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Topic: Educational Transformation

Issue Brief
July 21, 2021

Right in Your Backyard

Expanding Local Community College Transfer Pathways to High-Graduation-Rate Institutions

Each year, our country’s most selective four-year institutions invest significant resources to recruit talented high school students from across the country. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, admissions representatives traveled far and wide to convince these prospective students that the academic rigor, amenities, and opportunities at their institution are unparalleled. These students, mostly affluent and white, contemplate admission offers and consider moves to new locales to pursue their postsecondary plans. Yet, many of these selective institutions are overlooking a talented and diverse…
Upcoming Event
August 9, 2021

Martin Kurzweil at ASU+GSV

Program Director Martin Kurzweil will be attending ASU+GSV in San Diego, CA, Aug. 9-11. If you are attending and would like to schedule a meeting with Martin, please email him at martin.kurzweil@ithaka.org. For more information about the summit, please visit the event website.
Blog Post
July 16, 2021

Participate in Advancing Higher Education in Prison Research

Visit Ithaka S+R’s New Online Forum

Higher education in prison programming has entered a period of great opportunity and promise. In December 2020, the nation lifted a 26-year ban on need-based Pell Grants to incarcerated undergraduates. Over the next several years, the restoration of this federal funding stream will propel the expansion of college programming to many of the estimated half million Pell-eligible incarcerated adult learners. However, nuts-and-bolts questions persist, such as how best to scale high-quality educational programming…
Case Study
July 12, 2021

Using Equity Data to Guide the Design and Implementation of the New General Education Curriculum at Ohio State

In Fall 2020, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, established its newest community of practice (CoP) focused on academic equity. Together, the 37 CoP members explore topics related to creating equitable academic communities. One such area of focus is how institutions can more effectively utilize data to enhance their equity-related projects. In January 2021, members participated in a webinar discussion on this topic,…
Blog Post
July 8, 2021

Provocative, Productive, and Collaborative: The 2021 Academic Equity Summer Institute

We gratefully acknowledge the many individuals who devoted their time, energy, and expertise to the 2021 summer institute and the insights shared below, including Randall Bass, Heidi Elmendorf, Mark Joy, Susannah McGowan, and Brittany Toscano Gore of Georgetown University, Katie Brock and Ulili Emore of the University of Texas at Austin, and Nathaniel Holmes and Richard Peters of Xavier University of Louisiana. The ongoing work of the ATI academic equity community of practice would not be possible without them. Introduction…
Research Report
June 29, 2021

American Talent Initiative 2021

Third Annual Progress Report

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) brings together a coalition of four-year colleges and universities in pursuit of a common goal: enrolling, supporting, and graduating 50,000 additional lower-income students by 2025 at the colleges and universities that consistently graduate at least 70 percent of their students in six years. ATI’s third annual progress report provides a snapshot of progress—and setbacks. It comes at a time when a global pandemic has deepened inequality, and a national uprising against systemic racism has sharpened…
Blog Post
June 24, 2021

Four Years Later: Findings from a National Technology-Enhanced Advising Experiment

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and in many cases widened socioeconomic and other disparities in higher education, making evidence-based approaches that support underserved students more important than ever before. One project that aimed to promote equity and student success across a set of large, public universities is Monitoring Advising Analytics to Promote Success (MAAPS). In 2016, the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) and its institutional members began testing the effectiveness of MAAPS, an intervention consisting of intensive, proactive, technology-enhanced…
Research Report
June 24, 2021

MAAPS Advising Experiment

Evaluation Findings after Four Years

Acknowledgements This project is generously funded by a US Department of Education First in the World validation grant,[1] with additional support from Arnold Ventures. We thank the project principal investigator, Dr. Timothy Renick of Georgia State University, for inviting Ithaka S+R to serve as its independent evaluator and for being an invaluable thought and project partner. We would like to acknowledge the key role of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), which inspired the project by…
Issue Brief
May 26, 2021

Different Approaches to Piloting Advising Technology

Comparing Webster University and West Virginia State University

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, due to hurdles such as overwhelming caseloads and limited interdepartmental communication, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. The barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. In fact, the institutions that serve…
Blog Post
May 25, 2021

Using Data to Advance Equity in the Academic Experience

A New American Talent Initiative Case Study Series

We’re excited to announce the first publication in a new case study series from the American Talent Initiative’s Academic Equity Community of Practice, highlighting the ways in which colleges and universities have leveraged data and evidence-based research to enhance equity-related projects on their respective campuses. In Fall 2020, 37 members of the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding…
Issue Brief
May 25, 2021

Using Data to Fuel Inclusive Excellence at Virginia Tech

In Fall 2020, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an alliance of high-graduation-rate colleges and universities committed to expanding access and opportunity for low- and middle-income students, established its newest community of practice (CoP) focused on academic equity. Together, the 37 CoP members explore topics related to creating equitable academic communities. One such area of focus is how institutions can more effectively utilize data to enhance equity-related projects. In January 2021, members participated in a webinar discussion on this topic, during…
Blog Post
May 4, 2021

A State-by-State Snapshot of Stranded Credits Data and Policy

As the higher education sector begins to address the adverse effects of the pandemic on enrollment, institutions and policymakers alike have begun to turn their attention to a pernicious form of debt that could be preventing over six million students, especially low-income students and students of color, from re-enrolling and earning their degrees. This form of debt prevents students from accessing their transcripts at institutions they attended in the past, leading those previously earned credits to become “stranded” at…
Issue Brief
March 26, 2021

The Many Facets of Faculty Involvement in the Implementation Process

A Case Study of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Advising undergraduate students on how to succeed in their academics, careers, and life is one of the most common practices in higher education. Advising is also something that many institutions struggle to resource or coordinate sufficiently, potentially leaving students without needed support on their paths to successful program completion. The barriers to a successful college experience are not borne equally across higher education. In fact, the institutions that serve the highest proportions of students from historically minoritized backgrounds (including low-income,…
Blog Post
March 19, 2021

Current Developments in Addressing the Legacy of Slavery in Higher Ed

In two recent blog posts, I discussed the origins, findings, and repercussions of a first wave of college and university efforts to surface and address institutional entanglement with American slavery. More recently, following the national protests sparked by the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, many colleges and universities have responded to student demands calling for reform by committing to anti-racist actions to amend past injuries of institutional racism. In this post, I discuss current developments and…
Issue Brief
March 15, 2021

Federal Policies for Increasing Socioeconomic Diversity at Selective Colleges and Universities

Earning a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important to an individual’s longer-term economic prospects. Communities, at all levels, also benefit when their members earn postsecondary credentials, through improved economic, social, and health outcomes. Yet, despite an increase in college participation over the last two decades, severe inequities in bachelor’s degree attainment remain; inequities that often leave lower-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students with debt and no or low-value credentials. With Democrats coalescing around a number of federal…
Issue Brief
March 11, 2021

Homeless and Foster Youth, Racial Inequity, and Policy Shifts for Systemic Change

Each year, roughly 4.2 million young people experience homelessness, and more than 600,000 children interact with the foster care system nationwide.[1] Although youth homelessness and foster care are distinct experiences, many youth will crossover between these two groups. Both groups also face similar challenges, including highly unstable living environments, food insecurity, and often gaps in educational achievement and attainment. While the legal definition of youth homelessness varies across states and targeted policies, the Department of Education defines homeless…
Blog Post
February 11, 2021

Accountability and Reconciliation: Higher Ed’s Fraught History of Slavery 

The aftermath of the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others has led many colleges and universities to consider how the legacies of slavery and systemic racism have shaped and impacted their institutions. As more institutions consider the lasting effects of slavery, there are lessons and strategies that could be learned from institutions that began these historical inquiries of slavery and racism before 2020. In a previous blog, I described the origins, processes, and findings of these efforts.
Blog Post
January 26, 2021

Higher Ed’s Reckoning with Slavery

Following the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, 2020 marked a watershed moment for nationwide discussions on systemic racism. This was true, too, for higher education: this year has sharpened the focus on the ways that historical legacies and current practices reinforce racial hierarchies. As more universities and colleges continue to detangle the lasting effects of systemic racism on their institutions, there is still much to learn about how institutions have reckoned with their own institutional histories of…
Blog Post
January 19, 2021

A New Report Examining the Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances

Over the past two years, Ithaka S+R, in partnership with the Joyce Foundation, has examined the role of state policy in ensuring postsecondary access and opportunity for all students. In a newly released research paper, we build on our previous work and make the economic case for states to increase their attainment rates. To reap the benefits of their investments in increased attainment, we recommend that state leaders increase investment into historically underserved students, adopt progressive tax…
Issue Brief
January 19, 2021

It’s Complicated

The Relationship between Postsecondary Attainment and State Finances

Increased college-going and attainment comes with a host of benefits for individuals and society. A college credential is associated with increased civic engagement, volunteering, happiness, life satisfaction, and better health and wellness, as well as lower incarceration rates and reliance on social services. In addition to the host of nonpecuniary benefits of higher education, there is a direct link between both college access and attainment and students’ future economic outcomes. For example, students with test scores just above the eligibility…