Experts Rate State of U.S. Higher Ed ‘Just Above Neutral’

STATUS UPDATE: Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit research and consulting service, has released the results of its first semi-annual Higher Ed Insights survey. Last fall the company asked a panel of 110 higher education administrators and experts about methods to improve degree completion rates, quality of student learning and affordability.

Respondents rated the current state of U.S. higher education as "just above neutral." They favored “proactive advising” and “guided pathways” as strategies to improve completion rates, and “adaptive learning technologies” and “systematic assessment of student learning” as best to improve student learning. “Unbundling credits and services” claimed the top spot for improving affordability.  

Ithaka S+R analysts noted that while most of the respondents agreed with one another on most answers, they were sharply divided over President Obama’s push for universal free tuition.

The survey also asked about obstacles to innovation in higher education. The most common response? “Institutional culture and structure”—pointing to barriers such as misaligned faculty incentives, lack of visionary leadership, and commitment to outdated instructional and organizational models. It sure wasn't a lack of ideas.

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