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April 15, 2021

Three Questions for Kara Bledsoe

On April 1, Kara Bledsoe joined Ithaka S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums team. In this interview, she reflects on what brought her to Ithaka S+R and what she hopes to accomplish through her work with us. What attracted you to Ithaka S+R? My background is in management consulting for cultural organizations. I drafted strategic plans, facilitated visioning workshops, and evaluated clients’ operations to help them optimize the balance between market forces and their missions. Most of the research…
April 5, 2021

Three Considerations for Inclusively and Responsibly Analyzing and Reporting on Demographics

Over the last several months, we’ve shared Ithaka S+R strategies for ensuring inclusivity in writing and selecting demographic questions—key steps in the early stages of the data collection planning process. But inclusivity concerns don’t stop once data collection has begun, but continue when a survey is put into the field, an interview is conducted, or administrative data collection is facilitated.  Ensuring proper care in collecting and…
March 25, 2021

The State of the Humanities

Notes from the National Humanities Alliance Annual Meeting

Each spring, the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) organizes an annual meeting and an accompanying national advocacy day, in which representatives from most states meet with congressional offices to make the case for federal funding of the humanities. In 2020, 184 individuals representing 41 states held 287 meetings with congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Ithaka S+R is committed to supporting humanists in their work, through projects such as measuring the value of a liberal arts education, the analysis of the…
March 23, 2021

Teaching with Primary Sources: Pre-Pandemic Lessons for Post-COVID Futures

The second iteration in Ithaka S+R’s Teaching Support Services project investigates the teaching practices and support needs of instructors who work with primary source materials. Today we are excited to publish the project’s capstone report. Still in the pandemic but beginning to glimpse life on the other side, now is an opportune time to begin to envision not just the future, but the many potential futures…
March 23, 2021

Relationships Matter

How participation in the Teaching with Primary Sources Study Helped Strengthen and Develop Cross-Campus Relationships

Ithaka S+R’s capstone report on teaching with primary sources was published today. To coincide with its release, we invited one of the project’s local research teams to reflect on their experience participating in the project and how they are building on the project’s findings. Why did we want to participate in Ithaka S+R’s Teaching with Primary Sources Project?  In 2019, Ithaka S+R invited Washington & Lee University (W&L) Library to participate…
March 22, 2021

The Effectiveness and Durability of Digital Preservation and Curation Services

Case Studies in Sustainability

In their current form, digital preservation programs aim to manage a range of vulnerabilities and threats spanning technical malfunctions, media obsolescence, organizational failures, and copyright restrictions. The long-term stewardship of digital cultural materials depends not only on the technical resiliency of preservation systems, but also on the financial and organizational sustainability of these stewarding organizations and their service providers. With generous funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services, we are in the midst of an 18-month research…
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March 19, 2021

Current Developments in Addressing Legacy of Slavery in Higher Ed

In two recent blog posts, I discussed the origins, findings, and repercussions of a first wave of college and university efforts to surface and address institutional entanglement with American slavery. More recently, following the national protests sparked by the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, many colleges and universities have responded to student demands calling for reform by committing to anti-racist actions to amend past injuries of institutional racism. In this post, I discuss current developments and…
March 15, 2021

Post-NCHEP Reflection

The Need for Digital Literacy in a Digitally-Connected World

The National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP) concluded earlier this month. Due to the pandemic, this annual meeting of practitioners, students, and advocates moved online for the first time, and, while the in-person experience of community building is not easy to duplicate remotely, the increased opportunity for engagement and access certainly aligned with this year’s conference theme, “Amplifying Access.” With its assembly of breakout sessions, plenaries, and chat-boxes, the virtualized conference was better able to prioritize…
March 8, 2021

Three Questions for Ithaka S+R’s Newest Analysts

In January, we welcomed three new analysts to our team. In this interview, they reflect on what brought them to Ithaka S+R and what they hope to accomplish through their work with us. What attracted you to Ithaka S+R?  Darnell Epps: I found the work around college in prison to be quite appealing, especially the goal of advancing educational equity through technology. Although I would later matriculate and graduate from Cornell University, the first…
March 3, 2021

How Can Community College Services Be Organized to Best Meet Student Needs?

Over the course of their attendance, community college students must navigate through an array of services—delivered through student affairs departments, academic affairs departments, libraries, and their instructors—to find the support they need. Whether they find that support depends in part on whether their institutions have developed effective service models and organizational strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the attendant necessity for increased remoting learning amidst enrollment declines and budgetary strains, also creates new challenges for students as well as…
March 2, 2021

Amplifying Equity in Education: 2021 NCHEP 

With the momentum of Pell restoration tempered by the continued challenges of distance-learning during the pandemic, this week marks the start of 2021’s annual National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP). NCHEP’s guiding theme of educational equity spans five days and over 60 presentations, covering a wide range of topics, from abolitionist teaching to the power of collaborative partnerships. The concerns and strategies of this national cohort…
February 11, 2021

Accountability and Reconciliation: Higher Ed’s Fraught History of Slavery 

The aftermath of the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others has led many colleges and universities to consider how the legacies of slavery and systemic racism have shaped and impacted their institutions. As more institutions consider the lasting effects of slavery, there are lessons and strategies that could be learned from institutions that began these historical inquiries of slavery and racism before 2020. In a previous blog, I described the origins, processes, and findings of these efforts.
February 2, 2021

Launching an Anti-Racism Talent Management Audit

Translating Values Into Action

In the months following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent national reckoning for racial equity led by the Black Lives Matter movement, many higher education institutions pledged to renew their commitments to progress on racial justice imperatives. While equity, diversity, and inclusion have long been described by higher education leaders as strategic priorities of their institutions, many have now devoted resources to move beyond affirmations of institutional values…
January 28, 2021

Convening the Cohort

Teaching with Digital Cultural Heritage Materials in the Pandemic

Last summer we announced a Mellon funded project to study how higher education instructors are adapting their practices of teaching with cultural heritage materials during the pandemic. In this post we share how our project is developing and the issues we are tracking as our research gets underway. Why are we doing this project? We remain in a similarly unprecedented landscape six months later, as the COVID-19 virus remains a terrible threat. Technology has allowed certain types of activities…
January 26, 2021

Higher Ed’s Reckoning with Slavery

Following the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, 2020 marked a watershed moment for nationwide discussions on systemic racism. This was true, too, for higher education: this year has sharpened the focus on the ways that historical legacies and current practices reinforce racial hierarchies. As more universities and colleges continue to detangle the lasting effects of systemic racism on their institutions, there is still much to learn about how institutions have reckoned with their own institutional histories of…
January 19, 2021

A New Report Examining the Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances

Over the past two years, Ithaka S+R, in partnership with the Joyce Foundation, has examined the role of state policy in ensuring postsecondary access and opportunity for all students. In a newly released research paper, we build on our previous work and make the economic case for states to increase their attainment rates. To reap the benefits of their investments in increased attainment, we recommend that state leaders increase investment into historically underserved students, adopt progressive tax…
January 14, 2021

Maximizing and Assessing Engagement with Virtual Library Space

While states across the US have begun vaccine distribution and plan for further tiered rollout over the course of the year, COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continue to be at all-time highs across most of the country. Campuses continue to push back the start date of the spring term, and the CDC has just released new data tying county-level, off-campus infections to on-campus residency. It is all but certain that higher education institutions will continue looking to…
January 13, 2021

Upcoming National Survey of Community College Library Directors

We are excited to announce that Ithaka S+R will launch a national survey of community college library directors and those in equivalent leadership positions this February. This study is part of a three-year IMLS-funded initiative—the Community College Academic and Student Service Ecosystem (CCASSE) project—to examine the current landscape of student service provision at community colleges and the role of the library in best contributing toward student success within this ecosystem. Over the course of the project, we have already…
January 12, 2021

Data Repository Platforms: A Primer

Last updated on March 10, 2021 While scholars generally believe in the value of sharing and preserving research datasets, many do not believe it’s worth their time to do so. And, when they do invest their time in data sharing and preservation, they tend to have a preference for doing so in an independent and self-reliant fashion. These are issues that we have not only documented through our long-standing national faculty survey but ones that we have…
January 11, 2021

When to Ask (or Not Ask) Demographic Questions

People are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with sharing personal information—like email addresses, names of their spouses, and demographics such as race-ethnicity and gender—with their employers and other organizations more broadly. Many people are concerned about their privacy as more and more data are collected in a wide range of contexts. Some are apprehensive about research and associated data collection in general due to its history of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination and mistreatment in a…
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