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Topic: Governance

Blog Post
May 22, 2018

Taking a Closer Look at College and University Endowments: New Report

A new report from Sandy Baum, Cappy Hill, and myself, out today, provides an overview of college and university endowments. We seek to inform the public policy debate by exploring how endowments are structured and used, and discussing the extent to which the favorable tax policy for higher education institutions serves the public interest. We find that the distribution of endowment assets is highly skewed across institutions. The median endowment per student for all postsecondary institutions is $12,600, while…
Research Report
May 22, 2018

College and University Endowments

In the Public Interest?

The fact that a handful of colleges and universities control billions of dollars in endowment funds has captured the attention of Congress and the public. Is it in the public interest for these institutions to continue to receive the full exemption from income taxation for the donations to and income from endowments?[1] The passage of the recent federal tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposes an excise tax of 1.4 percent on the net investment…
Past Event
May 31, 2018

Martin Kurzweil at The New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum

Big Data: Managing Risks and Seizing Opportunities

On Thursday, May 31, 2018, Martin Kurzweil will serve as a discussion leader on “Big Data: Managing Risks and Seizing Opportunities” at The New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum. The session will run from 12:30 – 2:00 pm. The event is being held in TheTimesCenter in New York City. For more information, please see the event website. About the forum: For the presidents, chancellors and provosts of our nation’s colleges and universities, issues on campus grow more urgent…
Blog Post
February 28, 2018

Insights from the William G. Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

Last November, we held the inaugural William G. Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership. Named for our late, founding board chair and president emeritus of Princeton University and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the event brought together 50 higher education leaders and experts to discuss several contemporary challenges including diversity and inclusiveness, free speech and student activism, and the role of technology in higher education. Today, Kevin Guthrie, Cappy Hill, and I are publishing three papers…
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Free Speech, Student Activism, and Social Media

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“We don’t invite people here [to speak] because we agree with them. The right question, well phrased, can be far more effective than preventing people from speaking.” —William G. Bowen, quoted in Priscilla Van Tassel, “Bowen Reviews His Years at Princeton,” The New York Times, November 29, 1987…
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Technology in Higher Education

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“Properly conceived, information technology will enhance, but not replace, traditional modes of teaching and learning. It will also permit the delivery of educational content to a wider variety of others interested in subjects that lend themselves to distance learning – at home and at odd hours.” —William G. Bowen, “At a Slight Angle to the Universe: The University in a Digitized, Commercialized Age,” Romanes Lecture, Oxford University, October 17, 2000.
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Postsecondary Access and Diversity

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“[T]he twin problems before us are, first, an unacceptably stagnant level of overall educational attainment in spite of historically high returns to degree completion and, second, persistent disparities in BA completion rates by socio-economic status. The two are, as it were, linked at the hip because we can’t achieve significant increases in the overall level of educational attainment unless we do a better job of graduating students from poor families and from Hispanic and African American populations.” —William G. Bowen,…
Past Event
January 30, 2018

What Is the New Normal for Accreditation and What Should It Be?

Martin Kurzweil Speaks at CHEA Annual Conference Plenary Session

On Tuesday, January 30, Martin Kurzweil is speaking at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Annual Conference on “What Is the New Normal for Accreditation and What Should It Be?” Barbara Brittingham, president of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges is moderating the panel which also includes Ed Klonoski, president of Charter Oak State College. This plenary session will run from 10 – 11:00 am. The CHEA Annual Conference is being…
Blog Post
January 10, 2018

Research Infrastructure and the Strategic Decisions of Universities

For the past several years, I have been writing about the turn to research workflow tools. These tools reach deeply into the laboratory and are increasingly important to scientists and other scholars, and they impact the university research office and scholarly communications programs. Scholars need seamless end-to-end research solutions. Major publishers are making substantial investments in this area as they seek to pivot their businesses beyond content licensing. The strategic choices that universities make today…
Issue Brief
January 4, 2018

Big Deal

Should Universities Outsource More Core Research Infrastructure?

Research universities have developed in symbiosis with a robust set of commercial providers that serve their needs. From food service providers to run dining halls to private equity firms to manage parts of the endowment, outsourcing has allowed universities to remain more focused on their core educational and research functions. But universities have also at times elected to outsource academic infrastructure. Commercial firms have developed a major role in several significant university functions, including scientific publishing, library management systems, and…
Blog Post
December 20, 2017

Endowment Tax Provision: Counting Students Is No Easy Feat

After the House of Representatives and Senate passed two versions of a GOP bill to overhaul the tax code, a conference committee released a near-final version last Friday that was passed by the House on Tuesday. The Senate then passed a bill with slight tweaks on Wednesday, necessitating a House re-vote. The House is expected to pass the bill midday Wednesday and the President is expected to sign within the coming days. While some of the controversial measures…
Blog Post
October 25, 2017

Why We Need a Salary Survey

The View from Auburn University

Like many academic libraries, Auburn University participated in the 2016 Library Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion survey conducted by Ithaka S+R with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Due to particular circumstances, I ended up being the lead person to gather and compile the data for my library, rather than our Library HR manager.  It consumed a few hours of a dean’s time, but provided me a front seat to interact with colleagues working at all levels of my library who…
Past Event
November 9, 2017

Martin Kurzweil Speaks on Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education

At University of Pennsylvania School of Law

On Thursday, November 9, Martin Kurzweil and Wendell Pritchett, Provost and Presidential Professor of Law and Education at the University of Pennsylvania, are speaking on “Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education: The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform.” The talk will be held in the Bernard Segal Moot Court Room at Penn Law at noon. From the event website: The U.S. system of higher education continues to be vital to our country, but over the last decade it has come under increasing…
Blog Post
October 11, 2017

The Preservation of Government Publications

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond

I was honored to be asked to testify before the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, as part of a hearing on “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.” The hearing also included testimony from Robin Dale of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and R. Eric Petersen of the Congressional Research Service. A video of the hearing is included below along with the written testimony I submitted to the committee. Written Testimony Chairman Harper, Ranking Member Brady, and…
Past Event
October 11, 2017

Roger Schonfeld to testify before House of Representatives Committee

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond

On Wednesday, October 11, at 10:30 am, Roger Schonfeld will testify before the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, as part of a hearing on “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.” Roger, who has led two major consulting projects focused on structural challenges facing the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and how its vital work can be sustained, will focus his remarks on factors related to the long-term preservation of government publications, in print and…
Blog Post
June 8, 2017

How to Assure Quality in Higher Education?

Focus on Innovation, Minimum Standards, and Continuous Improvement

The U.S. quality assurance system—focused mainly on accreditation as a threshold for federal financial aid eligibility—has done a poor job of assuring quality. Barely 60 percent of first-time students complete a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent complete an associate’s degree at the institution where they started. These overall results mask a wide range of outcomes across institutions. As a result, many students, parents, and policymakers question the value of their massive investment in postsecondary education. Can the accreditation process be…
Research Report
June 8, 2017

Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education

The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform

The American higher education sector is diverse and creative. In 2014-15, the sector produced over 1 million associate’s degrees, nearly 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, over 758,000 master’s degrees, and over 178,000 doctoral degrees.[1] The world leader in innovation for decades, the sector continues to produce cutting edge research and contributes mightily to the American economy. Recent estimates concluded that the United States spends a larger percentage of GDP on higher education than any other country.[2] But…
Past Event
June 5, 2017

Leading Innovation: A Seminar for Department Chairs

Department chairs play a critical role in their institutions, helping to make important hiring and budget decisions and increasingly playing a crucial role in innovations around teaching, learning, and technology. Yet, while the department chair is typically the first rung on the ladder to senior leadership in academia, many take on the role without the necessary training or mentorship. The Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership and Ithaka S+R have developed this seminar for department chairs to help fill that…
Blog Post
February 15, 2017

Finding Funds to Support Student Access and Success

Ithaka S+R’s First Strategy Paper for the American Talent Initiative

There is ample evidence that low- and moderate-income students with the talent to earn admission thrive at top institutions when their financial needs are met, and graduate at higher rates than they do at less competitive schools. Yet, most top-performing colleges and universities consider students’ ability to pay in admissions decisions, at times accepting less talented full-pay students in order to meet revenue targets. For those lower-income applicants who are admitted, many institutions struggle to meet their full financial need.
Research Report
February 15, 2017

Funding Socioeconomic Diversity at High Performing Colleges and Universities

This report is published on behalf of the American Talent Initiative (ATI). ATI is a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Aspen College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R, and a growing alliance of top colleges and universities collaborating on a national goal: educating an additional 50,000 low-to-moderate income students by 2025. ATI members are working together to identify the best ways to attract the talent pool that is now missing from top colleges and to share the best practices for providing those…