S+R Blog

Addressing the current issues that impact higher education.

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February 11, 2015

Ethnographic Studies at a Community College

For the past two years, Ithaka S+R has been working with librarians and library staff at Montgomery College, the community college of Montgomery County, Maryland, to gain a better understanding of student work practices and preferences. Launched by Tanner Wray, director of the Montgomery College Libraries, the study draws inspiration from a previous project at the University of Maryland. 
 
Last year, a library team worked with Ithaka S+R to study library use on the Rockville campus; this year, another team is doing a similar study on the Read More...

February 11, 2015
February 10, 2015

Online Learning and Liberal Arts Colleges

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a recent Babson survey that found that “The most-drastic recent shift in the perceived importance of online education was at small colleges (i.e., those with fewer than 1,500 students). In 2012, 60 percent of academic leaders at small colleges said online education was strategically crucial. Now that number is 70 percent—nearly the same as at universities with more than 15,000 students.”
 
What accounts for this shift? Practical considerations are surely a factor; we know of many small Read More...

February 10, 2015

Rebecca J. Griffiths

February 05, 2015

Blended MOOCs: Is the Second Time the Charm?


Students at Bowie State discuss their experience with a MOOC in this video. 
 
Much of the hype surrounding MOOCS has faded and as Steve Kolowich shows in a recent Chronicle piece, “Few people would now be willing to argue that massive open online courses are the future of higher education.” As the Babson Survey Research Group (that Kolowich cites) shows, higher ed leaders are less certain that MOOCs “are a sustainable way to offer courses,” that “self-directed learning” will have an important impact on higher ed, or that “MOOCs are important Read More...

February 05, 2015

Rebecca J. Griffiths

February 04, 2015

A different appoach to governance at ASU

Locus of Authority deftly chronicles the emergence of shared governance as a means to further university goals, and its ossification into an end in itself and a barrier against which transformative changes crash.  As my colleague Deanna Marcum elaborates, university leaders interested in pursuing innovations in online learning and other areas have sought to evade sclerotic shared governance processes through various workarounds, such as new, agile subunits and incentive programs.  
 
Such approaches are often marginal, providing an opportunity Read More...

February 04, 2015
February 04, 2015

Shared Governance: Lessons from Public Flagship Universities

Often, when discussing shared governance, we talk as if everyone is part of the system—either administrator or faculty. It is also assumed that when change does happen, it occurs through formal channels. Last year, Ithaka S+R conducted a landscape review of technology-enhanced education in ten public flagship universities. The goal of our study was to understand the online learning strategies in these institutions and to learn more about perspectives on this topic among faculty and administrators. In our multiple-day visits to ten public Read More...

February 04, 2015
February 02, 2015

Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education

On January 1, Ithaka S+R launched its new Educational Transformation program, which consolidates all of our higher education initiatives into a single, more impactful program. One of the first publications from the program, in conjunction with Princeton University Press, was Locus of Authority: the Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education, by William Bowen and Eugene Tobin. Addressing one of the most important issues in higher education, the authors discuss the evolution of the concept of shared governance and call for Read More...

February 02, 2015
January 29, 2015

Assessment at Pitt

What should an undergraduate chemistry major know by the time she graduates? How can one tell if she knows it? And how can chemistry instruction be improved to ensure that more students meet those expectations?
 
Such deceptively simple questions—for chemistry and every other discipline—have become an important focus of higher education leaders, accrediting agencies, and government. Yet many universities have struggled to develop robust processes for assessing student learning. Even when a central administration makes a serious effort to Read More...

January 29, 2015
January 26, 2015

Nancy Fried Foster Publishes New Book

Nancy Fried Foster, with co-authors Patricia Steele, David Cronrath, and Sandra Parsons Vicchio, has a new book: The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem.
 
From the publisher's website:
The Living Library describes the evolution of one possible future for academic libraries: as laboratories for cross-disciplinary investigation. At the University of Maryland, a collaboration among the Libraries, the School of Architecture and the Department of Anthropology led to the participation of students, faculty and staff in an initiative to design Read More...

January 26, 2015

Nancy Fried Foster

January 21, 2015

How much does it cost to publish a monograph?

Books have been published for hundreds of years, so surely there must be a clear answer to this question. But in fact, it’s not so simple, and estimates from press directors, experienced consultants, and researchers in the field vary widely—from less than $10,000 to more than $25,000 per book. Determining what it costs to produce a single high-quality digital monograph is complex, and depends on the publishing house, its practices, and even its methods for accounting. That said, understanding the per-book costs of publishing monographs will Read More...

January 21, 2015

Nancy L. Maron

January 20, 2015

The New American University: S+R Report Takes a Closer Look at ASU

“The New American University.”  To the outsider, or to the leader of another higher education institution, it may sound like a brash and arrogant boast.  On the inside, for a person associated with Arizona State University (ASU), it can be an aspirational expression of pride and the opportunity to take a leadership role in U.S. higher education.  ASU’s president, Michael Crow, envisions the “new American university” as one “measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed.”  At base, ASU’s experience under Crow Read More...

January 20, 2015

Martin Kurzweil

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