Skip to Main Content

tag: Mellon Foundation

Blog Post
September 29, 2020

A Novel Approach to Studying and Measuring a Liberal Education and its Economic Value

In response to growing public skepticism about the value of a liberal education, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a series of studies investigating the long-term effects of a liberal education on various outcomes such as health, civic engagement, and cognitive development. Ithaka S+R’s first contribution to the series was a study published in 2019 examining the economic benefits and costs of a liberal education, as this…
Research Report
September 29, 2020

Measuring a Liberal Education and its Relationship with Labor Market Outcomes

An Exploratory Analysis

The liberal arts and sciences has been a prominent feature of the United States higher education system for centuries, yet it has faced waves of public skepticism since the 1930s. Today, the value of a liberal education is constantly disputed, and colleges and universities face increasing pressure to justify their use of its practices on their campuses. To better understand the value and benefits of the liberal arts and sciences, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a series of…
Blog Post
August 17, 2020

Teaching with Cultural Heritage Online During the Pandemic

New Mellon-Funded Project

Today we are excited to announce a new project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will explore how teaching and learning with cultural heritage collections and materials is evolving in response to the pandemic. Instructors who seek to use cultural heritage objects from museums, archives, and special collections face unique challenges when adapting to remote teaching. What is needed is deeper understanding of, and better support for these instructors in this current moment.  This…
Blog Post
March 3, 2020

Facilitating a Student-Based Approach to Higher Education in Prison Research

New Project Will Convene Diverse Stakeholders Around a Postsecondary Prison Research Infrastructure

In recent years, discourse surrounding postsecondary education in US prisons has grown substantially in both academic and political circles. Despite disagreement among stakeholders in this space over the specific goals of postsecondary education in prison, there is widespread agreement that quality postsecondary prison programming holds significant promise for incarcerated individuals and society as a whole. Recent figures, however, show that access to postsecondary coursework in prison is incredibly…
Blog Post
September 12, 2019

How Can Academic Libraries and University Museums Effectively Collaborate?

Ithaka S+R is conducting a study on the relationship between academic libraries and campus museums, looking specifically at how they are governed and structured. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are in the process of inviting forty universities to participate, and over the Fall will interview the directors of both their museum and library in order to learn more about how these campus units operate in relation to the university and to one another.  …
Blog Post
July 30, 2019

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion through the Rare Book School

I’m thrilled to share that Ithaka S+R will be serving as an evaluator on the The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage, a six-year program which aims to advance multicultural collections through innovative and inclusive curatorial practice and leadership at the Rare Book School. Through this fellowship, 45 fellows who identify with diverse racial or ethnic communities and/or who work primarily with collections that document minority, immigrant,…
Blog Post
March 21, 2019

Understanding the Value of the Liberal Arts

Last year, Catharine Bond Hill and Elizabeth Davidson Pisacreta undertook a study on the economic benefits and costs of a liberal arts education on behalf of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As they note in the report, critics claim that the value of a liberal arts education–in terms of both the increasing costs to delivering higher education and in students’ diminished earnings–is limited, especially compared to alternative…
Blog Post
January 29, 2019

National Study Examines How Book Acquisitions at Academic Libraries Have Evolved

Library Acquisition Patterns

Academic books are an important part of scholarship and have traditionally been integral to academic libraries as they develop collections to support the research needs of students and faculty members. However, as library budgets shrink and students and scholars turn toward away from the liberal arts, university presses and other associated organizations have begun to express concern that book sales are in decline. But another phenomenon started happening simultaneously in this industry: Amazon began selling academic books, competing for customers…
Research Report
January 29, 2019

Library Acquisition Patterns

The Library Acquisition Patterns (LAP) project was undertaken with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with the aim of examining trends in US academic libraries’ book purchasing. The findings of this report consist of two distinct areas: 1) an analysis of library book acquisitions within the specified sample for fiscal year 2017 at 124 US academic institutions, and 2) a trend line analysis of print and e-books acquired within the specified sample, the university press presence in these…
Blog Post
January 28, 2019

Museums Grow More Diverse, But Change is Uneven

Today we are pleased to announce the publication of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018. In partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ithaka S+R has conducted a study of the demographics of the art museum field. This report builds on findings from the  Art Museum Demographic Survey we conducted in 2015, showing that, while some meaningful progress has been made towards…
Research Report
January 28, 2019

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018

In order to gauge the extent to which progress has been made since 2015 towards increasing staff diversity in art museums, in 2018 we undertook a second iteration of the demographic survey. At a high level, the study has found some meaningful progress in the representation of people of color in a number of different museum functions, including the curatorial. We also found an increase in the number of women in museum leadership positions from 2015 to 2018. Nevertheless, the…
Blog Post
October 18, 2018

Universities Are Changing and So Are Their Libraries

New Report from OCLC Research and Ithaka S+R

OCLC Research and Ithaka S+R, both known for exploring the implications for libraries of changes taking place in higher education, joined forces to work on a research project, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that examines variations in institutional missions and how those missions affect the services offered to library users. The resulting report, University Futures, Library Futures: Aligning Library Strategies with Institutional Directions, has just been published. Our hope is that both academic administrators and librarians…
Blog Post
September 20, 2018

Improving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Art Museums

New Report Synthesizes Findings from Eight Case Studies

Over the past year, Ithaka S+R and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have partnered in a major qualitative study of equity, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement in art museums. In this project, which was conducted through detailed case studies of eight art museums, we did not find a panacea. Our work, however, finds that these eight museums have followed an array of common strategies, and through ongoing hard work have made a meaningful…
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…
Case Study
September 20, 2018

Free for All: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Upon its founding in 1948, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) was the first museum devoted to contemporary art in the region. Since its inception, this 16,000 square foot gallery, located between the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and Rice University, has responded to its rich environmental context. Houston has long been known for its remarkably diverse population, as well as its contributions to civil liberties, from Smith vs. Allwright in 1944, which ended the common practice of “white…
Case Study
September 20, 2018

Becoming a Public Square: Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts Facade, Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts Located in midtown Detroit’s cultural center, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is one of the largest encyclopedic museums in the country, housing nearly 66,000 works of art. From the outside, described by many of its staff as looking like a castle on a hill, one would not guess at the museum’s turbulent history, stemming from a complex relationship with the city of Detroit. Today,…
Blog Post
August 23, 2018

Announcing the 2018 Demographic Survey of Art Museum Employees

In 2014, Ithaka S+R partnered with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to study the representational diversity within art museums through quantitative means. Today, four years after the first study, we are undertaking a second cycle of the demographic survey, to measure what we hope will be positive change in the field. The initial demographic survey arose from a growing concern that cultural organizations are struggling…
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…
Case Study
June 7, 2018

At Fifty, Remodeling for Equity

MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Chicago) occupies a premier location in Chicago’s downtown. Situated in the city’s historic Gold Coast, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, the museum is buffered by two public parks, which grant it a view of Lake Michigan.[1] It is the largest contemporary arts museum in the country, with around 140 full-time and 200 part-time staff, and almost 3,000 works in its permanent collection. In 2017, MCA Chicago celebrated…
Case Study
June 7, 2018

Small but Mighty: Spelman College Museum

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is located on the serene campus of a prominent Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia. A women’s institution located in the Atlanta University Center, which also includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College is ranked as the top HBCU in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[1] The museum fits neatly within the scope of its host institution; its mission is…