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


The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most
Peter Felten, John N. Gardner, Charles C. Schroeder, et al.
(Jossey-Bass, 2016)

This new book helps administrators identify practices that fragment the undergraduate student experience and offers ideas about how to create an integrated learning paradigm that aligns budgetary decisions with mission. The authors draw on a range of examples when discussing six areas on which successful institutions focus: learning, relationships, expectations, alignment, improvement, and leadership. They recommend leaders adopt George Kuh’s notion of “positive restlessness” to improve campus culture by allowing for discussion and encouraging initiative and innovation.

There Is Life after College: What Parents and Students Should Know about Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow
Jeffrey J. Selingo
(HarperCollins, 2016)

For his latest book, author, columnist, and former editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education Jeffery J. Selingo commissioned a survey of 752 young adults, which he then categorized into three groups of roughly equal size: “sprinters,” “wanderers,” and “stragglers.” Sprinters pursue lucrative jobs immediately after graduating from college, wanderers experiment with multiple fields and take longer to find a suitable career path, and stragglers either do not finish or take much longer to graduate from college and have trouble finding higher-paid work. Although Selingo argues that liberal arts education is the best preparation for future jobs, he underscores the importance of developing industry-specific skills. He touts the value of tech-training programs, community college and two-year degrees, and gap years.

The Power of Integrated Learning: Higher Education for Success in Life, Work, and Society
William M. Sullivan
(Stylus, 2016)

William M. Sullivan, senior scholar at the Center for Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College (IN), offers ideas about how colleges and universities can effectively prepare graduates for a rapidly changing economy and answer questions from students, parents, and employers about the return on investment and outcomes of higher education. He identifies and analyzes successful examples of high-impact practices, experiential learning, intentional campus community life, externships, campus-community partnerships, and civically-oriented graduate programs. Sullivan draws on best practices from 25 colleges and universities that are members of the New American Colleges and Universities consortium, which emphasizes an approach that integrates the liberal arts, professional studies, and civic responsibility.

Liberating Service Learning and the Rest of Higher Education Civic Engagement
Randy Stoecker
(Temple University Press, 2016)

Randy Stoecker, sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argues that the way most colleges and universities implement service-learning programs is too student-centric and limits both community impact and student learning. Institutions prioritize student output and hours over societal change. In some cases, civic engagement programs impose control on communities and even harm those in need. Stoecker asserts social change and positive integration with the communities should be the first goals of service-learning programs, and theorizing and classroom learning should follow in importance.

Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity: Confronting the Fear of Knowledge
Joanna Williams
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Disturbed by student protests against controversial visiting speakers and other signs of ideological conformity on college and university campuses, Joanna Williams, a senior lecturer at the University of Kent, argues for greater freedom of speech in both U.K. and U.S. higher education. Williams critiques self-imposed limitations on classroom discussions; the BDS movement, which urges boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel; and late 20th-century developments in critical theory among other issues. She suggests that an increased focus on disciplinarity would establish a common framework for intellectual exchange through which more rigorous debate could unfold and knowledge could advance.


2015 Tuition Discounting Study
NACUBO (May 2016)
Discount rates for both first-year and all undergraduate students at private colleges and universities have hit all-time highs once again, reports the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). Over the 2015–2016 academic year, 48.6 percent of full-time, first-year students at private colleges received a discount, an increase of 1.5 percent from last year. The increase for all undergraduates was similar; 42.5 percent received discounts this year versus 41.3 percent last year. The report also includes data on changes in net tuition revenue, total undergraduate institutional grant aid funded by endowment earnings, and percentage of institutional grants that meet students’ demonstrated financial need. Net tuition revenue growth from all undergraduates increased only slightly over the past year, from 1.7 percent in 2014–2015 to 1.8 percent in 2015–2016. This growth was below the rate of inflation in 2015 (2.1 percent). To purchase the report, visit www.nacubo.org/Products/Online_Research_Products/2015_Tuition_Discounting_Study.html.

Education for America's Future  

2026: The Decade Ahead: The Seismic Shifts Transforming the Future of Higher Education
Chronicle of Higher Education (May 2016)
This Chronicle of Higher Education report asserts that three key trends indicate coming change: the rise of MOOCs and debate about how students learn best, heightened demands from the public and policy makers for a college degree’s return on investment, and increasing completion of stackable credentials alongside the decreasing completion of full-fledged college degrees. The report predicts that the American South will be the greatest area for university growth, and smaller colleges are the most likely to face risk factors that threaten healthy enrollments. It also offers new models for the faculty body, admissions process, and competency-based education. To purchase the report, visit https://chronicle-store.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ID=80579&WG=350.
Internationalizing the Co-Curriculum—Part Three: Internationalization and Student Affairs and Connecting Classrooms: Using Online Technology to Deliver Global Learning
American Council on Education (May 2016)
The American Council on Education (ACE) has released two new reports in its Internationalization in Action series, which was launched three years ago. Internationalization and Student Affairs is the third and final installment of ACE’s insights into internationalizing the co-curriculum. The report offers best practices in strategic planning and professional standards alongside links to models from varying types of universities and profiles of higher education professionals, including one of CIC Director of Research Projects Hollie Chessman. The special edition report, Connecting Classrooms: Using Online Technology to Deliver Global Learning, addresses the opportunities and challenges of launching a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program. The report draws on experiences of colleges and universities that have received funding from ACE to launch COIL programs. To download the reports, visit www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Internationalization-in-Action.aspx.
Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Newseum Institute, and Gallup (April 2016)
This Gallup study commissioned by the Newseum Institute and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation found that American college and university students are more confident than the general American population that the First Amendment is secure. A majority of students believe that the First Amendment should protect freedom of speech even if some groups are offended, but a greater percentage of students than adults are willing to entertain restrictions on offensive speech. Perceptions of free speech varied among students of different races and ethnicities. The survey also asked students about free expression on social media and media coverage of campus protests. More than 3,000 college students and 2,000 adults were interviewed. To download the report, visit www.knightfoundation.org/media/uploads/publication_pdfs/FreeSpeech_campus.pdf.

Education for America's Future  

Evolving Higher Education Business Models: Leading with Data to Deliver Results
American Council on Education and TIAA Institute (March 2016)
This report urges colleges and universities to increase transparency around key financial data concerning expenses, revenues, and educational outcomes and to consider the data together rather than separately, as in the “black box” model used by most institutions today. The report authors argue that faculty and staff members—and sometimes even students—should have access to this data and understand how to interpret it. Shared governance should focus on developing data-informed outcomes and evaluating the institution’s progress toward meeting those outcomes, and data should inform decision making at all levels of colleges and universities, the report argues. To download the report, visit www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Evolving-Higher-Education-Business-Models.pdf.