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May 25, 2022

Measuring the Impacts of Federal Oversight of Accreditation 

Since the 1960s, the accreditation process and accreditors have played an important gatekeeping function for institutions’ access to federal student financial aid. Recognizing this role, Congress and the federal Department of Education (ED) have introduced and modified federal requirements and oversight of accreditors to ensure that these gatekeepers are protecting students and public dollars. While these federal interventions have clearly shifted the ways accreditors operate and interact with the federal government, there has been little research conducted on…
May 19, 2022

Assessing the Role of the Community College Library

Innovation, Collaboration, and Taking a Holistic Approach

For the last three years, Ithaka S+R has been examining how academic and student support services at community colleges are organized, funded, and staffed in order to provide insight into how these services can most effectively advance student success. Through this IMLS-funded research initiative, known as Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems (CCASSE), we have fielded two surveys, one of academic and student affairs leaders and one of library directors, as well as conducted interviews with…
May 18, 2022

Gateway Course Completion

Update on Ithaka S+R’s work on Multi-Year Initiative

Ithaka S+R is excited to be working on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s initiative on Gateway Course Completion. The foundation is seeking a solution to the high DFWI (D, F, withdrawal, or incomplete) rate in high-enrollment, general education courses that serve as “gatekeepers” to degree completion. Research has shown that students who do not pass these gateway courses experience delays in their academic progress and are more likely to drop out of college altogether. Working with an array…
May 2, 2022

Addressing Food Insecurity Will Pay Off for States

In order to achieve their ambitious attainment goals, most states will need to rapidly increase credential production. Increasing attainment improves a state’s fiscal outlook, increases individual wages, improves individual health and life outcomes, and increases civic engagement. However, our research suggests that most states’ goals will remain out of reach unless their plans…
April 14, 2022

The Importance of Alignment for the Research Library

Academic libraries exist to serve the needs, over the long-run, of their parent institutions. To be successful, then, it is imperative that each research library regularly works to ensure its ongoing alignment with its parent university. Institutional alignment is, however, a complicated endeavor.  In a project Ithaka S+R co-published with ARL and CARL, my colleagues Danielle Cooper, Catharine Bond Hill and I examined the strategic directions of research universities in North America to determine how…
April 5, 2022

Launching the 2022 Art Museum Director Survey 

In early 2020, Ithaka S+R launched the inaugural art museum director survey. This survey gathered the attitudes of museum directors on topics including leadership and strategy, budget and staffing, visitors and the public, and collections. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed the doors of museums across the country, the museum director survey had been in the field only a few weeks. We closed the survey with a fifty percent response rate. The evidence gathered…
March 31, 2022

Understanding the Impacts of Emergency Micro-Grants on Student Success

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students across the country faced challenges in meeting their basic needs, including access to food, housing, childcare, and transportation. These barriers, combined with rising prices relative to income and grant aid, are a key reason that over 36 million former students have left college without earning their degree. The pandemic has exacerbated students’ financial issues, and many more have chosen not…
March 17, 2022

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey Cycle 3

Interim Updates

On Monday, February 7, 2022, Ithaka S+R opened Cycle 3 of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey—a survey funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and fielded in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Cycle 3 has now been open for approximately one month, and we would like to offer the following updates to support art museums still compiling…
March 17, 2022

Evaluating the Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts Initiative

Strengthening transfer pathways between two-year and independent not-for-profit four-year institutions is one under-utilized way to increase transfer and bachelor’s degree completion. Independent colleges offer high graduation rates, flexible degree options, and personalized supports that can assist students looking to complete a four-year degree. Increasing transfer to these institutions at scale can be accomplished through state- or consortium-wide pathways that link all community colleges in a state to a critical number of independent four-year institutions.  The…
March 16, 2022

What Role(s) Do Stakeholders Play in an Advising Technology Implementation?

A New Report Outlines Nine Personas Taken on by Key Stakeholders in an Advising Technology Implementation 

Holistic advising is a resource-intensive yet beneficial practice that prioritizes being student-centered in the institutional process of undergraduate academic advising. This approach has gained prominence within the higher education landscape for its potential to better support student communities that have historically been insufficiently served by more transactional approaches to advising, including students of color, first-generation students, and students experiencing poverty. Given the comprehensive nature of holistic advising, institutions have increasingly turned to technology to support the students, staff,…
March 11, 2022

Conversations on Community College Library Strategy and Collaboration

Announcing Three Upcoming Virtual Convenings

In 2019, Ithaka S+R began a three-year IMLS-funded research initiative to help community colleges and their academic libraries more effectively support their students. The initiative, known as Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems (CCASSE), involved two surveys, one of academic and student affairs leaders and one of library directors, to identify trends shaping student support and perspectives on the impact of COVID-19, as well as a series…
March 10, 2022

A Preliminary Analysis of Debt Forgiveness Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the ever-increasing amount and crushing effects of student debt, including debts owed directly to postsecondary institutions. In an earlier report, Solving Stranded Credits, we estimated that roughly 6.6 million students owe over $15 billion in unpaid balances to colleges and universities in the United States. The weight of institutional debt can leave students feeling defeated, forcing many to avoid pursuing postsecondary education altogether. On a national scale, these debts…
March 2, 2022

The A*CENSUS II: Archives Administrators Survey is Live

The A*CENSUS II: Archives Administrators Survey launched this week!  In 2004, the original A*CENSUS broke ground by surveying archivists from across the country. It had a tremendous impact on the archives profession. The findings empowered archival institutions to advocate for resources and benchmark against peers, allowed researchers to study trends in the workforce, and informed curricula and educational offerings by academic institutions and professional organizations. A*CENSUS II builds upon the foundation of the original…
March 1, 2022

How to Navigate Remote Learning when Teaching with Cultural Heritage Materials

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, instructors had to adapt quickly to new teaching and learning environments. For those instructors who teach with cultural heritage materials, the shift to remote learning was even more complex. They had to discover new ways to incorporate archives, museum collections, special collections and place based learning within restricted learning environments, and often they had to contend with uneven levels of access to adequate technology while doing so. Through these challenges,…
February 16, 2022

Understanding Educational Space Needs in Prisons

New Project Announcement

Across higher education, classrooms and study commons have been reimagined to foster student engagement and learning. But for higher education in prison programs, it can prove challenging to find spaces optimized for education, much less space designed to support their educational needs. Access—or the lack of access—to classrooms, libraries, and scientific and computer labs, can play determining roles in the quality of higher education programming. With many competing demands for space, Departments of Corrections (DOC) may be inclined to look…
February 11, 2022

Announcing the Next Cycle of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Ithaka S+R opened the third cycle of the survey on February 7

In 2014 and 2018, Ithaka S+R partnered with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), to conduct a quantitative study on diversity within art museums who are part of these associations. We are excited to announce the continued collaboration through a third cycle of the demographic survey examining diversity amongst art museum employees.  Previous Cycles…
February 3, 2022

An Interview with Dr. Jay Darr, Director of University Counseling Center at the University of Pittsburgh

A Deep Dive on the Importance of Mental Health and Its Shared Responsibility Across Campus

Dr. Jay Darr is the Director of the University Counseling Center (UCC) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), a member of the American Talent Initiative’s (ATI) Academic Equity Community of Practice (CoP). As part of our Academic Equity Interview Blog series (for our first post we interviewed Claremont McKenna’s Nyree Gray on campus climate), we asked Dr. Darr to help…
February 2, 2022

Bringing Credit Transfer into Focus

New Report on the Articulation of Transfer Credit at CUNY Project

When a student transfers from one college to another, the receiving college has to decide how to treat the credits that the student earned at prior institutions. While the specific process varies from place to place, in general, the institution has to make two interrelated decisions: (1) the course equivalency—how each course the student completed at another institution translates into courses in the catalog at the new institution, and (2) how the translated courses…
January 18, 2022

Turning on the TAP

Restoring Tuition Assistance for Incarcerated Students in New York

In her first State of the State address since taking office, New York Governor Kathy Hochul outlined an agenda that included repealing the 27-year ban on college tuition assistance, also known as TAP, for incarcerated students. In 1995, when the ban was first instituted, incarcerated students accounted for less than 1 percent of TAP funding state-wide. The ban dovetailed with the 1994 Crime Bill’s elimination of federal Pell grants for incarcerated students and…
January 18, 2022

Ithaka S+R is Growing: Join Us!

Over the past few years, the scope and breadth of Ithaka S+R’s work has grown substantially. The Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums program has seen increases in cohort projects that explore critical issues facing libraries; grant funded initiatives focused on digital preservation, higher education in prison, student success, and museum leadership; national surveys of faculty, community college administrators, and archivists; and sponsored work on topics including the health of the research enterprise and diversifying collections.  To…
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