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Research Report
September 26, 2018

The First-Year Experience in Two-Year Public Postsecondary Programs

Results of a National Survey

A student’s first year at a new college is a critically important period—academically, socio-emotionally, personally, and professionally. Whether transitioning from high school, other postsecondary education, or the labor market, students often need to adjust to a myriad of changes beyond just the new academic environment. They may be relocating, starting a new job in order to pay for tuition and living expenses, or facing new demands as they balance family responsibilities, work, and school deadlines. Students learn to navigate new…
Research Report
September 20, 2018

Interrogating Institutional Practices in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Lessons and Recommendations from Case Studies in Eight Art Museums

In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and Ithaka S+R found that the staff composition of museums in the United States is not remotely representative of the country’s population....In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of…
Research Report
September 19, 2018

CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction II

Evaluation Report for the Second Course Iteration

Introduction The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction began in 2014 with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to determine if small, independent colleges could collaborate in developing online, upper-level humanities courses that would give students at these institutions a broader range of courses from which to choose. The success of the first Consortium (2014–2016) motivated the Mellon Foundation to support a second Consortium that was formed in the summer of 2016 with…
Research Report
August 13, 2018

Amplifying Student Voices

The Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success Project

The Community College Libraries & Academic Support for Student Success (CCLASSS) project examines student goals, challenges, and needs from the student perspective. Through this project, we aim to provide community colleges and their libraries with strategic intelligence on how to adapt their services to most effectively meet student needs. In spring 2018, we conducted semi-structured interviews with students at seven partner community colleges on student objectives and goals, definitions of success, challenges faced, and coursework practices. Key findings Across…
Research Report
July 19, 2018

Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings

Several years ago, we set out to better understand how both library acquisition practices and the distribution patterns of publishers and vendors were evolving over time.[1] Within the academic publishing community, there is a sense that academic libraries are acquiring fewer and fewer books and that university presses are struggling amid declining sales. The latter may certainly be true—a recent UK study found that between 2005 and 2014, retail sales of academic books dropped by 13 percent…
Research Report
June 27, 2018

The Talent Blind Spot

The Case for Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions

In addition to expanding access and enhancing educational quality, there is a compelling economic case to be made for increasing transfer students. Specifically, supporting community college transfer pathways may offer four-year colleges a financially sustainable strategy to provide an affordable education to substantially more low- and moderate-income students.
Research Report
June 21, 2018

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Asian Studies Scholars

Executive Summary Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services Program investigates how the research support needs of scholars vary by discipline and includes reports on history, chemistry, art history, religious studies, agriculture, and public health. In 2017-2018, Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of Asian studies scholars conducting research through U.S. institutions. This project was undertaken collaboratively with research teams at 11 academic libraries with the goal of identifying services to better support Asian studies scholars. This report…
Research Report
May 22, 2018

College and University Endowments

In the Public Interest?

The fact that a handful of colleges and universities control billions of dollars in endowment funds has captured the attention of Congress and the public. Is it in the public interest for these institutions to continue to receive the full exemption from income taxation for the donations to and income from endowments?[1] The passage of the recent federal tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which imposes an excise tax of 1.4 percent on the net investment…
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Research Report
April 4, 2018

Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPS)

Evaluation Findings from the First Year of Implementation

In 2015, estimated bachelor’s degree attainment rates by age 24 were nearly five times greater for those from the highest family income quartile than for those from the lowest quartile (58 percent vs. 12 percent). Lower graduation rates of low-income students are not fully explained by lack of academic preparation, and a growing number of research studies attribute this achievement gap, at least in part, to low-income students’ lack of “institutional know-how”—their ability to navigate the complex bureaucracies that characterize…
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Free Speech, Student Activism, and Social Media

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“We don’t invite people here [to speak] because we agree with them. The right question, well phrased, can be far more effective than preventing people from speaking.” —William G. Bowen, quoted in Priscilla Van Tassel, “Bowen Reviews His Years at Princeton,” The New York Times, November 29, 1987…
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Technology in Higher Education

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“Properly conceived, information technology will enhance, but not replace, traditional modes of teaching and learning. It will also permit the delivery of educational content to a wider variety of others interested in subjects that lend themselves to distance learning – at home and at odd hours.” —William G. Bowen, “At a Slight Angle to the Universe: The University in a Digitized, Commercialized Age,” Romanes Lecture, Oxford University, October 17, 2000.
Research Report
February 28, 2018

Postsecondary Access and Diversity

Reflections from the Bowen Colloquium on Higher Education Leadership

“[T]he twin problems before us are, first, an unacceptably stagnant level of overall educational attainment in spite of historically high returns to degree completion and, second, persistent disparities in BA completion rates by socio-economic status. The two are, as it were, linked at the hip because we can’t achieve significant increases in the overall level of educational attainment unless we do a better job of graduating students from poor families and from Hispanic and African American populations.” —William G. Bowen,…
Research Report
January 29, 2018

Faculty Collaboration and Technology in the Liberal Arts

Lessons from a Teagle Grant Program

In response to enrollment and revenue declines, residential liberal arts programs are seeking ways to contain costs and build institutional capacity, while maintaining the quality of a liberal arts education. Some institutions have banded together to form robust consortia to share resources and distribute burdens. And some of these consortia have focused their efforts on the creation and use of online teaching resources and courses, hypothesizing that doing so will increase institutional capacity to provide educational offerings at a fraction…
Research Report
December 14, 2017

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Public Health Scholars

Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services Program investigates how the research support needs of scholars vary by discipline. In 2016-2017 Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of public health scholars conducting research through U.S. institutions. This project was undertaken collaboratively with research teams at seven academic libraries with the goal of identifying services to better support public health scholars. This report aims to provide actionable findings for the organizations, institutions, and professionals who support the research process of…
Research Report
October 31, 2017

Higher Ed Insights: Results of the Spring 2017 Survey

In May and June of 2017, we surveyed the Ithaka S+R Higher Ed Insights panel—164 senior leaders and experts at colleges and universities, associations, research groups, and philanthropies—about the state of higher education and the likely impact of recent events and trends. While respondents were generally positive about the state of undergraduate education in the United States, they expressed urgency about the need to improve degree completion rates, the quality of student learning, and affordability for students. Respondents’ reactions to…
Research Report
October 5, 2017

Save America’s Treasures: Impact and Lessons

As part of the National Historic Preservation Fund, Save America’s Treasures awarded nearly 500 grants between 1999 and 2010 through the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to preserve collections that embody the American story. The collections contain major parts of the nation’s artistic, social, and intellectual history.  The impact of these grants has not been assessed in any comprehensive way, and one of the…
Research Report
September 19, 2017

CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction II

Evaluation Report for First Course Iteration

The CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction began in 2014 with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The success of the first Consortium motivated the Mellon Foundation to support a second Consortium that was formed in the summer of 2016 with teams of faculty members and administrators from 21 institutions that were selected through a competitive process.[1] Each institution is represented by a four-member team including a senior academic administrator, two full-time faculty members in the…
Research Report
August 30, 2017

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: Members of the Association of Research Libraries

Employee Demographics and Director Perspectives

The library community considers diversity to be a core value.[1] But, the academic library sector has struggled with addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion. One key shortcoming has been in its efforts to ensure representative numbers of library employees of color.[2] In recent years, many academic librarians and observers of academic libraries have worked toward understanding this issue and the shortcomings of efforts to diversify, focusing on staffing, library education, and advocacy for diversity and social justice…
Research Report
June 8, 2017

Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education

The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform

The American higher education sector is diverse and creative. In 2014-15, the sector produced over 1 million associate’s degrees, nearly 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, over 758,000 master’s degrees, and over 178,000 doctoral degrees.[1] The world leader in innovation for decades, the sector continues to produce cutting edge research and contributes mightily to the American economy. Recent estimates concluded that the United States spends a larger percentage of GDP on higher education than any other country.[2] But…
Research Report
June 7, 2017

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Agriculture Scholars

For America’s land-grant universities, agriculture is a field of bedrock historical importance and vital current relevance. While it is sometimes perceived by the general public as a field to help small farmers modernize, today it also includes advanced genetic research, economic and policy issues around  food security, and deep engagement with climate change. As a rich interdisciplinary field at the heart of so many research universities, the practices and needs of agriculture are of interest to many. For that reason,…