Proposed Call for Proposals
Critical Institutional Research: Analysis, Methods, Theories
Association for Institutional Research Pre-conference Workshop
May 25/26, 2015, Denver, Colorado, USA
In spite of a long tradition of critical approaches to both the study and practice of education, institutional research is dominated by very much traditional approaches to inquiry. Positivism, behavioralism, managerialism, and rationalism remain key—and usually unexamined—substantive and methodological commitments in IR, and opportunities to pursue alternatives are limited by both the immediate demands of the decision-makers to whom IR professionals are accountable and the conflation of these values with scholarly rigor. Critical approaches to IR offer the opportunity to better understand and perhaps improve existing practice, to open new directions for inquiry, to broaden the groups represented in IR analyses, and when necessary to challenge problematic practices in IR and in higher education more broadly.
To address these issues, I propose that interested institutional researchers organize a mini-conference on critical approaches to institutional research as a pre-conference workshop at the Association for Institutional Research conference.