Blog

Alternative Postsecondary Pathways

Millions of Americans receive postsecondary training through programs that don’t lead to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. What do these programs offer?  Who enrolls in them?  How do the students who complete these programs fare? These are some of the questions Jessie Brown and I sought to answer when we embarked on a research project for the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education at the American Academy of Arts and…

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How to Assure Quality in Higher Education?
Focus on Innovation, Minimum Standards, and Continuous Improvement

The U.S. quality assurance system—focused mainly on accreditation as a threshold for federal financial aid eligibility—has done a poor job of assuring quality. Barely 60 percent of first-time students complete a bachelor’s degree and 40 percent complete an associate’s degree at the institution where they started. These overall results mask a wide range of outcomes across institutions. As a result, many students, parents, and policymakers question the value of their…

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Publication

Quality Assurance in U.S. Higher Education
The Current Landscape and Principles for Reform

The American higher education sector is diverse and creative. In 2014-15, the sector produced over 1 million associate’s degrees, nearly 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, over 758,000 master’s degrees, and over 178,000 doctoral degrees.[1] The world leader in innovation for decades, the sector continues to produce cutting edge research and contributes mightily to the American economy. Recent estimates concluded …


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Can an Investment in Instruction Improve a College’s Bottom Line?

Colleges and universities are under increasing pressure to simultaneously cut costs and improve student learning outcomes. There is a perceived tension between these goals: the conventional wisdom is that increasing instructional quality is not possible without increasing expenditures, but colleges and universities have limited resources to spend on improving instructional quality. But what if the relationship between institutional finances and instructional quality were more complex than that? In Instructional Quality,…

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Event

Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes, and Institutional Finances
Martin Kurzweil at ACE 2017

On March 12, Martin Kurzweil is speaking on "Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes, and Institutional Finances" at the American Council on Education's Annual Meeting in Washington DC. Interviewed by ACE's Steven Taylor, Kurzweil and Kenneth Furton, provost at Florida International University, will discuss the relationship between effective classroom instruction and improved student outcomes, and how the two may help an institution’s bottom line. The panel will take place from 9:45 am…


Event

Convening on the Future of Higher Education Quality Assurance

There is a growing consensus among those who study and work in higher education, and those who make policy for higher education, that the current U.S. system of higher education quality assurance is not working. While recognition of the problem is growing, attempted solutions have yet to pan out, and there is little agreement on the best way to proceed. With a new presidential administration in place and a reauthorization of…


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Diverging Application, Admission, and Enrollment Trends between Not-For-Profit and For-Profit Institutions

Whether due to the Common Application, improved marketing efforts on the part of colleges and universities, or greater pressure on high school students, there has been a well-documented increase in the number of college applicants and applications, particularly to the most selective institutions. This phenomenon has increased those colleges’ selectivity, at the same time it has made yield less predictable—leading a number of colleges to lean more heavily on practices…

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Joining Together to Expand Access and Opportunity
Introducing the American Talent Initiative

Thirty of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities today announced a new venture to substantially expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates. Coordinated by Ithaka S+R and the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and supported by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the American Talent Initiative (ATI) brings together a diverse set of public and private institutions to ensure…

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The Three Greatest Obstacles to Improving Student Success?
Higher Ed Insiders Cite State Funding, Faculty Incentives, and Administrative Silos

A diverse group of 85 higher education leaders and experts identified insufficient state funding of public institutions of higher education as the most significant obstacle to improving American students’ postsecondary outcomes. But aside from the shortfall in that critical public investment, respondents to the Spring 2016 Ithaka S+R Higher Ed Insights Survey flagged institutional policies, practices, and culture as the greatest impediments to improving student success. The most promising solutions…

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Publication

Higher Ed Insights: Results of the Spring 2016 Survey

Introduction In fall 2015, Ithaka S+R invited a select group of higher education administrators and experts to join a panel of advisors. One activity of the panel, which currently consists of 111 members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is to take part in semi-annual surveys on issues of national importance in higher education. The first of these surveys was …