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Issue Brief
April 12, 2016

Issues Facing Major Research Universities at a Time of Stress AND Opportunity

This Issue Brief presents the lightly edited text of William G. Bowen’s keynote address at the Rutgers University 250th Anniversary Presidential Symposium on Higher Education, delivered in New Brunswick, NJ, on April 7, 2016. I would like to begin by acknowledging some of my many debts to Rutgers. My wife and I both have Rutgers degrees, hers an earned Master’s Degree and mine one of the “unearned” kind. Beyond that, as a close neighbor of Rutgers for many years, living…
Issue Brief
September 21, 2015

Double Trouble

Sweet Briar College and Cooper Union

Sometimes, large lessons can be learned from the travails of small institutions. This is, we believe, true of the dramatic sagas of two very different private educational institutions: Sweet Briar College in Virginia and The Cooper Union in New York. The near-demise of Sweet Briar (now attempting to renew itself, but with uncertain prospects) and the struggles of Cooper Union (with big issues of both policy and governance) have much to teach us about the challenges facing both many small…
Issue Brief
October 13, 2014

Technology: Its Potential Impact on the National Need to Improve Educational Outcomes and Control Costs

On Monday, October 13, 2014, William G. Bowen delivered the opening address at Rice University's De Lange Conference, "Technology: Its Potential Impact On The National Need To Improve Educational Outcomes And Control Costs." We are pleased to publish it here as an Ithaka S+R issue brief. Bowen, who is president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and also president emeritus of Princeton University, was the founding chairman of JSTOR/ITHAKA and continues to serve on ITHAKA's board. The paper explores…
Research Report
May 22, 2012

Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities

Evidence from Randomized Trials

Online learning is quickly gaining in importance in U.S. higher education, but little rigorous evidence exists as to its effect on student learning outcomes. In "Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials," we measure the effect on learning outcomes of a prototypical interactive learning online (ILO) statistics course by randomly assigning students on six public university campuses to take the course in a hybrid format (with machine-guided instruction accompanied by one hour of face-to-face instruction each week)…
Research Report
May 1, 2012

Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education

This Ithaka S+R report is a landscape review of important developments in online learning today. It is the first in a series that will provide leaders in higher education with lessons learned from existing online learning efforts to help accelerate productive use of these systems in the future. The goal of this research was to understand what benefits colleges and universities expect from online learning technologies, what barriers they face in implementing them, and how these technologies might be best…