AACRAO Eye on Research February 2017

by Wendy Kilgore | Feb 28, 2017

A Welcome

I’d like to introduce our new research intern, Jacob Wilson.  Jacob I. Wilson is a Ph.D. student at The University of Arizona's Center for the Study of Higher Education. Jacob teaches in the Leadership Studies program and works in Greek life at UA. His research interests include institutional efforts to promote and enhance democratic learning and engagement, community colleges and policy. He completed the “Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics” section in this month’s blog.  He and I will collaborate over the course of the next several months to complete the comprehensive project on the impact and effectiveness of the college completion agenda on community colleges. 

AACRAO Research Insights

We have two surveys in the field right now.  The first is a survey of undergraduate grading practices that we will use to update the 2004 AACRAO publication on the same topic.  Several hundred institutions have responded to date, and the survey will remain open through late March.  A very preliminary look at the data so far highlights the variety in grading practices at the undergraduate level. A similar survey on graduate grading practices will be distributed later this spring. 

The second survey is an inter-organizational project between AACRAO, IIE, IACAC, NACAC, NAFSA and the College Board seeking institutional feedback on the state of international student recruitment and yield for fall 2017.  The survey asks if the institution is hearing any concerns from international students and/or their families.  The results of this survey will be available next month.

Upcoming AACRAO Research

We have just kicked-off the comprehensive college completion project.  We expect to start collecting data and conducting interviews by late March and early April. Next month’s 60-Second survey will be open to responses from all members and will invite insights into coaching and mentorship and interest in either serving as a mentor or being matched with one.

Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

The Results are In: Inside Higher Ed’s 2017 Chief Academic Officers Survey

The results for the 2017 Inside Higher Ed survey of Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) show a mix of optimism and skepticism among the 654 Provosts and CAOs who participated. While the vast majority (86%) of respondents believe the academic health of their institutions is excellent or good, there are concerns over faculty diversity, with 62% of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing that their institution will need to make hiring decisions differently in order to increase the number of minority faculty members. The survey was conducted by Gallup and includes 12 additional topic areas, and their findings, including:

  • Liberal Arts Education
  • Competency-Based Education
  • Assessment Programs
  • Diversity in Curriculum
  • Trigger Warnings
  • Scholarship and Leadership

Early Momentum Metrics: Why They Matter for College Improvement

In this Community College Research Center research brief, David Jenkins and Thomas Bailey propose three metrics of “early momentum” that institutions can use to measure whether reforms are enhancing student outcomes. The authors propose Credit Momentum, Gateway Momentum and Program Momentum as near-term metrics that, research is beginning to show, can predict long-term success.

“Let Parents Be Parents” – An Appeal to Simplify Parent Involvement in Administrative Bureaucracy

In his commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eric Johnson appeals to college administrators to ease the burden placed on parents of first-generation and low-income students. Johnson challenges campuses to consider simplifying the systems in place, from purchasing parking permits and selecting meal plans to paying tuition bills and registering for classes. Johnson writes, “First-generation parents don’t need more instruction on the college process. Colleges need to require less of it.” After all, he says, colleges build fundraising websites that do not require multi-part tutorials before accepting a donation by credit card.

2017 CAPSEE Conference April 6-7 in Washington, DC

“Making the Right Investments in College” is the theme of this year’s Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) conference. CAPSEE is a consortium of scholars from seven universities housed and led by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Each year more than $500 billion is spent on higher education. The conference will focus on:
  • Are students making investments that will improve their economic futures?
  • Is public funding of college efficient?
  • Are colleges organized so that these investments yield the highest returns?

Visit the CAPSEE Center for more about the conference and how to register.

The To & Through Project – Busting Myths about High School & College Success

The University of Chicago’s To & Through Project has developed a resource that aims to challenge and bust myths related to student success with data and research. Here are a few myths – check out the resource guide to get the facts. Some myths addressed include:

MYTH: ACT and SAT scores are the most important indicator of success in college
MYTH: As long as a student’s grades are strong enough to graduate high school, GPAs don’t really matter
MYTH: Starting at a 2-year college provides the same opportunity to a 4-year degree as starting at a 4-year college

Department of ED Releases a First Look of New Report

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) released a First Look report with provisional 2015-16 IPEDS data. The report is titled Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2015; and Financial Statistics and Academic Libraries, Fiscal Year 2015: First Look. Select findings include:
  • Characteristics of Enrolled Students
  • Revenues and Expenses of Title IV Entities
  • Employees in Postsecondary Institutions
  • Academic Library Collections

Unpacking Relationships – Instruction and Student Outcomes

What role do instructors and instruction play in student learning and outcomes? According to a new paper published by ACE, what faculty members do and how instruction occurs matter a great deal. This paper explores five intersecting areas between student outcomes and instruction including transparency, pedagogical approaches, assessment, self-regulation and alignment. The author recommends support for instructors to create more active and student-centered learning methods.

Call for Volunteers

EAB’s Enrollment Management Forum, in partnership with The New School, is studying the effects of transcript request denials on students and their degree aspirations. Do transcript denials accomplish the intended effect of triggering bill payment? To what degree do they also lead to the unintended consequence of preventing a student in financial distress from pursuing education closer to home or at a more affordable institution?
To complete this study we need you. Will your institution participate by sending data on transcript request denials? All data will be kept confidential and anonymous. Participating institutions will receive a customized institution-specific analysis in addition to the final, blinded, aggregate report.
Below are the data requested, for each student that submitted but was denied a transcript due to a financial hold. Partial datasets are welcome.
  • Was the balance was paid following transcript denial (yes/no)
  • The size of the unpaid balance
  • Annual net price to student
  • Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
  • G.P.A.
  • Credit hours earned
  • Is this a first-generation college student?
  • For students who do not pay, do NSC data indicate they enrolled elsewhere (yes/no)?

Any data provided should be stripped of personally identifying information, including student ID numbers, names, and addresses. Please contact EAB at dstrait@eab.com with data, questions, or concerns.