Nancy Fried Foster Publishes New Book

January 26, 2015

Nancy Fried Foster, with co-authors Patricia Steele, David Cronrath, and Sandra Parsons Vicchio, has a new book: The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem.

 

From the publisher's website:

The Living Library describes the evolution of one possible future for academic libraries: as laboratories for cross-disciplinary investigation. At the University of Maryland, a collaboration among the Libraries, the School of Architecture and the Department of Anthropology led to the participation of students, faculty and staff in an initiative to design a full renovation of the main library building with the guidance of professionals in anthropology and architecture. As part of the process, Anthropology students and library faculty and staff investigated how the broader university community undertakes its work in the library. Architecture students in graduate design studio analyzed the findings along with the building and then created a series of designs to support faculty, student and staff work practices. All of the work was reviewed by a leadership committee from a variety of disciplines. The authors – the library director, the dean of architecture, a practicing architect and an applied anthropologist – describe the project, explain the methods, and review the outcomes, sharing their experiences of the living library.

 

For more information, please see http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=11347

How much does it cost to publish a monograph?

January 21, 2015

Books have been published for hundreds of years, so surely there must be a clear answer to this question. But in fact, it’s not so simple, and estimates from press directors, experienced consultants, and researchers in the field vary widely—from less than $10,000 to more than $25,000 per book. Determining what it costs to produce a single high-quality digital monograph is complex, and depends on the publishing house, its practices, and even its methods for accounting. That said, understanding the per-book costs of publishing monographs will only become more important as new business models continue to emerge.    

 

Thanks to a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ithaka S+R is embarking on a new study to research the costs of publishing monographs. The Study of the Costs of Publishing Monographs, which begins this month and runs through the end of the year, will gather financial data from twenty presses, representing publishers of all sizes with the aim of capturing the full costs of publishing a high-quality digital monograph. The study is intended to capture the costs of all aspects of the process, including acquisitions, editorial development, design, production, marketing and administrative costs. A final report will be published by Ithaka S+R and made freely available to the public. An initial grant from the Mellon Foundation in spring 2014 funded the planning stages and development of the study methodology.  We’ll be working very closely with the leadership of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP) as well as its member presses. As Peter Berkery, AAUP’s Executive Director describes, “The results will benefit our member presses in myriad ways, and there is no more authoritative source for the raw data than the university press community itself.”

The New American University: S+R Report Takes a Closer Look at ASU

January 20, 2015

“The New American University.”  To the outsider, or to the leader of another higher education institution, it may sound like a brash and arrogant boast.  On the inside, for a person associated with Arizona State University (ASU), it can be an aspirational expression of pride and the opportunity to take a leadership role in U.S. higher education.  ASU’s president, Michael Crow, envisions the “new American university” as one “measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed.”  At base, ASU’s experience under Crow’s leadership poses two crucial questions: Is it possible to get a large public university with a $2 billion budget to change, to innovate, and embrace a new direction?  And if so, what does it take to make that happen?

 

To begin to answer these questions, we interviewed senior administrators, deans, and faculty at ASU and reviewed institutional data and materials. In our judgment, the organizational culture at ASU has changed dramatically.  The vision of the institution has been clearly communicated, is well understood, and has been embraced by the senior leadership.  There is a shared sense of urgency and enthusiasm for innovation, in general, as well as the specific changes introduced by Crow.  The data on institutional performance indicate that ASU is growing and becoming more productive on a variety of measures, and is making progress on becoming a more inclusive institution.  Guided by a stable and compelling vision, straightforward but ambitious targets, and an openness to risk-taking and innovation, the university appears to be moving in a new direction, a direction focused on maintaining or improving educational and research quality while educating an ever-increasing number of students.

 

Our report, In Pursuit of Excellence: Managing Change at Arizona State University, also includes extensive notes from our interviews with Crow, the provost, deans, department chairs, and other administrators at ASU. We hope that these candid accounts help readers gauge for themselves the extent of change at ASU.

In Pursuit of Excellence and Inclusion

Managing Change at Arizona State University

Published January 20, 2015

Kevin M. Guthrie, Christine Mulhern, Martin Kurzweil

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Under the leadership of President Michael Crow, Arizona State University (ASU) has established a straightforward vision to guide the activities of the institution and has stuck to those basic guiding principles for over a decade:

To establish ASU as the model for the New American University, measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed; pursuing research and discovery that benefits the public good; assuming major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality and health and well-being of the community. 

While this report is not intended to provide a definitive answer to whether ASU is succeeding in serving as the model of a New American University, it explores whether things really are changing at ASU and whether senior leaders support those changes.  At base, ASU’s experience during Crow's tenure poses two crucial questions: Is it possible to get a large public university with a $2 billion budget to change, innovate, and embrace a new direction?  And if so, what does it take to make that happen?

 

To begin to answer these questions, ITHAKA president Kevin Guthrie and Ithaka S+R researchers interviewed senior administrators, deans, and faculty at ASU and reviewed institutional data and materials. Their findings indicate that the organizational culture at ASU has changed dramatically and that the university appears to be moving in a new direction, a direction focused on maintaining or improving educational and research quality while educating an ever-increasing number of students.

 

Included in this report are extensive notes from the authors’ interviews with Crow, the provost, deans, department chairs, and other administrators. In these candid accounts, ASU’s leaders describe how they view the changes to their programs and what lessons other campuses might be able to apply in their own setting. 

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Deanna Marcum on the Future of the Print Record

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Deanna Marcum will be speaking on "The Future of the Print Record" panel at the Modern Language Association's annual convention in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, January 9.  Kathleen Fitzpatrick (MLA) is moderating, and the panelists include James Grossman (American Historical Association), Chuck Henry (Council on Library and Information Resources), Geneva Henry (George Washington University), and Andrew M. Stauffer (University of Virginia). 

 

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Using Evidence in the Design of Academic Library Spaces

January 05, 2015

For decades and even centuries, a new academic library could be built just like any other—on the same architectural plans and with the same scholarly accommodations in mind. But today this is no longer possible. Recent years have brought dramatic changes to academic work practices such as reading, writing, and communication. The means, speed, and extent of scholarly collaboration have also undergone tremendous development. The traditional library model that has sufficed for so many years can no longer suit these changing practices. Furthermore, the role of the library varies significantly from one college or university to another; academic libraries no longer share a mission in any way like they did as recently as thirty or forty years ago. 

 

If it is no longer possible to follow architectural precedent, how can library leaders make decisions about construction and renovation? Does each library have to “reinvent the wheel”? What is a library for? These are some of the questions that we at Ithaka S+R considered in developing the latest iteration of our “Evidence-Based Decision Making” series of workshops, which also includes sessions on collecting and collections and the library’s role in support of discovery.

 

In our workshop on space design, we use a combination of large- and small-group work to share a process and tools for the design of academic library spaces. We question some dearly held assumptions and urge participants to use existing and new information rigorously and aggressively to open a path forward to good decisions. We especially stress the importance of better partnerships since academic and library spaces are becoming even more intertwined and decisions about one affect plans and uses of the other.

 

In the two space-design workshops we have held so far, we have discovered that libraries engage in a wide range of projects, from limited renovations to completely new construction, sometimes of multi-use space. They also face an array of issues, including changing pedagogies, rapid growth in student populations, the transition from print to digital, and so on. Almost all academic librarians we have worked with share the problem of tightening budgets. In this atmosphere, it is difficult to serve growing numbers of patrons while maintaining and preferably increasing access to scholarly resources.

 

Also interesting, the libraries that have participated in the workshops so far see their missions very differently. For example, we saw major differences in the ways participants understood their libraries’ responsibilities vis-à-vis the disposition of physical collections and the provision of study space for undergraduates. This means that there is no single model of what an academic library is or what space it should occupy that fits all institutions. While this diversity might make it seem that one library has nothing to offer another, in reality it makes it even more helpful for librarians and library leaders to collaborate across institutions. Their differences provide structure and traction for comparing, drawing contrasts, and expanding their thinking. They are also eager to learn from each other’s experience and have the potential through partnership to extend their ability to gather information about the current and emerging work practices of students, faculty members, and researchers.

 

Those who are interested in questions of academic library design may want to read the Ithaka S+R Issue Brief: Designing a New Academic Library from Scratch. Learn more about Ithaka S+R’s workshops on Evidence-Based Decision Making and join us in Portland this March before ACRL for the next workshop on space design.

A Look Back at Ithaka S+R's 2014 Publications

December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

 

Ithaka S+R published a record number of research reports and issue briefs in 2014 on two main themes: educational transformation and libraries & scholarly communications. As the New Year begins, we would like to share these with you once more, and we hope that they provide useful guidance for your work in 2015. As always, we welcome your feedback and questions. Use the comments form below or send us a tweet @IthakaSR.

 

Educational Transformation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libraries & Scholarly Communications:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liam Sweeney

Liam Sweeney is an analyst at Ithaka S+R. His work focuses on issues of institutional governance and diversity, and the effects of digital tools on libraries, scholars, and university presses. Liam previously worked as a coordinator for Midwestern libraries and consortia for JSTOR. He holds a BPhil from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied English literature and economics. Liam is currently pursuing a master’s degree in digital humanities from the CUNY Graduate Center.

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Liam.Sweeney@ithaka.org

212-500-2393

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Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

December 17, 2014

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an urgent need to figure out how online learning technologies might help to address these pressures while honoring these institution’s core missions and values.

 

Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) President Richard Ekman believes that online learning presents new opportunities for liberal arts colleges to enhance their curricula and enrich their students' experience. With this in mind, CIC launched the Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction. This 20-member group is now working to develop online and hybrid courses that will be available to all members of the consortium, greatly expanding the number of courses available to their students. Focusing on upper-level humanities courses, the consortium is experimenting with new ways to deliver specialized topics in an array of disciplines.

 

Rebecca Griffiths, who is working with CIC to manage the program and evaluate its accomplishments, recently interviewed Richard Ekman to understand both the motivation for creating the Consortium and the challenges it is facing in its first year. We invite you to read this interview, published as our December issue brief, and to weigh in through our comments field below on the role of online learning in the liberal arts college.

 

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Interested? Download Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

 

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