Recent Research and Books of Interest to Higher Education Professionals


 The Challenge of Independent Colleges: Moving Research into Practice
Christopher C. Morphew and John M. Braxton, editors (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017)

The Challenge of Independent Colleges is the result of a collaboration between CIC and the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Edited by Christopher C. Morphew, dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and John M. Braxton, professor emeritus of higher education at Vanderbilt University, the book documents challenges and opportunities that independent colleges face in several integral areas. The book’s nine chapters are written by leading higher education scholars on topics such as access and affordability, assessment, ensuring student success, and institutional strategy. Each chapter is followed by a short, critical response—written by a president or provost at a CIC member institution—that demonstrates how institutional leaders can use the latest research. An introduction by Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president, provides an overview of the independent college sector. (CIC members can receive a 20 percent discount by entering the promotional code HTWN when purchasing the book at Johns Hopkins University Press.)

 How to Run a College: A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers
Brian C. Mitchell and W.  Joseph King (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018)
This book analyzes how colleges and small universities operate and what they can do to thrive in today’s educational and economic climate. Brian C. Mitchell, principal at Academic Innovators and past president of Bucknell University (PA) and Washington & Jefferson College (PA), and W. Joseph King, president of Lyon College (AR) and former executive director of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, offer a frank yet optimistic vision for how colleges can change without diminishing their fundamental strengths. The authors state that colleges and universities must evolve by modernizing their practices, monetizing their assets, focusing on core educational strategies, and linking to the modern world. They also argue that colleges should build upon their solid academic and residential foundation—becoming more creative and nimble—and they praise colleges for being centers of experimentation and innovation that heavily influence higher education around the world.

 Shared Governance in Higher Education, Volume 2: New Paradigms, Evolving Perspectives
Sharon F. Cramer, editor (SUNY Press, 2017)

This second volume in the Shared Governance in Higher Education series builds on the first volume and offers governance leaders, administrators, faculty members, staff, and students the insights and resources needed to recognize and resolve governance challenges on their own campuses. Sharon F. Cramer, Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at Buffalo State College, edited both volumes. In a chapter drawn from his keynote address at the 2015 SUNY Voices Conference on shared governance, Augustana College (IL) President Steven Bahls provides a critical study of higher ed institutions. Nine additional chapters analyze academic processes such as development of a sexual assault policy, effective use of task forces, and faculty review of administrators. Contributors provide guidelines on leadership development, budget development, and mentoring; describe subtle considerations and compromises, which governance leaders can incorporate into collaborations; and illustrate hard-earned wisdom and lessons learned.

 Making College Better: Views from the Top
Joseph L. DeVitis, editor (Peter Lang Inc., 2018)

Making College Better offers practical responses to public criticisms of higher education that call for great reforms as resources are weakening. In their essays, college and university presidents from a wide variety of postsecondary institutions—including CIC member colleges and universities—address many complex issues and how they might be untangled, suggesting ways to improve college through more strategic policies and practices. The book will likely appeal to anyone interested in the future of higher education—including college administrators, students and parents, legislators, and other officials—and may be useful for courses on the organization and administration of higher education, contemporary issues in higher ed, foundations of higher ed, and college student development.

 The Market Imperative: Segmentation and Change in Higher Education
Robert Zemsky and Susan Shaman (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017)

In The Market Imperative, Robert Zemsky and Susan Shaman argue that many policy makers and institutional leaders fail to understand how deeply the higher education consumer markets have changed American higher education. Instead of functioning as a single integrated industry, higher education is a collection of segmented markets with their own operating constraints, especially regarding price. The volume draws on new data developed by the authors in a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project to describe the landscape, including how higher ed markets distribute students among competing institutions, how markets differ across the nation, and how the markets determine the kinds of faculty members at different types of institutions. The book concludes with a three-pronged set of policies “for making American higher education mission centered and market smart.” Zemsky is professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the Learning Alliance for Higher Education; Susan Shaman is director of special projects at the Peach Bottom Group (part of the Learning Alliance) and a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

 Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Joseph E. Aoun (The MIT Press, 2017)

In Robot-Proof, Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun proposes a way to educate the next generation of college students with a creative mindset and the mental elasticity to invent, create, and discover—thereby filling needs in society that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence agent cannot. Aoun lays out the framework for a new discipline, which he calls humanics, that builds on people’s innate strengths and prepares students to compete in a labor market in which smart machines work alongside human professionals. Aoun’s approach involves data literacy, which students will need to manage the flow of big data; technological literacy, to understand how machines work; and human literacy—including the humanities, communication, and design—to function as a human being. He argues that higher education based on these literacies will equip students for living and working through change.

 Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education
Karen Longman, editor (Abilene Christian University Press, 2017)

Diversity Matters offers higher ed leaders a roadmap as they think through how their campuses can serve all students well. With essays from nearly 30 leaders and scholars who work on Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) member campuses across the country, the book is divided into five key sections. They cover case studies of campuses with a commitment to diversity; lessons in resiliency and leadership from long-term CCCU diversity professionals; the role white leaders can and should play in efforts to end inequality and racism; curricular and co-curricular initiatives to enhance diversity awareness and action; and autoethnographies of emerging leaders and their career stages. Karen A. Longman is the PhD program director and professor of higher education at Azusa Pacific University (CA) and serves as a senior fellow of CCCU.

 Developing Faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges: Aligning Individual Needs and Organizational Goals
Vicki L. Baker,‎ Laura Gail Lunsford,‎ and Meghan J. Pifer (Rutgers University Press, 2017)

This book analyzes the career stage challenges many faculty members must overcome, such as a lack of preparation for teaching, limited access to resources and mentors, and changing expectations for excellence in teaching, research, and service, to become academic leaders. Drawing on research conducted at the 13 institutions of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the authors propose an Alignment Framework for Faculty Development in Liberal Arts Colleges to show how these colleges provide their faculties with the support to succeed. Authors Vicki L. Baker is a professor of economics and management at Albion College (MI) and an instructor of business administration for Penn State University’s World Campus; Laura Gail Lunsford is the director of the Swain Center in the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; and Meghan J. Pifer is an associate professor of higher education administration in the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville.

 Dealing with Dysfunction: A Book for University Leaders
Richard T. Castallo (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)

Through a series of fictionalized case studies, Dealing with Dysfunction aims to show a real-life view of a college department gone awry while also providing leadership recommendations. The book looks at the options a department chair and dean have available to them when dealing with a group of professors whose members—labeled as Committed, Reluctants, and Resistors—are unable to work together. Each chapter ends with a section on “learnings” and reflections, providing insights into the thought processes behind suggested actions. Throughout the book, author Richard T. Castallo, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University at Northridge, emphasizes the importance of clear communication and strong listening skills.


 2018 Survey of College and University Presidents
Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, editors (Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, March 2018)

Inside Higher Ed’s eighth annual survey of college and university presidents, conducted by Gallup and answered by 618 presidents across all sectors (262 from private nonprofit colleges and universities), again sought to understand how these leaders view the opportunities and challenges facing U.S. higher education institutions. The survey questioned presidents on topics such as the financial health of their institutions, concerns about student body size and composition, race relations, image of higher education, federal higher education policy, effects of the Trump presidency on higher education, and tuition resets and freezes. According to the survey results, over all, presidents of public and private institutions are equally likely to be confident in the financial outlook of their institution over the next five years. Private college and university presidents are somewhat more confident in their institutions’ financial viability over the next ten years, however, with 57 percent of leaders agreeing that their institution will be financially stable over that period, compared with 47 percent of public institution leaders (see Figure 1 below). For the report, visit Inside Higher Ed.

 2018 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers
Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, editors (Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, January 2018)

Inside Higher Ed’s eighth annual Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers explored how these leaders view academic and other challenges facing their institutions. Conducted by Gallup and answered by 516 CAOs (223 of whom are from private colleges and universities), the survey covered such topics as faculty tenure; faculty professional development; inclusively, civic engagement, and civil discourse; free speech on campus; and professor controversies and academic freedom. The results show that four out of five (81 percent) of all chief academic officers (public and private) agree or strongly agree that their institution works to promote civic engagement among students, with private college CAOs more likely than their public counterparts to strongly agree this is occurring (51 percent vs. 35 percent). Most provosts also believe their institution actively promotes civil discourse among students, with 81 percent of private college CAOs agreeing or strongly agreeing compared with 66 percent among public CAOs (see Figure 2 below). Private college CAOs also are more likely to say their college has been successful in these areas. For the report, visit Inside Higher Ed.

 The Working Environment Matters: Faculty Member Job Satisfaction by Institution Type
Karen L. Webber (TIAA Institute, March 2018)

This study addresses the concern that changes to faculty status may lower faculty job satisfaction and discourage new doctoral recipients from pursuing academic careers, and that these attitudes can negatively affect student learning, academic scholarship, and institutional success. The study examines faculty job satisfaction across different types of institutions and explores how gender, race, age, and other factors interact with faculty expectations, experiences, and perceptions of the work environment to determine satisfaction. Karen L. Webber, associate professor of higher education at the University of Georgia Institute of Higher Education, analyzed faculty-satisfaction data from nearly 31,000 professors that were collected by Harvard University’s Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education from 2012 to 2014 and interviewed a sample of respondents. Although some faculty members report low job satisfaction and a few expressed enough dissatisfaction to consider leaving the profession, most full-time faculty members appear satisfied with their work; faculty satisfaction at baccalaureate colleges (public and private) is significantly higher from that at other institution types (see Figure 3 below). For the report, visit the TIAA Institute.

 The Future of Undergraduate Education: The Future of America
The Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education (American Academy of Arts & Sciences, November 2017)

This report proposes practical ways to improve undergraduate education and to increase the number of students who complete their education with valuable knowledge and without unmanageable debt. To raise both the rate of completion and the value of the degrees obtained, the report recommends that colleges and universities increase training for college teaching, support the integration of student data and counseling, provide non-tenure track faculty members with stable professional careers, and employ reliable measures of student learning. To improve affordability, the report suggests that the federal government restructure the Pell grant system to support timely completion of credentials, establish a single income-driven repayment plan to simplify college borrowing and limit the need for future debt forgiveness, create a tracking system for students to make aid contingent upon satisfactory academic progress, and strictly regulate institutional eligibility for federal financial aid to support student success. The report rarely differentiates among higher education sectors, unfortunately, and therefore does not highlight certain strengths of smaller private colleges. For the report, visit the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

 The State of Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce and Beyond
(American Academy of Arts & Sciences, February 2018)

Based largely on original research commissioned by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences for its Humanities Indicators project, this report examines a broad range of measures about holders of four-year bachelor’s degrees, including graduates’ satisfaction with their jobs, finances, and lives generally. The data reveal that despite disparities in median earnings, humanities majors are similar to graduates from other fields with respect to their perceived well-being. Although the data cannot explain the disparity between the objective and subjective measures, they may spark a more nuanced discussion about the relationship between field of undergraduate study, employment, and quality of life. The report shows that humanities graduates are distributed broadly across occupations, but are most strongly represented in management, administrative support, and education. Despite uncertainty about the connection between their degree and their job, humanities graduates reported job satisfaction at levels comparable to graduates from almost every other field. For the report, visit the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

 Assessment That Matters: Trending toward Practices That Document Authentic Student Learning
Natasha A. Jankowski, Jennifer D. Timmer, Jillian Kinzie, and George D. Kuh (National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment [NILOA], January 2018)

Assessment of student learning remains an ongoing and prevalent activity for U.S. higher education (see Figure 4 below). To understand institution-level assessment in 2017 and trends over time, last year NILOA conducted its third national survey of provosts; respondents from 811 regionally accredited, undergraduate degree-granting institutions participated (41 percent were private colleges and universities). This report summarizes the major findings—including that most institutions have statements of learning for all undergraduate students and increasing numbers have aligned learning throughout the institution—and presents implications for policy and practice. The report finds areas that need attention for assessment efforts to continue to advance student learning and institutional effectiveness, including that colleges and universities should communicate more effectively about student learning, improve documentation of student learning and teaching quality, and use assessment data to support the achievement of equity goals, among others. Download the report.

 Navigating Pluralism: How Students Approach Religious Difference and Interfaith Engagement in Their First Year of College
Alyssa N. Rockenbach, Matthew J. Mayhew, Benjamin P. Correia-Harker, Laura Dahl, Shauna Morin (Interfaith Youth Core, December 2017)

Based on findings from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) in which 7,194 students at 122 colleges and universities participated during fall 2015 and 2016, this report sheds light on the role the first-year experience plays in the learning and development of students, especially regarding their understanding of religious matters in society. Navigating Pluralism aims to help educators explore and engage often-perplexing issues of religious and worldview diversity in relation to the college experience, campus climate, and student outcomes. The report addresses key findings in these domains, revealing myriad factors that first-year students face. For example, the report shows that students enter college with high expectations for a welcoming campus environment, but perceptions of welcoming people of different races, transgender people, and people of different worldviews (especially Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and LDS/Mormons) often fall short. For the report, visit Interfaith Youth Core.


Line Chart: 57% of all private institutions are confident in financial stability over 10 years; 47% of all public insitutions  


Two bar graphs: 1. My college actively works to promote civic engagement among students: 88% private nonprofit, 76% public; 2. My college actively works to promote civil discourse by students: 81% private nonprofit, 66% public  

Sources: (Figure 1) Inside Higher Ed, “Leading in Turbulent Times: A Survey of Presidents,” March 9, 2018. 
(Figure 2) 2018 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers. 2018. Inside Higher Ed and Gallup. 
Both figures created by the Council of Independent Colleges. 
*Note: Percentage of CAOs who agree or strongly agree.


Institutional satisfaction—If I had it to do all over, I would again choose to work at this institution.(5=strongly agree; 1=strongly disagree)

Bar graph: Baccalaureate: 4.04; Master's: 3.85; Doctoral: 3.78; Research University: 3.81  

Departmental satisfaction—This department is a good place to work. (5=strongly agree; 1=strongly disagree)

Bar graph: Baccalaureate: 3.97; Master's: 3.68; Doctoral: 3.73; Research University: 3.75  

Source: The Working Environment Matters: Faculty Member Job Satisfaction by Institution Type. 2018. TIAA Institute. Figure created by the Council of Independent Colleges.


Bar graph depicting percentage of institutions using 12 different assessment approaches  

Source: Assessment That Matters: Trending toward Practices That Document Authentic Student Learning. 2018. NILOA. Figure created by the Council of Independent Colleges.