Jan Botha’s closing comments at SAAIR 2009 Annual Forum in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (21-23 September 2009)
The theme of the 2009 Annual Forum of the Southern African Association for Institutional Research was “The Impact of Institutional Research (IR) on Institutional Effectiveness. Are we closing the loop?” I was a member of the panel discussion at the end of the Forum, reflecting on the presentations and discussions of the preceding three days.
I presented a brief conceptual analysis: (1) analysing who the “we” may be (i.e. broadening “IR Professionals” to “managers and administrators in Higher Education”), arguing that “closing” should preferably be understood as “making connections”, (2) presenting a map of the different ways in which “closing the loop”, or rather “making the connections” can manifest across the range of the core academic functions as well as the management and support functions in higher education institutions and (3) presenting an exposition of how IR professionals can conceptualise their work in terms of three loops or three sets of connections to be made: an epistemic loop, a hermeneutic loop and a praxis loop.