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Topic: Educational Transformation

Blog Post
May 4, 2020

Constructive Disruption in Higher Education

Every college and university is having conversations about what to do for the fall term, if not the summer, and considerations and decisions are slowly being made public, with understandable caveats. Even as approaches emerge, one thing should be top of mind: institutions have the opportunity to reconsider the familiar modes of both teaching and learning, and in doing so, improve the efficacy of both. This is not…
Blog Post
April 27, 2020

Online Learning During COVID-19

Digital and Educational Divides Have Similar Boundaries

In 2018, nearly 78 percent of households in America had a desktop or laptop computer and 74 percent had a broadband Internet subscription, a significant increase in digital access over the last two decades. Yet, millions of Americans are without access, and the distribution is wildly uneven across geographic regions (as well as demographic subgroups). A digital divide has existed in America for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed it and made it more relevant than ever…
Blog Post
April 23, 2020

Going Test-Optional with Equity in Mind 

Colleges and universities across the nation are revisiting nearly every aspect of their operations in order to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of SAT and ACT administration changes and cancellations, at least 70 colleges and university systems have implemented test-optional policies, which either eliminate the requirement for prospective students to submit standardized test scores or…
Blog Post
April 17, 2020

State Higher Education Policy is Essential to Economic Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has massively disrupted our health, our society, and our economy. State policymakers are appropriately focused on addressing the most urgent needs of their residents. Soon, though, policy and budget decisions will arise that will affect the economic prosperity of states for years to come. Ensuring the vitality of public higher education must be core to those decisions. Public higher education is very much at risk. In the shorter-term, many public colleges and universities will face severe declines…
Blog Post
April 10, 2020

Planning for the Recovery: Advice from a Former College President

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a sudden stall on social and economic activities throughout the world, dramatically changing our lives in just a matter of a few weeks, and increasingly raising concerns about a possible years-long recession. Now entering a month into what is becoming an ever more routine reality of teaching, learning, and working from home, colleges and universities are beginning to transition from the emergent need to preserve health and safety…
Blog Post
April 9, 2020

COVID-19: Incorporating the Student Perspective into Institutional Decision-Making

Over the past month, higher education has faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of colleges and universities–large and small, two- and four-year–and more than 22 million students are impacted in the U.S. alone. Many institutions have closed their campuses, moved instruction online, changed their admissions timelines, and modified their financial aid policies; they are now contemplating whether to invite students back to campus in the fall. Decisions already made and…
Blog Post
April 3, 2020

Federal Relief Opportunities for Small Colleges and Universities

Update April 10, 2020:  Since launching its relief programs on April 3, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has clarified that students employed by the institution should be counted as employees when determining eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (discussed below). As a result, many small colleges and universities may now exceed the 500-employee maximum and will no longer qualify for assistance through these programs. An institution with more than 500 employees may still be eligible…
Blog Post
March 13, 2020

Getting Online: Lessons from Liberal Arts Colleges

Many of the colleges and universities that are transitioning away from face-to-face courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are residential institutions that have not historically provided widespread online instruction. Through multi-year evaluations of the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction and the Teagle Foundation’s Hybrid Learning and the Residential Liberal Arts Experience program, Ithaka S+R has worked with similar…
Blog Post
March 13, 2020

COVID-19 and American Higher Education

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to many colleges and universities moving to remote courses for an indefinite period, including in many cases for the rest of the spring semester. Many residential colleges are sending students home, advising them to assume classes on campus will not resume this spring, but instead will continue online. Colleges and universities with more commuter students have also moved to remote learning.  CUNY and SUNY college students were informed by New York State Governor…
Case Study
March 13, 2020

Duke Kunshan University

A Case Study of Implementing Online Learning in Two Weeks

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led a large number of residential, primarily face-to-face American colleges and universities to shift to remote courses for indefinite periods of time. This is a major disruption to normal activities, with pedagogical, social, and economic consequences. It is also a significant organizational and change-management challenge, with a short timeline and no safety net. Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China was one of the first US-affiliated institutions that had to deal with this, given the…
Past Event
March 6, 2020

How to build an online global university in three weeks: webinar today

Kevin Guthrie and Catharine Bond Hill moderate this one-hour webinar on Duke Kunshan's Coronavirus Response

One month ago Duke Kunshan University made the decision to transition its courses online in response to the coronavirus outbreak in China. Online courses began just three weeks later. Teams in Kunshan and Durham worked together to quickly respond with technology and support for faculty and students. Now that other institutions worldwide are facing the prospect of campus closures and online transitions, Duke Kunshan and Duke are hosting this webinar and workshop to share some early reflections on lessons learned…
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
March 2, 2020

Second Convening on Improving College Opportunity for Veterans and Service Members 

Hosted by The College Board and Ithaka S+R

Even though veterans are more likely to earn a certificate or degree than adult learners and have higher GPAs compared to traditional students, many do not attend institutions that would give them the greatest chance of succeeding. Currently, only 10 percent of veterans using GI bill benefits attend institutions with graduation rates above 70 percent, compared to 21 percent of the general student…
Keynote Address
March 2, 2020

Improving College Opportunity for Veterans

Robert Caslen, president of the University of South Carolina and former superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, delivered the following address at “Improving College Opportunity for Veterans and Service Members,” a convening hosted by The College Board and Ithaka S+R on February 10-11, 2020, at John Hopkins University. Only one in ten student veterans is enrolling in the colleges and universities with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher. But the evidence indicates that many more…
Past Event
March 12, 2020

Unbarring Access to Higher Education in Prison

Danielle Cooper and Meagan Wilson at SXSW EDU

This event has been cancelled. On Thursday, March 12, from 2:00-3:00 pm, Danielle Cooper and Meagan Wilson will be discussing “Unbarring Access to Higher Education in Prison” as part of a panel at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas. They will be joined on the panel by Terrell Blount (Laughing Gull Foundation) and Jody Lewen (Prison University Project). For more information about the conference, please see the SXSW EDU website. About the panel Access to higher education in prison has…
Past Event
March 2, 2020

Martin Kurzweil at the Trusted Learner Network Unconference

Martin Kurzweil is participating in the inaugural gathering of the Trusted Learner Network (TLN) Community, taking place on March 2, in Scottsdale, Arizona The TLN is an effort Arizona State University has undertaken, through a technical collaboration with Salesforce, to build a secure, open-source approach to recording, curating, and sharing data on abilities plus skills across the learner’s lifespan. While new technologies like blockchain are sparking new possibilities, it will take human capacity (read: community) to advance significant, learner-centered…
Past Event
March 27, 2020

Comprehensive Advising for Student Success

Rayane Alamuddin and Martin Kurzweil at Institute for College Access & Success Convening

This event has been cancelled. On Friday, March 27, Rayane Alamuddin and Martin Kurzweil are taking part in the Comprehensive Advising for Student Success Convening hosted by the Institute for College Access & Success in Washington, DC. About the convening An increasing number of comprehensive student support strategies have demonstrated success in producing substantially higher rates of student progress and graduation. Join us in Washington, D.C. for an interactive day of discussion between researchers, practitioners, and policy professionals focused on…
Blog Post
February 19, 2020

American Talent Initiative on Track to Goal of 50,000 More Lower-Income Students by 2025

Comprehensive strategies at standout ATI schools point the way

The American Talent Initiative issued this press release today. Media Contacts: Keeley Smith, GMMB (, 253.651.8416); Linda Perlstein (, 202-339-7490) A national alliance of leading colleges and universities is on track to enroll 50,000 more students who receive federal Pell grants by 2025, a new report shows. The findings underscore the importance of the American Talent Initiative’s (ATI) collaborative push to expand opportunity for low- and moderate-income students across the country. Between 2015-16, the year before ATI launched, and…
Research Report
February 19, 2020

Expanding Opportunity for Lower-Income Students

Three Years of the American Talent Initiative

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) was formed in December 2016 to address a persistent issue—specifically, that the American colleges and universities with the greatest resources, and where students have the highest likelihood of graduating, have historically served far too few young people from low- and middle-income backgrounds. The American Talent Initiative has a goal to enroll an additional 50,000 low- and middle-income students at these institutions by the year 2025. ATI is on track to meet its goal. Between 2015-16,…
Blog Post
February 13, 2020

New Report and Forecasting Tool Shows States’ Progress towards Postsecondary Attainment Goals

A postsecondary credential has become a crucial qualification for individuals to pursue a meaningful career with a livable wage. As technology continues to reshape the nature of work, the core competencies gained through postsecondary education and strategic up-skilling by adult workers will be ever more important. States have a critical role to play in supporting their residents’ education and training, and a vested interest in seeing educational attainment increase. Recognizing this, and driven by initiatives of the Lumina Foundation and…