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Issue Brief
December 14, 2020

Accelerating Advising Technology Implementation in Response to COVID-19

A Case Study of Jacksonville University

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. It is also important to note that barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. The institutions that serve the highest proportions of students from low-income…
Issue Brief
December 10, 2020

Reimagining State Higher Education Funding

Recommendations from the Ithaka S+R Convening

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding, but already the pandemic seems likely to have an unprecedented impact on higher education finances. In response to declining tax revenues, states are beginning to curtail higher education funding, a key source of revenue for many public colleges and universities. Changing enrollment patterns and rising unemployment has softened demand for some colleges, which can negatively affect tuition revenues. Limitations on in-person activities and increased health-related costs are shrinking auxiliary revenues, a…
Issue Brief
December 10, 2020

An Overview of State Higher Education Funding Approaches

Lessons and Recommendations

With a pandemic-driven recession and unemployment stratified by postsecondary attainment levels, investments in education, including higher education, are needed now more than ever. Yet, the outlook for state finances is grim, especially if federal investment stalls, and shrinking budgets and financial instability are likely to lead to reductions in state spending. As we discuss in a companion brief, during times of constrained resources, states’ playbooks should include three key elements: ensuring that higher education funding is adequate, ensuring that institutions…
Issue Brief
October 28, 2020

Scholarly Societies in the Age of COVID

As membership organizations with revenues typically derived from a combination of publications, meetings, and dues, scholarly societies have faced distinctive challenges, as well as opportunities, in navigating the pandemic. To explore these, we spoke with chief executives and chief publishing officers at 12 large and small societies, some focused on the humanities and social sciences, others on the STEM fields. We were interested in how the various sources of activity and value for scholarly societies were being impacted…
Issue Brief
October 28, 2020

Making the Case for Student Veterans

Building Support for Student Veteran Enrollment

A college degree is increasingly associated with greater economic opportunity for individuals and positive economic, social, and civic benefits for society. Yet, gaps in college access by income and race/ethnicity persist, especially at the most selective colleges and universities where students have the best chance to succeed due to greater resources and high graduation rates. These gaps perpetuate economic and social inequality, as access to high-quality education is essential for social mobility. Veterans and service members of the United States…
Issue Brief
October 27, 2020

Global Science and the China Split

The practice of science has always been a fundamentally international activity. Even during periods of substantial geopolitical splits—such as the Cold War—science has broadly continued its international communication and even collaboration. In the post-Cold War period, science has globalized to a substantial degree. However, the looming geopolitical split between China and many of the liberal and democratic nations including Australia, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as European Union members, raises questions about…
Issue Brief
October 1, 2020

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

Inequity in higher education access is a persistent problem. One way in which this manifests is through inequitable opportunities to attend the most well-resourced institutions. When students attend limited-resource institutions, they are less likely to persist and earn a credential and typically have weaker labor market prospects. Low-income and racial and ethnic minority students are more likely to attend under-resourced institutions than their wealthier and white peers. These enrollment patterns vis-à-vis institutional resources stand to perpetuate social and economic inequities.
Issue Brief
August 27, 2020

Seven Practices for Building Community and Student Belonging Virtually

Most colleges and universities have traditionally provided in-person programming and supports to strengthen bonds between students and build a sense of community. These activities, such as campus-wide events, one-on-one advising appointments, career development workshops, and mentorship programs, help students develop a sense of belonging at the institution, improve their academic experience, and boost their chances of graduating. These programs and supports are especially important for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, whose experiences of exclusion on campus can impede their progress…
Issue Brief
May 27, 2020

Preprints in the Spotlight

Establishing Best Practices, Building Trust

Preprints have been getting a lot of attention recently. The COVID-19 pandemic—the first major health crisis since medical and biomedical preprints have become widely available online—has further underscored the importance of speedy dissemination of research outcomes. Preprints allow researchers to share results with speed, but raise questions about accuracy, misconduct, and our reliance on the “self-correcting” nature of the scientific enterprise. As scientists and health care professionals, as well as the general public, look for information about the pandemic, preprint…
Keynote Address
March 2, 2020

Improving College Opportunity for Veterans

Robert Caslen, president of the University of South Carolina and former superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, delivered the following address at “Improving College Opportunity for Veterans and Service Members,” a convening hosted by The College Board and Ithaka S+R on February 10-11, 2020, at John Hopkins University. Only one in ten student veterans is enrolling in the colleges and universities with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher. But the evidence indicates that many more…
Issue Brief
January 23, 2020

It’s Not What Libraries Hold; It’s Who Libraries Serve

Seeking a User-Centered Future for Academic Libraries

In 2018, OhioLINK engaged its membership to envision a constellation of platforms and applications that would take the next step beyond “next-generation” commercial integrated library systems (ILS). This paper is the result of that process. The business of higher education, as it relates to libraries, is amid continued and drastic change. Managing collections is now but one aspect of library management. Libraries support teaching, affordable learning, and innovative research. They are managing services and products, online and off, amid expanding…
Issue Brief
January 22, 2020

Copyright Education in Libraries, Archives, and Museums: A 21st Century Approach

A Summary Report of Roundtable Discussions at Columbia University

On July 11-12th, 2019, with the generous financial support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and together with project partners Ithaka S+R and LYRASIS, Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries held roundtable discussions as a second phase of research to determine how to structure and implement a professional development copyright education initiative for cultural heritage professionals working in libraries, archives, and museums. In particular, the purpose of these discussions was to examine whether there might be a way to…
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Issue Brief
December 12, 2019

Expanding Pathways to College Enrollment and Degree Attainment

Policies and Reforms for a Diverse Population

For states to increase access to and attainment of higher education, they must implement policies and reforms that support learners who have not traditionally been well-served by higher education. By 2020, the United States is projected to have a shortage of five million workers with the adequate postsecondary education to fulfill workforce needs. States have a vested interest in and obligation to create multiple pathways to college enrollment and credential attainment that fit the needs of their diverse populations, not…
Issue Brief
November 6, 2019

What Do Our Users Need?

An Evidence-Based Approach for Designing New Services

In the face of evolving user needs, many academic libraries are reimagining the services they offer. As instruction moves online, how can libraries best provide support for teaching and learning? As research becomes more reliant on data, computation, and collaboration, where can libraries best add value? As colleges welcome more diverse student populations and greater contingent faculty labor to campus, what is the library’s role? As budgets shrink, how should a library prioritize which resources and services to provide?…
Issue Brief
October 2, 2019

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

In response to the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, states reduced their expenditures on many public services and goods, including substantial cuts to higher education spending. Despite a strong economic recovery since the Great Recession and significant increases in student enrollment, most states’ spending on higher education has not returned to pre-recession levels. Reductions in state spending and rising costs have led a number of public colleges and universities to increase tuition, making college less affordable for many students…
Issue Brief
June 12, 2019

Setting a North Star

Motivations, Implications, and Approaches to State Postsecondary Attainment Goals

Higher education attainment goals can serve as a “north star” to guide states’ postsecondary policies, investments, and agendas. The extent to which state attainment goals lead to substantive improvements in college-going rates, college graduation rates, postsecondary credential attainment rates, and reductions in labor market skills gaps is as yet unclear. Further, the likelihood a state will meet its attainment goals varies by state and depends on contextual factors that are within and outside the purview of the education sector. In…
Issue Brief
June 6, 2019

What’s a Collection Anyway?

In 1953, Kenneth J. Braugh stated that the mission of Harvard’s library was to collect and preserve everything. Those days are long gone. For the last couple of decades, given the rapid expansion of scholarly content sources and types, even the best-funded research libraries have become cognizant that a comprehensive collection is an unattainable vision. Nevertheless, many research library mission statements continue to give prominence to their role in making the world’s knowledge accessible to a wide range of user…
Issue Brief
May 13, 2019

Data Communities

A New Model for Supporting STEM Data Sharing

As organizations and initiatives designed to promote STEM data sharing multiply – within, across, and outside academic institutions – there is a pressing need to decide strategically on the best ways to move forward. Central to this decision is the issue of scale. Is data sharing best assessed and supported on an international or national scale? By broad academic sector (engineering, biomedical)? By discipline? On a university-by-university basis? Or using another unit of analysis altogether? To the extent that there…
Issue Brief
April 9, 2019

Challenges to Higher Education’s Most Essential Purposes

In his 2000 Romanes Lecture, entitled “At a Slight Angle to the Universe, the University in a Digitized, Commercialized Age,” William Bowen anticipated many of the challenges higher education faces today. His incisive summary of the most important purposes of higher education offers a useful framework for assessing how higher education is fulfilling its uniquely important role supporting a vibrant democratic society. Those responsible for higher education’s well-being, including presidents, administrators, trustees, faculty, and government policy makers, would do well…
Issue Brief
April 9, 2019

Technology, Georgia Tech, and the Future of Learning

An Interview with Charles Isbell

I invited Charles Isbell, Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech to join me at the October 2018 Bowen Colloquium, a forward-looking gathering of college and university presidents and other leaders. In addition to his work in Artificial Intelligence, Professor Isbell is the Associate Dean in the College of Computing responsible for overseeing Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS). Our conversation covered a wide area, from the unsustainable costs of traditional modes of instruction to his…