Structured Conversations

Structured Conversations

In an effort to provide ongoing professional development opportunities for SAAL members, the Professional Development Committee hosts Structured Conversations. Structured Conversations are monthly interactive assessment webinars. A listing of upcoming webinars and past records can be found below. Check the professional development calendar for a full listing of events. 

Upcoming Structured Conversations

Institutions’ Use of Data and Analytics for Student Success: Results from a National Landscape 

November 20, 2018 @ 12pm- 1pm EST


NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), and EDUCAUSE have conducted a national landscape analysis to examine how institutional research (IR), student affairs, and information technology (IT) professionals are working together to support students. The three higher education associations jointly developed and launched a national survey of their memberships to identify trends in the types of student success data projects that institutions conduct, the structures in place for sharing data among multiple users, the level of coordination across functions, and how institutions are using data to inform interventions and program delivery.  


In this structured conversation, our panelists will reflect on responses from nearly 1,000 IR, student affairs, and IT professionals across public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the United States and discuss recommendations for improving and executing an institution-wide, data-informed strategy for student success. 


The report is available at the following link:  

About Our Conversationalists:


Amelia Parnell is vice president for research and policy at NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. She directs the Research and Policy Institute (RPI), which links research, policy, and effective student affairs practice in support of student success. Prior to her arrival at NASPA, Amelia was director of research initiatives at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), where she conducted two national studies related to future directions of the institutional research function. Her current research portfolio also includes studies on leadership attributes of college presidents and vice presidents, documenting and assessing co-curricular learning, and assessment and evaluation in student affairs.  Amelia is co-editor of the newly-released book, The Analytics Revolution in Higher Education. She is a member of the board of directors for IDEA and serves on advisory boards for several other higher education organizations. Amelia holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University and masters and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Florida A&M University. 


Darlena Jones serves as Director of Assessment and Research for the Association for Institutional ResearchDarlena directs the assessment and research initiatives for AIR such as Forum, membership, IPEDS training, and the National Data Institute.  Darlena also leads the development of new educational opportunities for AIR.  In addition, Darlena leads the National Survey of IR Offices project that quantifies the operations of the IR Office.  Darlena serves on multiple advisory boards for groups like NASPA, Common Data Set, and the journal, New Directions in Institutional Research.  Darlena holds a Ph.D. in physics from Oklahoma State University and has 10+ years of collegiate teaching experience.  She well known in higher education circles due to her 200+ national and international conference/webinar presentations and workshops she has presented on assessment and student success. 


Past Conversations

Visit our YouTube Channel or browse it below by clicking the playlist link on the top left of the video frame. PowerPoint slides and handouts can also be found in the SAAL Resource Repository in the folder titled "Structured Conversations."

Topic Proposals

Would you like to suggest a topic for a future Structured Conversation (SC)? The SAAL PDC welcomes your suggestions! You are also invited to apply to lead a SC and share your expertise with SAAL by completing the proposal form below. We look forward to hearing from you!