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Topic: Educational Transformation

Blog Post
November 30, 2022

Supporting Mobile Students to Credential Completion through Holistic Credit Mobility

People learn in more places than ever before—earning credits from high school or dual enrollment courses, picking up certifications for job advancement, gaining experience through the military, and more. While many colleges, universities, and employers have begun translating this accumulated learning into transcriptable credits, students frequently find that institutions will not count their previously accumulated credits.
Issue Brief
November 16, 2022

Holistic Credit Mobility

Centering Learning in Credential Completion

In this issue brief, we introduce holistic credit mobility as a framework for making sense of contemporary student mobility and devising solutions that center the success of mobile students with multiple forms and sources of validated learning. In the sections that follow, we define holistic credit mobility and highlight strategies to support its effective deployment throughout postsecondary institutions and systems.
Blog Post
October 31, 2022

Joining Hands to Improve Student Access to College

Successfully addressing student debt, transcript holds, and re-enrollment for adult learners often requires cross-organizational partnerships. The Ohio College Comeback Compact is doing exactly that in northeast Ohio. A regional collaborative of eight public colleges and universities, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ithaka S+R, and College Now Greater Cleveland, the Ohio Compact is an innovative program allowing students to return to one of the participating institutions despite owing institutional debt that likely resulted in a transcript hold.
Past Event
November 17, 2022

Stranded Credits: Challenges and Opportunities

Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2022 Conference

On November 17 at 2:00 – 3:15 pm PT, Ithaka S+R’s Elizabeth Looker and James Dean Ward will participate in an interactive symposium at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2022 Conference, which will bring together scholars who are addressing the challenge of stranded credits from multiple perspectives and contexts. The event provides an opportunity for attendees to better understand the causes and consequences of stranded credits, learn about existing solutions, and collaboratively reimagine new approaches…
Blog Post
September 27, 2022

Supporting Quantitative Learning in the Social Sciences

New Report Details Challenges and Opportunities

Social science classes play important roles in teaching quantitative literacy to students because they ground quantitative reasoning in contexts that resonate with undergraduates. Understanding how social science instructors teach quantitative skills and identifying instructional barriers can help libraries and other university units support faculty and students. Today, Ithaka S+R releases findings from one of the largest in-depth studies of teaching practices across social science disciplines, conducted in partnership with librarians from 20 colleges and universities in the United States.
Past Event
October 18, 2022

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: An Exploration of Articulation of Credit Transfer (ACT)

Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference

Martin Kurzweil and Lexa Logue will participate in a panel with the Hecksher Foundation's Peter Sloan and the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation's Miss. Cass Conrad focusing on new ways the Articulation of Credit Transfer project is helping students gain their credentials. The panel will discuss a transparent, public facing resource developed within The City University of New York system. The panel is scheduled to take place on October 18 at 1:45 - 3:00 pm CT. …
Blog Post
August 31, 2022

The Importance and Risks of Institutional Borrowing

New Report with TIAA Institute

While student loan debt has ballooned to over $1.7 trillion, institutional debt, or money colleges and universities borrow as organizations, is frequently overlooked as a significant factor in higher education finance. With support from the TIAA Institute, Ithaka S+R examined institutional borrowing practices. Specifically, we examined how periods of crisis and financial strain impact the decision to borrow and identified institutional characteristics linked to growth in debt levels during the 2008 Great Recession.
Research Report
August 30, 2022

Borrowing During a Time of Crisis

Examining Institutional Debt During the Great Recession and COVID-19

Although a great deal of attention is paid to student debt, colleges and universities have increased their institutional debt substantially over the past several decades. While institutional borrowing is an important tool colleges can use to meet strategic goals, unchecked or irresponsible debts can undercut a college’s ability to adequately serve students. Ithaka S+R conducted a mixed methods study, with the generous support of the TIAA Institute, to better understand how institutional borrowing decisions are made during periods of crisis.
Blog Post
August 26, 2022

Remembering Deanna Marcum

We are so terribly sad about the passing of our beloved colleague Deanna Marcum on August 16, 2022. Deanna was a humble and private person, so she would not want a lot of attention focused on her, but her impact on me and us here at ITHAKA is so profound that we must recognize and share it.  I first met Deanna in 1996, when she was the president of the Council of Library…
Blog Post
August 18, 2022

Diversity, Equity, and the PhD Pipeline

Expanding the Toolkit

The growing mismatch between the profiles of current full-time faculty, 75 percent of whom are white, and the nation’s increasingly diverse undergraduate student bodies, 45 percent of whom are people of color, represents a serious threat to socioeconomic and racial equity and intergenerational mobility. In spite of a generation of comprehensive targeted enrichment interventions from the undergraduate through postdoctoral fellowship stages, public and privately-funded efforts to increase the number of PhDs from historically underserved populations has been painstakingly slow.
Issue Brief
August 18, 2022

Post-Baccalaureate Bridge Programs

An Underutilized Tool for Strengthening Faculty Diversity

Over the last 50 years, the US has experienced significant shifts in its racial and ethnic makeup, making it a much more racially diverse country than it was a half century ago. The racial and ethnic composition of the higher education system has shifted too. In spite of this progress, various forms of racial bias, socioeconomic inequality, and academic gatekeeping continue to limit access of students from underrepresented minority (URM) and low-income backgrounds to higher education’s resources and potential benefits.
Blog Post
August 15, 2022

Stranded Credits: State-Level Actions and Opportunities

Over the past several years, state and federal regulators have increasingly scrutinized the practice of transcript withholding. As of June 15, 2022, five states have pending bills and eight states have enacted bills that prohibit postsecondary institutions from withholding transcripts. Without transcript holds, students will be able to re-enroll in college, transfer to an institution that better fits their needs, apply for jobs that require postsecondary degrees, and potentially be in a better position to pay off their educational debt.
Blog Post
August 2, 2022

New Opportunity for Stopped-Out College Students in Northeast Ohio to Settle Debt and Access Stranded Credits

Ohio College Comeback Compact Launches Summer 2022

Thousands of college students in Northeast Ohio who left school without a degree and owe money to their former college now have a pathway back to settle the debt and continue their education. Beginning this month, the Ohio College Comeback Compact is contacting approximately 15,000 students with a new proposition: come back to any public college in the region, even if you owe money and your transcript is being held because of it. Eligible students who…
Blog Post
July 26, 2022

An Interview on QuadEx, Duke University’s New Equity-based Residential and Learning Model

Dr. Jenny Wood Crowley and Chris Rossi on Driving Campus Change

As part of our Academic Equity Interview Blog series (see linked our previous posts on campus climate and mental health), we explore how Duke University, a member of the American Talent Initiative’s (ATI) Academic Equity Community of Practice, is driving campus change through their inclusive living and learning model, QuadEx. QuadEx…
Blog Post
July 12, 2022

The Show Goes On: Growing an Ecosystem Devoted to Academic Equity

2022 Academic Equity Summer Institute

in 2019, 18 colleges and universities from across the country came together at Georgetown University for the inaugural Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience, devoted to surfacing strategies and programs to help ensure the success of students from underrepresented backgrounds. Three years later, the number of participating colleges has nearly tripled (50), with over 400 institutional representatives joining the 2022 Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience last month to advance this mission.
Issue Brief
July 7, 2022

Lost and Found: State and Institutional Actions to Resolve Stranded Credits

This brief provides a roadmap for stakeholders interested in the underlying practices that create stranded credits and what can be done to improve them. To begin, we provide specific definitions of the terms and practices implicated in the creation of stranded credits. While researchers and policy leaders have increased their attention on the problem of stranded credits, this brief lays out in detail how they are created, why they matter, and what can be done to better balance the interests.
Blog Post
June 14, 2022

Forgive and Forget? Understanding the Impact of State-Funded Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

While student loan forgiveness is trending at the federal level, little attention has been directed towards learning from state approaches or the impact that federal forgiveness could have on state policy and practice. While not all states have programs, some have loan forgiveness options that pre-date the main federal program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF. Twenty states operated state-funded student loan forgiveness programs in 2020, spending over $65 million to forgive or partially repay students’ loans. …
Past Event
August 2, 2022

The Chronicle’s Strategic Leadership Program for Department Chairs

Big-Picture Thinking

From August 2 – 19, Ithaka S+R is once again teaming up with the Chronicle of Higher Education and Dever Justice to provide a comprehensive virtual leadership series for department chairs. The series will kick off with strategy workshops to identify shared challenges, followed by six seminars focusing on national trends in higher education; the higher education business model; faculty diversity; enrollment and retention; innovations in teaching and learning. The series will round out with implementation workshops to take the…
Past Event
June 14, 2022

Webinar: Solving Stranded Credits and Institutional Debt

The Washington Student Achievement Council

On Tuesday, June 14, from 1:00 – 2:00 PDT, Martin Kurzweil will present on “Solving Standard Credits and Institutional Debt” during a webinar for the Washington Student Achievement Council. To register, visit the Council’s website. About the webinar Recent research by Ithaka S+R and others has revealed that more than 6.6 million students nationally owe debt on an unpaid balance to a previously attended college or university, with an average balance of $2,400. The vast majority of institutions withhold…
Blog Post
June 6, 2022

Announcing a New Partnership with the Kessler Scholars Collaborative

First-generation students face unique challenges upon entering college. Compared to their peers whose families have a history of college attendance, these students are more likely to have additional responsibilities outside of the classroom, receive less financial support, and struggle more frequently with their sense of belonging at their institutions. As the first of their families to attend college, many first-generation students often navigate…