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Topic: Student learning and outcomes

Blog Post
September 4, 2020

Estimating the Impact of COVID-19 on Students’ Academic Outcomes

In May 2020, Ithaka S+R partnered with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and a group of its member institutions to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption to the Spring 2020 term on students’ academic outcomes, and to inform subsequent institutional decision-making. We concluded our work with the first group of thirteen institutions earlier this month, and each participating institution received a customized confidential report of findings. A second group of…
Blog Post
September 3, 2020

What Your Students Want to Hear

Effective Communications in the Time of COVID-19

Kimmy Cacciato is currently serving as a student advisor to the Ithaka S+R Holistic Metrics of Student Success project. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a major in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education – Mathematics Teaching. This fall, she is returning to TCNJ to pursue an MAT in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education.  During this time of uncertainty, effectively communicating with students is more important than ever. Campus administrators and…
August 27, 2020

Seven Practices for Building Community and Student Belonging Virtually

Most colleges and universities have traditionally provided in-person programming and supports to strengthen bonds between students and build a sense of community. These activities, such as campus-wide events, one-on-one advising appointments, career development workshops, and mentorship programs, help students develop a sense of belonging at the institution, improve their academic experience, and boost their chances of graduating. These programs and supports are especially important for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, whose experiences of exclusion on campus can impede their progress…
Blog Post
August 25, 2020

Incorporating Equity into Fall Reopening Plans

Earlier this summer, Ithaka S+R began aggregating colleges’ plans for re-opening campuses in Fall 2020, with the goal of facilitating collaboration and planning across the sector. As of August 17th, we have reviewed and synthesized 95 institutional plans, including updates to those plans, into a single resource (click here to view). We are publishing the findings from our analysis of these plans in a series of blog posts, hosted on Ithaka S+R’s…
Blog Post
August 11, 2020

Does Setting an Attainment Goal Move the Needle on Postsecondary Attainment?

As COVID-19 continues to threaten state budgets, statewide commitments to improving higher education outcomes remain more important than ever. While there are a multitude of individual, social, and civic benefits to investing in a well-educated population, supporting postsecondary access and completion should also be viewed as critical for states’ post-recession recovery. A college degree is associated with higher lifetime earnings potential, better health outcomes, and even a longer life expectancy. Closing equity gaps is also necessary to address broader social…
Blog Post
August 10, 2020

Is Online Instruction as Good as Face-to-Face?

Unpacking Assumptions in the Wrong Question Everyone is Asking

As the wave of optimism about returning to on-campus instruction recedes in the face of rising cases of Covid-19 around the country, more and more students, parents, policy-makers, and scholars are asking if online instruction is “as good as face-to-face instruction.” This question is not new, and has been raised for almost every new educational innovation, from television to computers to virtual reality. It does take on a new sense of…
Blog Post
August 3, 2020

Engaging and Supporting Prospective Students

How Can Institutions Draw Upon the Principles of Near-Peer Advising?

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the typical college admissions experience. At the same time, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others have drawn heightened attention to the structural and institutional racism that exists within our educational system and the impact this has on our students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Students preparing to enter college for the first time in Fall 2020 have made enrollment choices as the specifics of…
Blog Post
July 30, 2020

Academic Advising Technologies in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

Exploring the Human Element

Academic advising is one of the most ubiquitous functions in higher education and a central pillar of the student success apparatus at any institution. Prior to the emergency shift to online learning resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of the administration of student life had become integrated with technology. This includes advising technologies, which are becoming both more common and sophisticated. From foundational degree audit systems to predictive analytics engines, the technologies available to support advising…
Blog Post
July 22, 2020

Addressing Challenges Faced by Institutions Supporting Student Veterans

ATI Veterans Community of Practice Comes Together Virtually

College students across the country have experienced the financial, social, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened national conversation on systemic racism. Student veterans are no exception. As we discussed in a previous blog post, the pandemic has exacerbated the complex challenges that student veterans face in completing their postsecondary education: they are now navigating the uncertainties of GI Bill funding and in many cases, balancing financial insecurity and family…
Blog Post
July 21, 2020

Reflections on the Comprehensiveness and Equity Considerations of Institutional Plans for Fall 2020 Reopening

Last month, Ithaka S+R launched an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to the fall reopening of colleges and universities to facilitate institutional collaboration and planning. As of July 10th, we have synthesized 57 institutional plans into a single resource (click here to view), and plan to continually update this resource with new and evolving information. We are publishing findings from our review of these plans in…
Blog Post
July 20, 2020

Southern New Hampshire University’s FEATuring You

A New Tool Designed to Connect Marginally Engaged Youth to Employment

Digital tools that directly test and train individuals’ competencies are dramatically changing hiring and higher education. Technology platforms that boast robust analytic capabilities are increasingly being adopted by employers to securely and efficiently verify candidates’ fit through a wide assortment of skills-based evaluations, with 71 percent of North American employers utilizing pre-hire assessments during the screening process. In tandem, the push toward online learning and alternative credentialing in…
Case Study
July 20, 2020

FEATuring YOU

A Soft Skills Training and Assessment Program for Opportunity Youth

Skills-based training and assessment technologies promise to democratize the hiring process. By automatically evaluating whether candidates possess the necessary competencies to succeed in the role to which they are applying, these tools can help eliminate human bias, diversify the talent pool, and reskill our workforce—especially appealing given that the World Economic Forum estimates a need to reskill more than one billion people in the next ten years. They are also well-suited for empowering younger learners and job candidates who are…
Blog Post
July 16, 2020

Overarching Findings from 57 Fall 2020 College Reopening Plans

Last month, Ithaka S+R launched an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to the fall reopening of colleges and universities in an effort to facilitate institutional collaboration and planning. As of July 13th, we have synthesized 57 institutional plans into a single resource (click here to view), and plan to continually update this resource with new and evolving information. We capture information about several aspects of institutional…
Blog Post
July 14, 2020

Now Available: Fall Semester COVID-19 Surveys

While the challenges colleges and universities faced in the spring semester were unprecedented, it’s clear that the disruptions are far from over. Even as the fall semester approaches, institutions are still deciding how many students to bring back to campus and how to deliver instruction effectively. Over the past few months, we have partnered with over 20 colleges and universities to provide actionable insights on student and faculty needs…
Blog Post
July 14, 2020

Streamlining Transfer for CUNY Students in the Bronx

Approximately one-third of college students begin their postsecondary education in community colleges, yet over 80 percent of these students aspire to earn at least a bachelor’s degree. In order to achieve their goals, these students will need to transfer from their community colleges (which mostly offer associate’s degrees) to colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. Yet, only 13 percent of students successfully transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of entering community college. Black and…
Blog Post
June 29, 2020

Three Questions for Melissa Sturm-Smith

Drake University and COVID-19

Melissa Sturm-Smith, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Student Success, worked with Ithaka S+R to field the COVID-19 student survey at Drake University in the spring semester. We recently asked her about the challenges Drake students faced in light of the pandemic and the steps the university has taken to meet their needs. 1) Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced as a leader at Drake University during the spring semester? Our…
Blog Post
June 25, 2020

COVID-19 and the Student Experience

Reporting Large-Scale Results from the Spring Semester

Today we release results from a large-scale study of student experiences during the spring term. The findings, which represent the experiences and needs of over 15,000 students, provide us with an understanding of the challenges that students—and in turn, their faculty, administrators, and institutions more broadly—have faced as we now approach a new year of instruction. While these results should not be interpreted to represent perceptions of online learning that occur outside of the context…
Research Report
June 25, 2020

Student Experiences During the Pandemic Pivot

The spring 2020 term was unmistakably shaped by forces outside of the control of higher education leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic caused colleges and universities across the country—and the world—to quickly pivot in an emergency fashion to online teaching, learning, and research while grappling with a host of complex issues in serving students, supporting faculty and staff, and ensuring their financial viability. Thousands of institutions and millions of students were impacted in the United States alone. In response to…
Blog Post
June 18, 2020

Building a Practice-Sharing Resource on Planning for Fall 2020

Colleges and universities across the country are planning for a fall semester unlike any other. Now more than ever, the health and safety of the campus community and the needs of the most vulnerable students should guide decisions about whether and how to resume in-person campus activities in Fall 2020.  To facilitate institutional collaboration and planning during this period of uncertainty, Ithaka S+R is launching an effort to aggregate and synthesize information related to fall reopening…
Past Event
June 24, 2020

How Americans Perceive Higher Education in 2020

Christine Wolff-Eisenberg Speaks at New America Event

On Wednesday, June 24, Christine Wolff-Eisenberg is speaking on “Higher Education Polling During the COVID-19 Crisis” as part of New America’s Varying Degrees online event. Christine will be joined on the panel discussion by Eric Hoover (The Chronicle of Higher Education), Rachel Fishman (New America), and David Strauss (Art and Science Group). For more information and to register, please visit the event website.