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October 26, 2020

Looking at the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Research Enterprise

New Report

Scholarly research is an enormous priority for many higher education institutions, serving both as a core part of the academic mission and also in some cases a major source of revenue. This year’s COVID-19 pandemic massively disrupted scientific research projects and the lives and careers of scientists themselves, and it has already begun to have profound budget consequences for some of the most research intensive higher education institutions. Some of the other impacts of this period of disruption…
October 22, 2020

Estimating the Impact of COVID-19 on Students’ Academic Outcomes

Note: This blog reflects updates to an earlier version published on September 4, 2020 that described results from preliminary analyses of the first group of 12 institutions. The updated results include 18 institutions, total, and also reflect a minor change in the methodology used to predict scores across all institutions. Both the increase in the number of schools included in the analysis and the methodology change are responsible for changes in the results. The biggest change is that…
October 22, 2020

Student and Faculty Voices on the Emergency Shift to Remote Learning

An Exploratory Study at a Large Urban Institution

The emergency shift to remote learning that took place during the spring 2020 term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruptions for students and faculty across colleges and universities, nationwide, and globally. As online and hybrid models of learning become prolonged solutions for institutions seeking to contend with the realities and continued uncertainties of the pandemic, the field can gain valuable and actionable insights from the lived experiences of students and faculty at the height of the…
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October 21, 2020

Announcing ATI’s Academic Equity Community of Practice

Recent months have highlighted long-standing inequities within our nation’s postsecondary education system. The barriers facing historically underserved student populations are not limited to the admissions and enrollment process, but extend throughout the academic experience. For the members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, combating inequities that exist throughout the student lifecycle is essential to fulfilling our collective goals. Today, we…
October 21, 2020

Structural Models and Emerging Priorities in Academic Health Sciences Libraries

New Report

How does the organizational structure of an academic health sciences library (AHSL) impact its provision of services? While once AHSLs were established as separate entities, many are now consolidated under a larger university library. Their roles are expanding, particularly in the areas of research support, data management, bioinformatics, systematic reviews, assessment of research impact, and community outreach. In order to explore the impact and consequences of reporting structures, we held interviews with individuals from…
October 20, 2020

Transitioning Introductory Math Courses Online to Meet Quality and Efficiency Goals

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities made an almost instantaneous switch from their traditional modes of learning to remote instruction in the middle of the spring 2020 term. Although remote teaching and learning have been used and well-understood in some corners of the academic world for some time, its implementation on this scale by academic leaders and faculty with little or no experience in remote teaching, is unprecedented. The new normal requires new investments and…
October 19, 2020

Increasing Access to Quality Educational Resources to Support Higher Education in Prison

New Project Announcement 

We are excited to announce a new project funded by Ascendium Education Group that will allow us to expand our current work on increasing access to quality educational resources for higher education in prison (HEP) programs. This grant will support both Ithaka S+R’s growing research focus in the field as well as JSTOR Labs’ innovative work on increasing access to academic resources for incarcerated students. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that both HEP programs and…
October 8, 2020

Indications of the New Normal

A (Farewell) Fall 2020 Update from the Academic Library Response to COVID-19 Survey

This is the fourth and final analysis of results from the Academic Library Response to COVID-19 survey, which we deployed on March 11 in order to gather as-it-happens data from and for the academic library community. Libraries were encouraged to not only log their current status but to also come back to retake the survey as circumstances evolved.  In past posts, we have presented an analysis…
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October 6, 2020

Ithaka S+R Is Hiring

Two New Analyst Job Openings

Are you passionate about higher education and the arts? Our work helps these organizations and their support providers—including libraries, publishers, scholarly societies, and museums— enhance scholarship, instruction, community engagement, and student success. Ithaka S+R is hiring for two new positions that will work on some of our most exciting research and advisory projects. Both roles will work collaboratively on research projects that lead to publications including grant-funded research…
October 5, 2020

“Stranded Credits”

New Report Explores Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding 

In the past 20 years, over thirty-six million Americans have left higher education without earning a postsecondary degree or credential. Those with some college experience but no degree are often left in debt without the requisite labor market opportunities to pay it off, and can struggle financially for several years after dropping out. These impacts are particularly deleterious for students of color, who are often saddled with an…
October 1, 2020

An Interview with Dr. Stella Flores

Policies to Ensure Equitable Access to Well-Resourced Colleges and Universities

Stella Flores is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Dr. Flores is a leading expert on higher education policy and uses quantitative methods to examine the effects of state and federal policies on postsecondary access and completion for low-income and underrepresented populations. She is also the Director of Access and Equity at The Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy. Ithaka S+R graciously thanks Dr. Flores for…
September 30, 2020

Holistically Measuring Student Success

Higher education institutions often use quantitative, outcome-based metrics to define student success. These measurements, which are reported to and used by government, regulatory, and accrediting agencies, are influential for decision-making, benchmarking, ranking, and most importantly, funding. However, these traditional outcome metrics provide a limited view of the goals, challenges, and experiences of college students, especially those who attend community colleges. Employing additional, holistic metrics—such as those that focus on basic needs, feelings…
September 29, 2020

A Novel Approach to Studying and Measuring a Liberal Education and its Economic Value

In response to growing public skepticism about the value of a liberal education, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a series of studies investigating the long-term effects of a liberal education on various outcomes such as health, civic engagement, and cognitive development. Ithaka S+R’s first contribution to the series was a study published in 2019 examining the economic benefits and costs of a liberal education, as this…
September 23, 2020

A Letter to College Administrators

Considerations for Virtual Learning

Kimmy Cacciato graduated from The College of New Jersey with a major in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education – Mathematics Teaching. This fall, she returned to TCNJ to pursue an MAT in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education. She is currently serving as a student advisor to Ithaka S+R’s Holistic Metrics of Student Success project. Dear College Administrators, As a senior I thought I had it all figured out. But then COVID-19 hit, and the game changed. As we all experienced, there…
September 9, 2020

Supporting Language and Literature Scholarship in the COVID-19 Era

The latest installment in Ithaka S+R’s series of Research Support Services projects investigates the research practices and support needs of scholars in the field of languages and literature. Today we are excited to publish the project’s capstone report.  The research that underlies this report was conducted prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we believe our findings resonate now more than ever. The field…
September 3, 2020

What Your Students Want to Hear

Effective Communications in the Time of COVID-19

Kimmy Cacciato is currently serving as a student advisor to the Ithaka S+R Holistic Metrics of Student Success project. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a major in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education – Mathematics Teaching. This fall, she is returning to TCNJ to pursue an MAT in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education.  During this time of uncertainty, effectively communicating with students is more important than ever. Campus administrators and…
August 31, 2020

Conducting Virtual Focus Groups

A Short Methodology Case Study for Social Scientists

In June of 2020, Ithaka S+R conducted 18 synchronous exploratory virtual focus groups with 46 undergraduate students and 37 faculty, to assist a higher education institution in learning from its emergency transition to online learning during the spring 2020 term due to Covid-19. We will publish our findings, a time capsule of a university community’s rapid adaptation in response to COVID-19, in a public report later this year. To conduct these focus groups in the midst of the pandemic, we,…
August 25, 2020

Incorporating Equity into Fall Reopening Plans

Earlier this summer, Ithaka S+R began aggregating colleges’ plans for re-opening campuses in Fall 2020, with the goal of facilitating collaboration and planning across the sector. As of August 17th, we have reviewed and synthesized 95 institutional plans, including updates to those plans, into a single resource (click here to view). We are publishing the findings from our analysis of these plans in a series of blog posts, hosted on Ithaka S+R’s…
August 19, 2020

Exploring the Effectiveness and Durability of Digital Preservation and Curation Services

Announcing a New Research Project Funded by IMLS 

With generous funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), we are pleased to initiate an 18-month research project to examine and assess how digital preservation and curation systems (DPCS) are developed, deployed, and sustained. Because our cultural, historic, and scientific heritage is increasingly being produced and shared in digital forms, libraries, archives, and museums are increasingly dependent on digital platforms to support the curation, discovery, and long-term management of digital…
August 17, 2020

Teaching with Cultural Heritage Online During the Pandemic

New Mellon-Funded Project

Today we are excited to announce a new project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will explore how teaching and learning with cultural heritage collections and materials is evolving in response to the pandemic. Instructors who seek to use cultural heritage objects from museums, archives, and special collections face unique challenges when adapting to remote teaching. What is needed is deeper understanding of, and better support for these instructors in this current moment.  This…