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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…
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…
January 13, 2022

15 Best Practices for Basic Needs Data Collection and Management in Higher Education 

Over the past two years, we have been examining how community colleges define and measure student success. Through an extensive landscape review, interviews with institutional research and effectiveness officers, and a national survey of community college provosts, it has become clear that student success is often tied to whether students’ basic needs are being met sufficiently. But collecting data on basic needs—such as…
September 13, 2021

What Does It Mean to Be Successful as a Student During a Pandemic?

Centering Student Experiences

Ithaka S+R has long explored how students define their own success and how academic and student support services can most effectively advance that success—and our work on these issues has only ramped up during the pandemic. When it became clear that the pandemic was here to stay, students had to face dramatic shifts to their learning, a staggering amount of communication and newly-implemented policies from their institutions, and new expectations on what it means to be a…
September 9, 2021

How Can the Library Best Support Student and Institutional Success?

Perspectives from a National Survey of Community College Library Directors

For the past three years, Ithaka S+R has explored how student-facing service departments—including academic libraries—are organized, funded, and staffed at community and technical colleges across the country. As part of this ongoing IMLS-funded Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystem (CCASSE) research initiative, we surveyed community college library directors this past February. Today, I’m pleased to announce the publication of our findings from that national study. In Library Strategy and Collaboration Across the College Ecosystem…
August 26, 2021

Staying Connected Through the Power of Technology

Centering Student Experiences

At the onset of the pandemic, higher education institutions across the country rushed to bolster digital infrastructure, to maintain both instructional continuity as well as academic and financial advising, so that students could stay enrolled and graduate. Many institutions also rapidly developed new services to accommodate student technology needs through device loaning programs and Wi-Fi partnerships, typically led by the library as gleaned through a series of roundtables conducted with library directors earlier this spring. While the initial investments…
August 16, 2021

Building Community During the Pandemic and Beyond

Centering Student Experiences

The Community College Academic and Student Support Ecosystem initiative began in 2019 as part of the Ithaka S+R research portfolio focused on understanding, measuring, and increasing student success at community colleges through a variety of departments and service providers. We have had the great fortune to work with a group of outstanding student advisors from across the country who contribute unique and vital perspectives as we shape recommendations…
August 2, 2021

Leading Community College Libraries During the Pandemic

Library Directors Share Their Experiences 

Community colleges and their students have faced enormous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-year colleges serve especially diverse student populations, including a high percentage of students of color, first-generation students, working students, and student parents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the social, economic, and public health effects of the pandemic. Community colleges have made considerable efforts to meet student needs, despite having fewer resources than most four-year colleges and universities…
July 14, 2021

Why Survey Testing is Essential

Preparing to Field the US Faculty Survey 2021

Ithaka S+R is gearing up for our eighth launch of the US Faculty Survey this fall. This national survey has yielded longitudinal data on scholarly research and teaching behaviors across a variety of institutional and disciplinary contexts on a triennial basis since 2000. To maximize the value of this initiative for higher education leaders, scholarly societies, academic libraries, and publishers who have come to rely on these data, especially in light of the…
May 13, 2021

Announcing the Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2021

This fall, we are looking forward to fielding our triennial US Faculty Survey. This will be the eighth cycle of this long-standing research initiative through which we examine faculty research and teaching perspectives and practices across a variety of institutional and disciplinary contexts. Through this ongoing work, we have now mapped for over two decades the evolving attitudes and behaviors of scholars on a range of topics, including the discovery and access of scholarship, research dissemination and preservation, instructional methods…
April 28, 2021

What Will it Take to Move the Needle on Student Basic Needs?

Last year, we released a landscape review delving into how different metrics of student success are currently prioritized, defined, quantified, and used within the community college sector—examining how traditional metrics of success, like those aligning with typical college objectives like graduation, retention, enrollment, and course completion, are more often prioritized and required for funding, accountability, and accreditation purposes. Subsequent interviews with institutional research and effectiveness officers provided even…
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…
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…
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…
March 20, 2020

Communicating COVID-19 in Higher Ed: Student Edition

Given recent disruptive circumstances surrounding COVID-19, students more than ever are being flooded with vital and often-changing information to protect their health and safety as well as the future of their educational experiences and attainment. In an effort to aggregate the continual communications sent to students, colleges and universities are often creating hubs of information on their websites, which encompass everything students need to know about their institution’s status, policies, key dates, and resources available going forward.
March 3, 2020

(Un)attending the #ELI2020Unconference

I was excitedly awaiting my first ELI Annual Meeting on Sunday afternoon when I received the disappointing news that it was called off. Due to growing concerns over COVID-19, the conference organizers made the difficult decision to cancel the meeting. Although an appropriate decision, many presenters, like me, were left with many hours worth of work with no way of presenting it. Personally, I was planning on presenting my poster—…
February 4, 2020

Student Success: One Goal, Many Definitions

While many colleges see enabling “student success” as a top priority, what actually defines the term can vary widely depending on who is defining it. As such, it is hard—perhaps impossible—to have a single, quantifiable, and operational definition. In this post, I unpack how a few key stakeholders—community college students and administrators—have conceptualized this seemingly loaded term in our research along with questions for further reflection as we embark on a new project. Over the past…
December 5, 2019

Making the CCASSE for Support Services

When we interviewed dozens of community college students about their challenges and unmet needs, many reported struggling with navigating college resources. When we subsequently heard from over 10,000 students via survey about the services they need to achieve their vision of success, the overwhelming majority responded positively to a service centered around helping students navigate these resources.  Last year, we embarked on the…
October 21, 2019

Getting My CLAWs into Assessment

The biennial Canadian Library Assessment Workshop (CLAW) is set to take place this week at the University of Windsor. This will be my first time attending the workshop, which primarily focuses on outcome-based initiatives and decision making to better support libraries and demonstrate their impact on research, teaching, and learning. As I eagerly await for the  workshop to kick off, I’m sharing some emergent themes and takeaways from the conference…
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…