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December 3, 2020

An Updated Snapshot of the Archival Profession

Gearing up for A*CENSUS II

In 2004, the Society of American Archivists led A*CENSUS, the first broadscale survey of individual archivists in the United States in nearly thirty years. The initiative resulted in tremendous impact for the archival field. For institutions and professional organizations, the data informed the design of new curricula and the assessment of current educational offerings; for archival institutions, the opportunity to advocate for resources, set goals, and benchmark against peers; and for researchers, the…
December 1, 2020

Leadership for the Research Enterprise

For many of the largest universities, the research enterprise is an essential component of the mission. And during this year of pandemic related disruptions, it has proved to be one of the most resilient sources of university revenue. In recent years, major universities have established senior research officers to provide a unitary source of leadership for this vital work. Today, my colleague Oya Rieger and I are publishing a major examination of the role of the senior…
November 18, 2020

Four Strategies for Crafting Inclusive and Effective Demographic Questions

At Ithaka S+R, we regularly re-evaluate the quality and inclusivity of the demographic questions we include in our surveys, just as we do with all of the items in our instruments. These questions undergo a rigorous, iterative revision process: we conduct desk research, gather feedback from advisors, test all questions with potential participants prior to launching, and pay attention to trends in open-ended responses to our questions. All of these approaches, along with following trends in research and…
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November 18, 2020

Counting Research Data Services

How many, and what kinds, of research data services do US higher education institutions offer? Where are these services located within institutional structures? How do different types of colleges and universities differ in research data service provision? Academic institutions are in a data arms race, vying to produce cutting-edge, data-driven research across a wide range of disciplines. But the provision of research data services— support offerings which enable and improve data research…
November 16, 2020

Examining Institution-Level Income Distribution and Financial Aid Trends

New Report

In a 2019 report, we shared initial findings from a novel effort to compare key statistics on the income distribution of undergraduate populations and financial aid awards from three public sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS), Opportunity Insights, and the Common Data Set (CDS). Comparing these data sources across groups of higher education institutions organized by control (public or private) and admissions selectivity, we found that they presented similar income distributions, and…
November 12, 2020

Findings from the Inaugural Art Museum Director Survey

Benchmarking Perspectives from Early 2020

Today, Jennifer Frederick and I published findings from the inaugural art museum director survey, funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and conducted in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Alliance of Museums. The survey captures the perspectives of directors from a moment in time before the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures of museums in the US, and before the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked major protests against police brutality…
November 11, 2020

The Relationships That Drive Campus Collaborations

How Museums and Libraries Grapple With Institutional Barriers Towards Working Together

As collecting institutions on campus, libraries and museums have a great deal to learn from each other. Libraries have excelled in adapting to digital environments, a development that has served them especially well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic museums have grown increasingly sophisticated as public spaces, serving as an access point for local communities and visitors of all kinds on otherwise exclusive campuses. In this way, notable competencies have emerged in the library sector towards breadth of access…
November 11, 2020

Introducing our Student Advisors

Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems

In 2019, Ithaka S+R began a three-year project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to help community colleges and their academic libraries more effectively support their students. This project, known as Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystems (CCASSE), is part of a growing program of Ithaka S+R research focused on understanding, measuring, and increasing student success at community colleges. Our first phase of…
November 5, 2020

In the Eye of the Beholder

What’s a Digital Preservation System Anyway?

Today in celebration of the World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD), we would like to update you on a Ithaka S+R research initiative on the preservation front. Held on the first Thursday of every November, WDPD aims to promote greater awareness of the critical role preservation plays in providing enduring access to knowledge. Times like this further underscore the importance of preservation, given the imperative to archive diverse sources of information about the pandemic–not…
November 2, 2020

Five New Higher Ed Datasets Now Available from Ithaka S+R

Over the years, Ithaka S+R has routinely deposited datasets from our research projects with the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, better known by its acronym of ICPSR. In doing so, this ensures that our data is not only digitally preserved, enabling long-term access, but also thoroughly processed and made available in a variety of formats for download. Several new datasets from our research projects have recently become available in our…
October 28, 2020

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

New Practice Brief from the American Talent Initiative

Today, we are excited to release Making the Case for Student Veterans: Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment. This publication is the first brief in a series from the American Talent Initiative (ATI) focused on helping college and university leaders lay the groundwork for enrolling, supporting, and graduating more student veterans.  Student veterans are significantly underrepresented at the colleges…
October 27, 2020

Student Success, Basic Needs, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Institutional Research Perspectives on Holistic Student Success Metrics

This year has undoubtedly been marked with unprecedented challenges for higher education, as we and others have documented through ever-building evidence from students, faculty, and administrators alike. As colleges and universities work to maintain enrollment, retention, and student learning outcomes, they are grappling with how to better understand and address the challenges their students are facing. The growing urgency to support students holistically—that…
October 27, 2020

Risks to the Research Enterprise

New Issue Brief on Global Science and the China Split

This year, the research activities of academia have been profoundly disrupted, as have the lives of researchers. Yesterday, we published a landscape review focusing on the disruptions caused by the pandemic itself. In addition, there is another source of growing disruption, caused less by a sudden event but rather by the geopolitical tensions that are causing a growing split between China and a group of liberal and democratic countries. In an issue…
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…