The SAAIR has entered into an agreement with the USA based Association of Institutional Research (AIR) that the best paper from the conference would be part sponsored by the AIR to present their paper at the annual conference of the AIR fondly known as the AIR Forum. The AIR Forum is the largest global gathering of higher education professionals working in institutional research, planning, and related higher education fields and takes place every year.
The SAAIR EXCO used evaluations by participants, the blind -comments and points by the reviewers for paper acceptance to select the top five papers. Evaluations/inputs by chairs of sessions (wherever possible on the top five) were also used. So after a number of deliberations by the EXCO on the selection of the best paper 2021, and in view of the fact that 3 of the papers had some of the EXCO members as co-authors, the EXCO decided to engage an external panel of experts in Higher Education and IR field in particular to select the best paper. The external panel was made of four external members and coordinated by one member of the SAAIR EXCO. The panel was presented with the top five papers as identified by the EXCO. The papers were blinded in every possible way- no names of authors, institutions or any other information that would give away the identity of authors or the institutions they were affiliated with. The paper that emerged victorious was that of Ashton Maherry, Koo Parker and Nicky Muller: DUT, Knowing, Doing and Transforming Framework: Building institutional capacity towards a data informed culture for student success at Durban University of Technology.
The SAAIR wishes the team well as they prepare to jet off to Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States of America. This conference includes more than 300 presentations by practitioners and thought leaders in lieu of all sectors of higher education highlighting the latest implements and resources to support data use for decision making in the sector.