Malcolm Rees, Manager of the Student Survey and Evaluation Unit, Massey University, recently received the 2018 AAIR Institutional Research Award at the Australian Association of Institutional Research (AAIR) conference in Melbourne. Mr. Rees’ presentation focused on the benefits of using qualitative research particularly in the field of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL).

AAIR is the professional association for institutional research practitioners in higher education in Australasia. ‘Institutional research’ is viewed as a range of activities involving the collection, analysis and interpretation of information descriptive of an institution and its activities, including its students and staff, programs, management and operations. The findings of such ‘institutional research’ assist institutional leaders (in both academic and administrative domains) by informing their planning and decision-making.

Malcolm has previously played an important role on the AAIR committee and was recognised for this earlier in the year by their president. “Malcolm has made a strong contribution to AAIR over the years by making presentations and organising AAIR events. His contribution added a different perspective from his work-related roles in student surveys and evaluation, and he also added a stronger New Zealand viewpoint to what was being discussed.

Part of Malcolm’s presentation focused on a recent Ako Aotearoa funded project on WIL in conjunction with Professor Andy Martin. Dr Martin highlighted that “Malcolm’s work in analysing the large amount of interview data, using NVivo, has made a significant contribution in developing themes that have contributed to WIL resources such asA Template for Good Practice’ and ‘the Added Value of WIL’.” A current project is also focusing on WIL supervisor perspectives who have also been WIL students.

Malcolm’s prize will enable him to attend the International Association’s annual conference, the AIR Forum held in Denver next May, which is the world’s largest gathering of higher education professionals working in institutional research, effectiveness, assessment, planning, and related post-secondary education fields. This four-day conference includes more than 300 presentations by colleagues representing all sectors of higher education.