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tag: Liberal arts colleges

Blog Post
January 29, 2018

Facing Declining Enrollment, Liberal Arts Colleges Turn to New Modes of Instruction

Lessons from a Teagle Grant Program

Over each of the past five years, the total number of undergraduate students in the United States has declined. There are multiple potential reasons for this trend: rising tuition, questions about the value of a postsecondary education, and shifting demographics have all likely contributed. While the impact of this trend has been felt across higher education institutions, private liberal arts colleges have been hit particularly hard, as have liberal arts programs offered at public institutions, marked by a…
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…
Blog Post
August 23, 2017

Innovation through Collaboration

Checking in on the CIC’s Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

In today’s economic climate, where there is an increasing demand from students and families for academic programs that are likely to lead to well-paying jobs, the pressure to innovate is high for many higher education institutions. This pressure is especially high for small independent colleges when part of the innovation discussion involves the restructuring of existing course offerings to increase enrollment and reduce instructional costs – which may run counter to their longstanding mission of offering small classes and providing…
Blog Post
September 15, 2016

Online Courses Meet Specialized Needs of Small, Independent Colleges

The Council of Independent Colleges, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, invited its 700 members to apply to be part of the Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction. Even though the hallmark of CIC member institutions is their personalized learning for their students in small classroom settings, many of them wanted to understand more about online learning as it was receiving so much press coverage at the time. Twenty-one institutions were selected from 100 applications in the spring of…
Research Report
September 15, 2016

CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

Evaluation Report for Second Course Iteration Treatment

The Council of Independent Colleges, a membership organization of more than 700 institutions, aims to support independent colleges and universities and their leaders as they advance institutional excellence and help the public understand private education’s contributions to society. CIC members, historically, have taken considerable pride in their offerings of highly personalized instruction for their students. As online learning began to be discussed in the mainstream media, CIC members considered the implications of this new form of pedagogy for their institutions.
Blog Post
January 21, 2016

Love and Measurement: Online Learning in Small, Independent Colleges

Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and interim chairman of the department of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on January 17 in which he argues that measurement in both the health care and education industries has failed us. He concludes by saying, “The secret of quality is love.” He worried that our efforts to measure and improve quality somehow block the altruism that motivates both doctors and teachers to do their…
Blog Post
November 16, 2015

Having the “Online Learning Discussion” with Faculty

Ithaka S+R has been working with the Council of Independent Colleges for nearly two years in creating a consortium for online learning in the humanities. We have written extensively about the project, in a previous blog post, a report on the findings after the first year of the program, and a case study in which we featured a few faculty from the project and their experiences with the program. Last week, the Council of Independent Colleges held…
Blog Post
November 4, 2015

A New Frontier for Online Learning

Upper Level Humanities Courses at Small Colleges

As students and their families have become increasingly value-conscious, and competition has heated up, the presidents of small, independent colleges have had to find ways to reduce costs, increase enrollments, or both.  These pressures have often meant curricular changes. The humanities have been hit hard by these trends. As the number of humanities majors has declined, small colleges have struggled to maintain a robust humanities course catalog—and, in particular, a set of needed upper-level courses—for the majors that remain. The…
Case Study
November 4, 2015

Leveraging Technology for the Liberal Arts

The Council of Independent Colleges Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), created in 1956, is a membership organization of nearly 700 independent, non-profit colleges and universities. The organization exists to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. To achieve these goals, CIC hosts and develops programs, seminars, and conferences that help institutions improve the quality of education, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. Economic pressures have forced presidents of independent colleges to…
Blog Post
October 20, 2015

Can Online Courses Make Humanities Courses More Accessible in Small, Independent Colleges?

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, established a Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction in 2014. Twenty-one colleges that constituted the consortium agreed to develop online or hybrid courses that could be shared by all participants in the consortium and had three major goals for this project: To provide an opportunity for CIC member institutions to build their capacity for online humanities instruction and share their successes with other liberal arts colleges. To…
Research Report
October 20, 2015

CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

Evaluation Report for First Course Iteration

Summary of Findings This report provides our preliminary analysis of evidence generated from the planning period and first iteration of CIC Consortium courses. It includes a summary of our findings, followed by a description and presentation of a good portion of the data for those interested in delving deeper. It is important to note that these courses finished very recently, and we (like the faculty members involved) are still processing what we have learned. We have amassed a considerable mass…
Blog Post
September 21, 2015

Double Trouble

Sweet Briar College and Cooper Union

Lawrence S. Bacow, president emeritus of Tufts University and leader in residence at the Harvard Kennedy School, and William G. Bowen, president emeritus of Princeton University and founding chairman of ITHAKA, have commented recently on the ill-fated interventions by state attorneys general into the operations of American colleges as they attempt to make strategic shifts to address imposing financial challenges. Today in our latest issue brief, Double Trouble: Sweet Briar College and Cooper Union, Bacow and Bowen share…
Blog Post
July 15, 2015

What Does the Future of Higher Education Look Like? It Depends Where You Sit

As part of a panel organized for the recent annual conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco, I was invited to talk about future trends in higher education. This was something of a fool’s errand, I realize, since we are bombarded every day by the media with higher education’s most pressing challenges and opportunities:   Low completion rates New pedagogies that meet more of today’s students’ needs—online learning, competency-based education, etc. Need for a higher education ecosystem…
Blog Post
February 10, 2015

Online Learning and Liberal Arts Colleges

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a recent Babson survey that found that “The most-drastic recent shift in the perceived importance of online education was at small colleges (i.e., those with fewer than 1,500 students). In 2012, 60 percent of academic leaders at small colleges said online education was strategically crucial. Now that number is 70 percent—nearly the same as at universities with more than 15,000 students.” What accounts for this shift? Practical considerations are surely a…
Blog Post
December 17, 2014

Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an…
Issue Brief
December 17, 2014

Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an…