Skip to Main Content

Publications

Research Report
November 7, 2019

Aligning Many Campuses and Instructors around a Common Adaptive Learning Courseware in Introductory Statistics

Lessons from a Multi-Year Pilot in Maryland

The Adaptive Learning in Statistics (ALiS) project was a multi-year pilot initiative in which faculty members from multiple two-year and four-year public institutions in Maryland used a common adaptive learning courseware in their introductory statistics courses and received training and instructional resources on an active learning and flipped classroom pedagogical approach. The project was organized and led by Ithaka S+R in collaboration with Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math), the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation at the…
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?…
Research Report
October 24, 2019

Surveying Community College Students

Strategies for Maximizing Engagement and Increasing Participation

Higher education researchers need to employ effective outreach methods in order to connect with the populations they study. For surveys in particular, low response rates can lead to non-response error, decreasing generalizability and representativeness. To combat these issues, Ithaka S+R has developed and tested a suite of outreach strategies that we have employed over the past two decades in our long-running national faculty survey as well as our local surveys of faculty and students.[1] In fall 2018, we surveyed students…
Playbook
October 17, 2019

Unlocking the Power of Collaboration

How to Develop a Successful Collaborative Network in and around Higher Education

Recognizing that solutions to today’s complex problems go beyond the boundaries of a single organization or institution, some postsecondary education leaders and training providers are turning to a more focused and deeper level of collaboration to drive both individual and broader systemic change with potential for far-reaching social impact.
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…
Research Report
September 30, 2019

Student Needs Are Academic Needs

Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success

The Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success (CCLASSS) project examines student success from the perspective of students themselves, what challenges they face in achieving it, and what services can be developed to effectively support them in their attainment of that success. In fall 2018, we surveyed 10,844 students across seven community colleges to assess the value of and demand for proposed services designed to address students’ expressed goals, challenges, and needs.
Research Report
July 10, 2019

Organizing the Work of the Art Museum

The career trajectory of art museum directors typically gives them deep exposure to, at most, a handful of institutional settings. While museum directors connect through leadership meetings such as those we host at the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and thereby learn from one another, few have the opportunity to assemble a system-wide perspective on how changes in strategy might, or perhaps should, affect their institutional leadership. Given the strategic transformations that many art museums are undertaking or considering,…
Research Report
June 27, 2019

Technical Supplement – Interim Findings Report: MAAPS Advising Experiment

Overview Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPS) is a multi-institutional project of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), supported by a U.S. Department of Education First in the World Grant to Georgia State University, the lead UIA member on this project. MAAPS is a large-scale randomized-controlled trial designed to validate the effectiveness of technology-enhanced proactive advisement in increasing retention, progression, and achievement for low-income and first-generation college students. Addressing documented obstacles to college completion that disproportionately impact at-risk populations,…
Research Report
June 27, 2019

Interim Findings Report: MAAPS Advising Experiment

Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPS) is a multi-institutional project of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), supported by a U.S. Department of Education First in the World Grant to Georgia State University, a UIA member. The large-scale, randomized-controlled trial was designed to test and validate the effectiveness of technology-enhanced, proactive advisement in increasing retention, progression, and achievement for incoming low-income and first-generation college students. The MAAPS intervention was officially launched during the Fall 2016 term at the 11 institutions…
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…
Research Report
May 30, 2019

Unbarring Access

A Landscape Review of Postsecondary Education in Prison and Its Pedagogical Supports

Postsecondary education in US prisons is a growing topic in both academic and political circles. While much of the discourse surrounding higher education more broadly focuses on students’ educational and employment outcomes, the conversation around postsecondary education in prisons often centers on the societal benefits of this programming, with a strong focus on reduced recidivism rates – the rates with which formerly incarcerated individuals engage in criminal acts that result in their re-arrest, re-conviction, or re-incarceration. With 1.5 million people…
Research Report
May 15, 2019

Better Than We Thought

Comparing Publicly Available Data on College Students’ Income Distribution

In this report, we compare and contrast three datasets—IPEDS, CDS, and Opportunity Insights—for various categories of public and private four-year institutions, in the aggregate. We find that, when grouping students who do not receive federal financial aid—whose income is therefore unknown—with students in the top income category, the IPEDS income distribution is very similar to the Opportunity Insights income distribution at this aggregate level. Furthermore, comparing IPEDS data with CDS data provides insights about which students benefit from institutional financial…
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…
Research Report
April 12, 2019

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018

The Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey has tracked the changing research, teaching, and publishing practices of higher education faculty members on a triennial basis since 2000. Our aim in this project is to provide actionable findings and analysis to help colleges and universities as well as relevant support services, such as academic libraries, learned societies, and scholarly publishers, plan for the future.
Research Report
April 11, 2019

When Research is Relational

Supporting the Research Practices of Indigenous Studies Scholars

In 2017 Ithaka S+R launched a project to explore the changing research methods and practices of Indigenous Studies scholars across Canada and the US with the goal of identifying services to better support them in ways that are also beneficial to Indigenous communities more broadly. The project was undertaken by a cohort of research teams at 11 academic libraries with guidance from a group of advisors comprised of Indigenous scholars and librarians. Each research team in the cohort developed findings…
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…
Issue Brief
April 4, 2019

The Market, the American Dream, or Dreams of the Lottery

The Robert H. Atwell Plenary Address, ACE 2019

This paper was originally presented on March 10, 2019, as the Robert H. Atwell Plenary Address at ACE 2019 in Philadelphia. The income disparity in our country has been growing for 40 years, and this increasing inequality is putting pressure on the social cohesion of our nation. Commitment to our country’s institutions, including colleges and universities, and values, including equal opportunity and economic and social mobility, depends on everyone feeling that these institutions and values serve their welfare and their…
Tags:
Issue Brief
March 6, 2019

Restructuring Library Collaboration

Strategy, Membership, Governance

Academic libraries typically serve individual higher education institutions, yet their objectives require that they achieve greater negotiating power, more efficient distribution of collections, and stronger systems and services than even the largest academic library can provide itself. As a result, academic libraries have sought for more than a century to generate cross-institutional scale. In this paper, I examine efforts to generate that scale, including consortia and other membership organizations, which collectively I term “collaborative vehicles.” Yet collaboration is not good…