Foundations, Research Centers, Think Tanks

  • Lumina Foundation: Helping People Achieve Their Potential A private, independent foundation, strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access and success in education beyond high school.
  • Institute for Higher Education Policy The mission of the Institute for Higher Education Policy is to increase access and success in postsecondary education around the world through unique research and innovative programs that inform key decision makers who shape public policy and support economic and social development.
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education.”
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities: A Voice and a Force for Liberal Education in the 21st Century (AAC&U) The leading national association committed to advancing and improving liberal education for all students.
  • Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts The mission of the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts is to explore, test, and promote liberal arts education.
  • Education Sector Education Sector is an independent education policy think tank. We produce original research and policy analysis and promote outstanding work by the nation’s most respected education analysts.
  • The Teagle Foundation The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, marshaling the intellectual and financial resources necessary to ensure that today’s students have access to challenging, wide-ranging, and enriching college educations.
  • The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education will serve as a resource, a clearinghouse and a constructive critic — seeking to stimulate, assist and prod government and higher education toward constructive change.
  • American Council for Higher Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universitities(NAICU) The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. The NAICU staff meets with policymakers, tracks campus trends, conducts research, analyzes higher education issues, publishes information, helps coordinate state-level activities, and advises members of legislative and regulatory developments with potential impact on their institutions.
  • NSSE Institute The service and research arm of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Teaching and Learning Centers / Assessment Websites at Liberal Arts Colleges

Federal, State, and Regional Resources Related to Assessment

  • Northeast Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Commission on Higher Education NEASC is the regional reaccrediation organization. The standards for reaccreditation were recently revised and are available on the website or are here, as well. Colby will be eligible for its decennial reaccrediation in Fall 2007.
  • Commission on the Future of Higher Education (Wikipedia entry) Commission created by Dept. of Education secretary to examine the future of US higher education, with special attention to the four issues of access, affordability, quality, and accountability (for institutional claims about student learning outcomes). Report published in Sep 2006 is available here.
  • NCHEMS Information Center for State Higher Education and Policy Making Analysis Great resources for state-by-state comparisons, website is an “effort to provide higher education policymakers and analysts with the data and information needed to make sound policy decisions. May become a future home for state level higher education learning outcomes results.
  • National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) The National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) is a voluntary partnership of postsecondary institutions, associations, government agencies, and organizations. NPEC receives funding from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), U.S. Department of Education. See links related to student outcomes. Also see the set of invited papers to the Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success, November 1-3, 2006.
  • New England Board of Education Useful regional resource — their quarterly publication Connections contains many articles on trends in higher education in New England.

Assessment Research Resources (Surveys, Methods)

Standardized surveys conducted at Colby (link connects to instrument or to website with information as well as blank survey instrument):

  • HEDS Senior Survey (Annual, with graduating seniors in May, 2002 through 2006)
  • CIRP Freshman Survey (Annual, entering first-year students, September, 1971 through 2006)
  • Your First College Year (Completed annually with completing first-years, Spring 2004 through Spring 2006, not planned for Spring 2007)
  • Career Services Survey (Completed annually by Career Services office with graduating seniors).

In-house  surveys conducted at Colby (link connects to survey instrument):

Analysis of self-reported gains and student engagement (Colby Study) Not conducted at Colby (as of Spring 2006), but considering:

Companies that produce instruments to assess liberal arts student outcomes

General Assessment Resources / Links

Higher Education News

  • Liberal Arts College NewsThis website provides liberal arts college news, editorials, story ideas and source leads for journalists, and other information relevant to higher education in the United States.
  • Online magazine with many articles related to assessment and learning outcomes. Excellent resource for staying abreast of political environment for assessment.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education Primary publication covering academe. Many news articles relate to assessment issues and politics around assessment.

Interesting Reports and Links Related to Assessment

  • Benefits of Undergraduate Research Experiences (2007). Recent article in Science magazine demonstrating positive impact of faculty mentored student participation in science research on intentions to pursue careers and higher education in engineering and the sciences.
  • The Zen of Education (2003). Speech by Alfred Abbott to the entering class of 2002 to the University of Chicago.  A quote: “Education is not about content. It is not even about skills. It is a habit or stance of mind. It is not something you have. It is something you are.”
  • Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (1987). A much-cited summary of research-based best practices at liberal arts colleges.
  •  Assessment of Liberal Education Outcomes: Findings from interviews with faculty, administrators, and students   (2006). A qualitative research project based on interviews with faculty, administrators, and students, several of whom were at Colby. Report tries to identify the opportunities and obstacles to assessment of learning outcomes.
  • Examsmanship and the Liberal Arts 1963 essay by William G. Perry. An excerpt: “But sir, I don’t think I really deserve it, it was mostly bull, really.” This disclaimer from a student whose examination we have awarded a straight “A” is wondrously depressing. Alfred North Whitehead invented its only possible rejoinder: “Yes sir, what you wrote is nonsense, utter nonsense. But ah! Sir! It’s the right kind of nonsense!”
  • College Rankings Reformed 2006 Report by the Education Sector arguing that US News college rankings should be replaced by rankings based on “value -added” student learning outcomes.
  • A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of US Higher Education Report by US Education Secretary Margaret Spellings which argues, among other things, for insittutional accountability for learning outcomes.
  • Greater Expectations: An AAC&U report that calls for a dramatic reorganization of undergraduate education to ensure that all college aspirants receive not just access to college, but an education of lasting value. The panel offers a new vision that will promote the kind of learning students need to meet emerging challenges in the workplace, in a diverse democracy, and in an interconnected world. The report also proposes a series of specific actions and collaborations to raise substantially the quality of student learning in college.
  • Counting and Recounting: Assessment and the Quest for Accountability (Change magazine, Jan/Feb 2007). Various types of assessments produce results that tell different stories about a student’s educational opportunities and accomplishments. No instrument can claim to be valid without a clear explanation of why that particular story is being told.
  • The Student as Scholar: Undergraduate Research and Creative Practice AAC&U sponsored conference.