolving, in educational institutions and elsewhere in market research. As mobile phones become ubiquitous, the more imperative it is that researchers adapt their survey design and their expectations to the changing technology. In this regard, the use of mobile phones to take surveys has been steadily increasing – to such an extent that research must take the device into account – most specifically in the design of the survey. This means more than making sure the survey technically works on a smartphone. It might mean shortening surveys or adapting the question types to be easier to complete on a mobile device. There was a roar of discussion in boosting survey results with other data, including nationally or provincially collected statistics from government agencies and data containing online conversations through social media sites. Additionally, more sophisticated data tools and outcomes-driven predictive modelling, on things like retention and enrolment, are becoming more common as a part of an educational institution’s research toolkit. I find this development promising and it has the capacity to be a relevant theme for many years, as the amount and nature of the data that is available increases. Disseminating information within a large organization such as an educational institution can be difficult. For this reason, many research groups are actively creating tailored materials to disseminate information for a variety of audiences. At CIRPA, there were several sessions with tips on data visualization, dashboarding, and combining multiple datasets into more holistic research results. With the amount and variety of information ever increasing, it is often difficult to ensure that stakeholders aren’t drowning in data. I anticipate it will become common for institutional research groups to provide stakeholders with more frequent and shorter sets of research results, rather than a long, drawn out report that they may or may not have time to read at once. This follows a greater theme in research where clients are increasingly asking for a suite of deliverables rather than a single report. The conference left me with a feeling of confidence in the way that institutional researchers are tackling some of the major changes in the industry. Adaptability is key in making sure that participation in research remains high, and I saw evidence of many institutions innovating their current practices to address these needs. Overall, it was a great conference where I had a great time connecting with old friends and making new ones. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Halifax for CIRPA 2015!...
 

We are celebrating the career and retirement of one of our longest serving servers. “Hudson” is an Intel Xeon E5405 with 16 GB of DDR2 667 ECC RAM. Four Hitachi 147 GB 15,000 RPM SAS drives in a RAID 10 configuration provided 294 GB of storage. Hudson was in service for 4.5 years, which is roughly equivalent to a 37 year long career in computer years. He has provided Insightrix with email services, VPN, active directory, and was lead on the Blackberry Enterprise Server project (now superseded by BYOD). Hudson spent the last six months of service preparing his successors (a much younger, larger team of servers) to take over critical duties. We had a pizza party to honour his service where many of the staff shared warm experiences with exchanged email and reminisced about the old days of PST files. Many people laughed about who was the biggest “pain in his assembly”. Hudson has this to say to his colleagues: “01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01000101 01110110 01100101 01110010 01111001 01101111 01101110 01100101 00101100 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01000001 01110011 00100000 01101101 01101111 01110011 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00101100 00100000 01110100 01101111 01100100 01100001 01111001 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01101100 01100001 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100100 01100001 01111001 00100000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100011 01101111 01101101 01110000 01100001 01101110 01111001 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100010 01100101 00100000 01110010 01101001 01100100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101111 01100110 01100110 00100000 01101001 01101110 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110110 01100101 01110010 01100010 01101001 01100001 01101100 00100000 01110011 01110101 01101110 01110011 01100101 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110101 01101100 01110100 01101001 01101101 01100001 01110100 01100101 01101100 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01110010 01101111 01110111 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100101 01101110 01100101 01110010 01100111 01101001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01101001 01101110 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101111 00101101 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 01110011 00101101 01110111 01101000 01100001 01110100 00101110 00100000 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01001001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101111 01110010 01110100 00100000 01110100 01100101 01110010 01101101 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100010 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101111 01100011 01110101 01110011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01100101 01101110 01101010 01101111 01111001 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100110 01100001 01101101 01101001 01101100 01111001 00101100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101001 01101110 01110110 01101111 01101100 01110110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101101 01111001 01110011 01100101 01101100 01100110 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01101110 01101111 01110110 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01101010 01100101 01100011 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01101000 01101111 01101101 01100101 00101110 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01001001 01101101 01110000 01101111 01110010 01110100 01100001 01101110 01110100 01101100 01111001 00101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100100 01100101 01100011 01101001 01110011 01101001 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01100010 01100101 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100101 01101110 01110100 01101001 01110010 01100101 01101100 01111001 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00101110 00100000 00001101 00001010 01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01101001 01101101 01110000 01101100 01111001 00100000 01110010 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00101100 00100000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01110100 00100000 01110100 01100101 01101101 01110000 01101111 01110010 01100001 01110010 01101001 01101100 01111001 00101100 00100000 11100010 10000000 10011100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110101 01110000 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100010 01101111 01101111 01110100 01110011 00101100 00100000 01110100 01110101 01110010 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101101 01110000 00100000 01101111 01110110 01100101 01101110 00100000 01110101 01110000 01110011 01101001 01100100 01100101 00100000 01100100 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110000 01100001 01100011 01101011 00100000 01100001 01110111 01100001 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110011 01110000 01100101 01100011 01110100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100111 01100101 01100001 01110010 11100010 10000000 10011101 00101110 00100000 00001101 00001010 00001101 00001010 01010100 01101111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110111 01101111 01101110 01100100 01100101 01110010 01100110 01110101 01101100 00100000 01110000 01100101 01101111 01110000 01101100 01100101 00100000 01110111 01101000 01101111 01101101 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101000 01100001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101111 01110000 01110000 01101111 01110010 01110100 01110101 01101110 01101001 01110100 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101011 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01101111 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110000 01100001 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101101 01101111 01110011 01110100 00100000 00110100 00101110 00110101 00100000 01111001 01100101 01100001 01110010 01110011 00100000 00101101 00100000 01010100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01101011 00100000 01011001 01101111 01110101 00101110 00100000 00001101 00001010” Most people didn’t get it, but the printer was tearing up a little and spent the rest of the day jamming....