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October 17, 2019

How to Develop a Successful Collaborative Network in and around Higher Education

New Playbook

At the same time that it is becoming more essential to individual mobility, economic vitality, and social cohesion, postsecondary education is becoming a more complex endeavor. In response, a growing set of leaders in higher education, workforce development, business, and government are turning to focused and deep collaborative efforts to drive change within their own organizations and across the ecosystems in which they operate. In a new Ithaka S+R publication, Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, Jenna Joo, Jeff Selingo,…
October 16, 2019

Why we are adding a basic needs module to the Ithaka S+R local surveys

Students often struggle with balancing their personal, professional, and academic responsibilities, including affording their most basic needs in conjunction with course expenses. Recognizing this reality, we will be offering a basic needs module for the Ithaka S+R local student surveys starting in spring 2020. In late 2018, colleagues and I worked in partnership with a cohort of community colleges to survey their students about their goals and challenges.
October 15, 2019

Prisons, the Higher Ed Market, and Second Chance Pell

Both houses of Congress are debating a set of bills to update portions of the Higher Education Act, the key federal postsecondary education law. The long-overdue refresh has been held up by disagreements over levels of funding, accountability, and how to handle sex discrimination under Title IX, among other issues.  Whenever the HEA finally does come up for reauthorization, the move to restore Pell grants to the incarcerated is expected to make the final draft. Legislators who care about improving…
October 10, 2019

Update on Ithaka S+R Student Surveys: 2020 Edition

The process for updating Ithaka S+R’s local student surveys is underway. In August, we brought together a fantastic group of advisors and gathered their feedback on current student practices, perspectives, and needs. We then set out to incorporate their feedback into the instruments this past September by adding new thematic areas of focus, expanding on areas of particular importance, and phasing out questions that have become less relevant…
October 2, 2019

An Interview with Dr. Dominique Baker

The Strategic Alignment of State Appropriations, Tuition, and Financial Aid Policies

Dominique Baker is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy and an Associate at the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Baker is an expert in financial aid policies and student debt, and examines the equity implications of higher education policies. Ithaka S+R graciously thanks Dr. Baker for sharing her thoughts on the strategic alignment of state higher education finance policies. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length. With limited funding, where…
October 1, 2019

Sustaining the Open Sector: A Brief Look Back

During the last two decades, we’ve seen the emergence of several open source (OS) and open access (OA) initiatives designed to support the academic and cultural community’s needs for more effective, versatile, and cost-efficient tools. Since 2006, Ithaka S+R has explored the sustainability requirements of these resources, investigating both the factors that lead to success and the reasons behind setbacks and failures. Today, amid the failure of several cross-institutional “open” initiatives and the broader search for funding to…
September 30, 2019

Students Are the Experts

New Report Explores the Needs of Community College Students

How do community college students define their own success? And what services do they think will help them succeed? To find out, we started with a radical idea: students are the experts. Last year, we interviewed dozens of students at seven community colleges on their goals and unmet needs. Today, we release a new report, Student Needs Are Academic Needs, on a…
September 23, 2019

Concerned About Bots Taking Over Your Survey?

Reflections on Maintaining Data Integrity

Last week, a researcher from the University of Minnesota, Melissa Simone, shared an honest and frightening account of having bots infiltrate data gathered via an online research study. Within 12 hours of launching a survey, Simone found over 350 responses within the resulting dataset from bots. The process of identifying, screening for, and cleaning these data took hundreds of hours, she reported via Twitter. My online #researchstudy was recently infiltrated by…
September 23, 2019

Supporting Postsecondary Access and Success for Rural Students  

The American Talent Initiative (ATI), a coalition of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to enrolling and graduating more low- and middle-income students, began a webinar series on special interest topics that we hope will elevate best practices in recruiting talented low- and moderate-income students. This summer, we hosted a webinar on the challenges of identifying, recruiting, and enrolling rural students. In this post, we summarize the key research and best practices presented on the webinar. What is the definition…
September 19, 2019

Emergent Data Community Spotlight III

An Interview with Kitty Emery and Rob Guralnick on ZooArchNet

Successful data sharing crosses disciplinary silos. As Danielle Cooper and I argued in a recent issue brief, “data communities” — formal or informal groups of scholars who share a certain type of data with each other — emerge both within and across disciplinary boundaries. In order to understand how these data communities emerge — and to understand how they can best be supported — I’ve been seeking out leaders who are at the…
September 16, 2019

Building Data Skills across the Globe

A Virtual Roundtable with Library Carpentry

As scholars across disciplines increasingly turn to data-intensive research methods, academic libraries are considering how to adapt to meet the growing demand for research data instructional and advisory services. In a recent blog post, I observed that among R1 institutions in the United States overall staffing levels for research-data-dedicated library roles remain low, with over half of R1s sporting zero or one data librarian in their university libraries. But hiring dedicated data librarians…
September 12, 2019

How Can Academic Libraries and University Museums Effectively Collaborate?

Ithaka S+R is conducting a study on the relationship between academic libraries and campus museums, looking specifically at how they are governed and structured. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are in the process of inviting forty universities to participate, and over the Fall will interview the directors of both their museum and library in order to learn more about how these campus units operate in relation to the university and to one another.  …
September 10, 2019

Emergent Data Community Spotlight II

An Interview with Felicity Tayler and Marjorie Mitchell on the SpokenWeb Project

For all today’s technological affordances, research data sharing remains a fundamentally social activity, dependent on building “data communities” from the ground up. Danielle Cooper and I argued as much in a recent issue brief, and since then, I’ve been seeking out pioneers who are at the forefront of efforts to grow emergent data communities in a variety of research areas. What does it take to get a successful data sharing movement off the…
September 3, 2019

Ithaka S+R Student Surveys: 2020 Edition

Ithaka S+R is gearing up to update our local student surveys and we are now accepting expressions of interest from libraries to field the surveys in the spring 2020 semester. Our student surveys, which have been fielded at dozens of institutions since 2014, were developed to complement our local faculty survey. They cover the perspectives of undergraduate and graduate students on their objectives for pursuing higher education, their coursework activities, and their use…
August 27, 2019

Powerful Partner Questions

Survey Design Strategies from the Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey

When responding to a survey, do you ever have a sense of déjà vu, as though you already answered a very similar question a minute before? There might be a very good reason for the repetition. Across seven cycles of the US Faculty Survey and in our implementation of this instrument with more than 100 institutions across the globe, we have often found great value in approaching the…
August 15, 2019

US Faculty Survey 2018 Reveals Uncertainty about Fraudulent Research Practices

A report published earlier this year from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine disclosed findings from their recent assessment of reproducibility and replicability across different fields of research. Congress requested this collaborative study because of prolific media exposure on data misconduct and the inability of scientists to replicate important research. Additionally, there has been extensive media coverage of researchers who fabricate…
August 6, 2019

Inside an Ithaka S+R Training Workshop

In 2016, Ithaka S+R began collaborating with libraries to extend our deep dives into the research needs of faculty in a variety of fields, including, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Public Health, and Indigenous Studies. Having partnered with 75 university libraries for these studies, last year, we began using a…
July 30, 2019

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion through the Rare Book School

I’m thrilled to share that Ithaka S+R will be serving as an evaluator on the The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage, a six-year program which aims to advance multicultural collections through innovative and inclusive curatorial practice and leadership at the Rare Book School. Through this fellowship, 45 fellows who identify with diverse racial or ethnic communities and/or who work primarily with collections that document minority, immigrant,…
July 29, 2019

Announcing Two New S+R Projects on Supporting Data Work

Evolving data practices are re-shaping the academic landscape. Here at Ithaka S+R we’ve been tracking how scholars’ data support needs are evolving more widely through our triennial U.S. faculty survey and through deep dives into specific disciplinary practices, such as our recent report on Civil and Environmental Engineering. We’ve also uncovered how scholars’ work in data communities challenges the traditional disciplinary and institutional siloing…
July 29, 2019

Counting Data Librarians

How many data librarians does the average research university have? As data science methodologies are embraced by more and more academic fields–and as funders and administrators increasingly prioritize big data projects–academic libraries are staffing up to meet a growing demand. “Research data services” is a term that encompasses a broad range of support functions that help students and scholars conduct research with data. Some of these include: Directing users to…