A Compendium of Recent Research and Books of Interest to Higher Education Professionals



American Higher Education since World War II: A History

Roger L. Geiger
(Princeton University Press, 2019)
Continuing his 2015 book The History of American Higher Education: Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II, Roger L. Geiger’s new volume details the postwar transformation of American higher education. By exploring the impact of developments such as the GI Bill, the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, desegregation and coeducation, and social and political developments throughout the 1970s and 2000s, this book also will help readers better understand the many complex issues facing colleges and universities today. It draws on empirical data and social science studies and concludes with a discussion of current trends focused on college participation and affordability, differential economic returns to higher education, the uncertain state of undergraduate learning, the persistence of culture wars, and the scientific prominence of American universities. Geiger is Distinguished Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University.

The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education

John Schmalzbauer and Kathleen A. Mahoney
(Baylor University Press, 2018)
This book challenges the dominant narrative that religion has been deemed irrelevant on college campuses and that American higher education has been secularized. Exploring three areas—academic scholarship, church-related higher education, and student life—John Schmalzbauer and Kathleen A. Mahoney document an openness to religion in collegiate communities. The book highlights several campus trends: expanding interest in the study of religion across the disciplines; increasing acknowledgement of the intellectual relevance of religious commitments; and deepening commitment among church- related colleges to their founding traditions, even as they embrace religious pluralism. The volume also chronicles the diversification of student religious life, revealing the breadth and inclusiveness of campus spirituality. Schmalzbauer is Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University; Mahoney is a senior staff member at the GHR Foundation.


Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges and Universities

Gina Ann Garcia
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019)
This book explores how higher education institutions are serving Latinx students, through both traditional and innovative approaches. Gina Ann Garcia, assistant professor of higher education at the University of Pittsburgh, draws on empirical data collected over two years at three pseudonymous four-year Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) in Chicago, Illinois, that embrace their HSI status (which requires enrollment of at least 25 percent Latinx students) differently. She then adopts a counternarrative approach to highlight the ways HSIs are reframing what it means to serve Latinx college students and explores how those institutions handle the tensions that emerge from confronting traditional standards and measures of success for postsecondary institutions. The book emphasizes that HSIs are undervalued and serve an important role in the higher education landscape.

Course-Based Undergraduate Research: Educational Equity and High Impact Practice

Nancy H. Hensel, Ed.
(Stylus Publishing LLC, 2018)
Instead of promoting undergraduate research as a high-impact practice reserved for students in the later stages of their college careers, this book shows how to engage students in authentic research experiences in their first two years, thus making the experience available to a much greater number of students (see also Intergenerational Connections, page 34). The book considers the appropriate expectations for research in the first two years; how to design course-based research for these students; how to mentor a class rather than individual students; how students can disseminate the results of their research, and more. Designed for faculty members at two- and four-year colleges, the strategies and methods described can be adapted in a wide-range of disciplines. Editor Nancy H. Hensel is former president of the New American Colleges & Universities and former executive officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Contributors hail from a wide range of institutions, including from CIC members California Lutheran University; St. Edward’s University (TX); University of New Haven (CT); and Valparaiso University (IN).

Contested Issues in Troubled Times: Student Affairs Dialogues on Equity, Civility, and Safety

Edited by Peter M. Magolda, Marcia B. Baxter Magolda, and Rozana Carducci
(Stylus Publishing LLC, 2019)
A companion volume to Contested Issues in Student Affairs: Diverse Perspectives and Respectful Dialogue (2011), this new book explores how campuses can create an equitable climate conducive to learning in a complex and dynamic environment characterized by escalating intolerance, incivility, and discrimination. The 54 contributors explore multiple approaches to address contentious issues, articulate persuasive arguments grounded in professional judgment, listen attentively to others for points of connection as well as divergence, and draw upon new ways of thinking to foster safe and inclusive campuses. The book concludes by encouraging student affairs educators to critically examine routine practices that can perpetuate inequity. The late Peter M. Magolda was professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University; Marcia B. Baxter Magolda is Distinguished Professor Emerita, Miami University; and Rozana Carducci is the graduate director of the Master of Arts in Higher Education Program at Elon University.

The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students

Anthony Abraham Jack
(Harvard University Press, 2019)
Emphasizing that access is not the same as inclusion, The Privileged Poor explains how and why disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges and what institutions can do differently so these students can thrive. Drawing on interviews with dozens of undergraduates at one of America’s most famous colleges (“Renowned University”) and on his own experiences as one of the privileged poor, Anthony Abraham Jack describes the lives poor students bring with them and shows how powerfully background affects their chances of success. The book documents how university policies and cultures can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and challenges college officials and policymakers to serve the next generation of students better. Anthony Abraham Jack is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Shutzer Assistant Professor at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The College DropOut Scandal

David Kirp
(Oxford University Press, 2019)
This book looks at solutions to a critical problem in higher education—the high number of incoming first-year students at U.S. colleges and universities who drop out before graduating (40 percent), often leaving them with debt and reduced job prospects. Weaving together on-the-ground reporting, conversations with faculty members and students, and recent research findings, David L. Kirp highlights what colleges are doing well and poorly. The book suggests simple actions to raise the graduation rate, such as texting incoming students about important dates, scheduling early- intervention meetings with struggling students, and revamping the curriculum. One key finding is that the more students believe that they belong at the college, the better they do academically. David L. Kirp is an emeritus professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; a New York Times contributor; a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the National Academy of Education.



2019 Survey of College and University Presidents

Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, editors
(Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, March 2019)
Inside Higher Ed’s ninth annual survey of college and university presidents, conducted by Gallup, was designed to understand how campus leaders perceive a wide range of higher education issues, such as institutional financial stability, affirmative action, cross-racial engagement on campus, U.S. Department of Education policies, and public views of the purposes of higher education. A total of 784 presidents of two- and four-year institutions responded to the survey, 320 of whom were from private nonprofit colleges and universities. This year, presidents expressed more confidence in the five- and ten-year financial stability of their campuses than they expressed in the previous six years (see Figure below). Fifty-seven percent of presidents are confident in their institution’s financial sustainability over a decade, up from 53 percent last year. Leaders of private baccalaureate colleges are the most confident (64 percent), and public master’s and baccalaureate college presidents the least (49 percent). That said, 14 percent of presidents say they could see their own college closing or merging in the next five years, similar to the 13 percent who said so in last year’s survey. Access the full report.

Figure: Presidents Gain Confidence in Financial Future of Their Institutions

Line graph depicting presidential confidence in financial future over five years and ten years
Note: Percent of presidents who strongly agree or agree they are confident in their institutions’ financial stability over the next five and ten years
Source: 2019 Survey of College and University Presidents. 2019. Inside Higher Ed and Gallup. 
Figure recreated by the Council of Independent Colleges.

Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education

Gallup and Bates College
(April 2019)
More than 80 percent of college graduates believe it is important to derive a sense of purpose from their work, but less than 50 percent actually find such purpose in their jobs, according to this new study by Bates College and Gallup on the “purpose gap.” The study represents the views of more than 2,000 college graduates, 600 hiring managers, and 1,000 parents of students who are college bound, in college, or who recently graduated, and identifies how colleges and universities can better prepare the next generation to achieve the professional and personal fulfillment they desire. Four key undergraduate experiences that align with graduates finding purpose in work are identified: having an applied internship or job; having someone who encourages students’ goals and dreams; being given realistic expectations for post-graduation employment prospects; and participating in a class or program designed to help students think about pursuing meaning in work. The findings also show that employers endorse skills traditionally associated with a liberal arts education, such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. Access the full report.

Degrees at Work: Examining the Serendipitous Outcomes of Diverse Degrees

Clare Coffey, Rob Sentz, Yustina Saleh
(Emsi, August 2019)

This new study attempts to answer a seemingly age-old question: How is a graduate’s education connected to his or her place in the labor market? While the answer may be more obvious to those who graduate with an engineering degree, it is often less clear for a graduate in the liberal arts. To uncover the real relationship between education and work, this study used an extensive database of over 100 million professional profiles to analyze the career outcomes of graduates of six types of programs: language and philosophy, social science, business, communications, engineering, and IT. After identifying the skills the graduates are most likely to use in their daily work, the study found that major is not as deterministic as many believe, that pathways to careers are less linear than thought, and that many humanities graduates end up in the same fields as business and STEM graduates. The report aims to help institutions, policy makers, businesses, community- based organizations, and students and their parents develop a more realistic vision of the relationship between education and work. Access the full report.

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2018–19

American Association of University Professors
(May 2019)

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 2019 report highlights the results of the 2018–2019 AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, which compiled data on more than 380,000 full-time faculty members at 952 colleges and universities (including 203 private nonprofit institutions), as well as pay and benefits data for over 64,000 part-time faculty members at more than 360 institutions. The report also examines changes in full-time faculty salaries and appointment types, with a focus on progress toward gender equity, in the ten years since the Great Recession. Although the study found that on average, salaries for full-time faculty members were 2 percent higher in 2018–2019 than in the preceding academic year, faculty salaries barely budged when adjusted for inflation. Salaries for women in full-time faculty positions continue to lag behind those paid to men. On average, women were paid 81.6 percent of the salaries of men during the 2018–2019 academic year, likely due to an unequal distribution of employment between men and women in terms of institutional type and faculty rank. Access the full report.

Web Tool

Arts + Social Impact Explorer

Americans for the Arts (2019)

To increase understanding of the long-term, wide-reaching social impact of the arts, Americans for the Arts has produced the Arts + Social Impact Explorer. Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. The online, mobile-friendly primer draws together research, example projects, core research papers, and service/partner organizations in 26 sectors, highlighting concrete ways in which the arts intersect with and affect other sectors of society. Created with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the interactive, visual tool is meant to guide conversation and is accompanied by customized Fact Sheets that are downloadable and printable for sharing with board members, public and private sector policy makers, and others. The tool includes more than 1,000 independent data points, examples, and links compiled to inform decision makers about the arts and their value to communities. Access the tool.

color wheel containing disciplines related to the arts