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New Thematic Areas for the 2018 US Faculty Survey

Ithaka S+R is preparing to field our seventh national US Faculty Survey on the research and teaching practices, perceptions, and needs of scholars at four-year colleges and universities. Over the past month, we have had the opportunity to speak with four outstanding project advisors who have helped inform our focus for this upcoming survey cycle.

The 2018 US Faculty Survey will be designed to continue tracking critical trends in higher education from previous cycles while at the same time introducing new questions to address issues of current strategic importance. Last month we convened library deans and directors and past local survey participants to discuss the evolution of this national survey and gather feedback on possible directions for future coverage, and now we have turned our attention to consulting with an advisory board to establish thematic priorities for the upcoming questionnaire revision. The members of this board are:

  • Dan Cohen, Northeastern University
  • Elaine Westbrooks, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Annette Thomas, Clarivate
  • Annie Bélanger, Grand Valley State University

Our conversations with these advisors have guided us towards the following topics for possible expansion in this project and across other Ithaka S+R projects as well:

  • Research dissemination: What are faculty members’ priorities in reforming the system of scholarly communications? How do faculty perceive current issues of research reproducibility and academic fraud within their field? Are faculty concerned about the impact of so-called predatory publishers?
  • Instructional practices and open educational resources: How do faculty members feel about textbook affordability issues? How are faculty creating and using open educational resources in the classroom? What motivates faculty to create and use them, and what are the barriers that exist towards greater adoption?
  • Teaching and learning analytics: How are faculty and students being measured in their respective practices as instructors and learners? How valuable do faculty perceive these analytics to be and how is the adoption of these analytics impacting faculty attitudes? How do faculty perceive the value and impact of institutional contributors on student success outcomes?

These themes very much resonate with the feedback we received from library deans and directors and past local survey participants at ALA Midwinter, and we will be determining how best to incorporate some of these new topics while also continuing to track areas of importance from previous survey cycles. Over the next couple of months we will be developing, iterating on, and testing a revised questionnaire, and we look forward to continuing to share updates on our progress.

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