Academy Administration Practice Research Project Abstracts March 2013

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1 Academy Administration Practice Research Project Abstracts March 2013 The following abstracts describe a sampling of projects completed by Hanover Research on behalf of various higher education institutions during March MARKET EVALUATION 2. QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS 3. BENCHMARKING 4. LITERATURE REVIEW 1750 H STREET NW, 2nd FLOOR, WASHINGTON, DC P F

2 MARKET EVALUATION Market Analysis for Individualized Majors and Flexible Degree Completion Programs In this report, Hanover Research analyzes the market for individualized undergraduate degree programs as well as flexible degree completion programs. This analysis will aid our partner college as it considers the development of an individualized degree program aimed at meeting the needs of both high-achieving students and returning adult learners. Hanover s analysis comprises four sections: Section I provides an overview of the market for individualized undergraduate majors. Hanover discusses general trends in the development of these programs as well as potential student demand for such an offering. Section II outlines three current individualized major programs offered to provide more in-depth information on the development and implementation of individualized degree programs, as well as a sense of competitors. Section III analyzes trends in the market for flexible degree completion programs, both nationally and regionally. This allows for a discussion of regional programs as well as potential marketing strategies. The section also provides a demographic analysis to gauge the regional market for prospective students. Section IV discusses three flexible degree completion programs and individualized major programs aimed at nontraditional students offered at competitor schools. The profiles highlight best practices in program marketing and design. The accompanying Excel spreadsheet provides details on individualized programs of study offered within our partner s region of interest. Details include targeted student population (traditional or nontraditional), program requirements, delivery format, and other key features. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report centering on implementing individualized degree programs: Innovative Measures in Meeting the Needs of Returning Adult Learners Feasibility Study for Developing an Individualized Degree Academic Advising Support Program Marketing Analysis: Branding Individualized Majors in College Outreach 2013 Hanover Research 2

3 Cybersecurity Program Market Analysis Technology plays an ever-increasing role in business, government, and enterprise operations. At the request of the Executive Director of Marketing for an adult learning college to investigate this market, Hanover Research examines student demand for a new program in cybersecurity and analyzes local and national labor trends to gauge the market s receptiveness to graduates of a new program in the field. We examine national policy trends, funding opportunities, and credentialing bodies in exploring the scope of the nation s need for cybersecurity professionals. We take into consideration data from the Department of Education and Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as offer contextual information about common program titles, certifications, accreditations, available grants, and potential workplaces. We profile three of the largest cybersecurity-award granting institutions to highlight program costs and features. Market Scan for Master s Degrees in Sciences, Mathematics, and Education Hanover Research presents a high-level overview of the market for a variety of degrees in the disciplines of education, mathematics, and sciences. This assessment of recent degree completions data and related employment projections will assist a private, urban college in understanding student and employer demand for trained professionals in these areas, thereby informing the decision making process for the proposed degree programs. The presented data in this report will assist our partner in determining which degree program is most in demand and likely to succeed, based on both trends in degree completions and occupational forecasts through the end of the decade. Analysts at Hanover advise that degrees in Environmental Science, both at the Master s and Bachelor s degree levels, are the strongest candidates proposed by the college as the completion rates at both degree levels are the highest collectively of all the groups considered, and the occupational outlook is equally strong for the entire region in question. Considerations for Summer Term Enrollment Growth At the request of the Director of Institutional Research, Hanover Research presents an environmental scan of small, private institutions to identify best practices in structuring summer course offerings. This information will help our partnering university understand the best options as administrators consider the development of new summer courses. We address this research questions by (1) discussing ways in which universities have used feasibility studied to plan summer course offerings, (2) outlining the summer courses current students take at other institutions and examine the full set of summer course offerings at the institutions and other regional universities, and 2013 Hanover Research 3

4 (3) examining summer term offerings at other comparable enrollment and tuition institutions nationwide. Through this research, Hanover identified the next steps for this university in determining appropriate summer term offerings are: to gauge faculty interest in teaching certain courses; survey students to determine interest and preferences in a summer term; and review term length in light of utilizable campus space and time constraints of institutional offices. Speaking with department chairs speeds the determination of faculty interest. Students can be surveyed about interest in a summer term, classes they would like to take, and preference in length of term. Incorporating these data, summer term length and timing can be determined according to time needed by institutional offices between the academic year and summer term. Open Source Virtual Learning Environments An international university approached Hanover to aid in determining if they should switch to open source software when approaching university activity using virtual learning platforms. In response to this request, Hanover Research provides a literature review on open source virtual learning environments (VLEs). The report provides an overview of VLEs, discusses open source VLEs, examines institutional policies toward VLEs, and assesses the prevalence of VLEs at U.K., U.S., and Canadian institutions. The report also profiles five institutions that have implemented centrally-provided VLEs. Through this research process, Hanover finds that the majority of today s college students frequently use VLEs. VLEs provide instructional support by presenting information, facilitating course material management, and serving as a means of collecting and assessing student work. They can be broadly categorized as either proprietary or open source. Although proprietary systems have traditionally dominated the market, open source systems have gained popularity in recent years. While a large number of universities have adopted these open source VLEs, a lengthy and comprehensive evaluation processes is often required to determine which VLE will best meet the needs of a university. QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Tuition Sensitivity Survey Analysis Hanover Research analyzes survey data from current students, non-matriculating students who applied to the college, parents of college students, and prospective college students. The central focus of the study is to assess the importance of tuition costs and what impact a tuition increase at this college might have on enrollment decisions. Hanover s key findings outline that the school s market share will drop as tuition increases. In Hanover s conjoint market simulations, market share was lost among respondents in all four groups as it increased its price Hanover Research 4

5 However, these data suggest that small increases in tuition costs will probably not affect enrollment to a great extent. Students interested in the school do act as rational consumers, but many appear willing to pay a premium for what college offers. Additional research and analysis is needed to determine the optimal amount to which the school can increase its tuition. All in all, while Hanover finds the academic quality of an institution to be the most important factor when considering a college, dissatisfaction with tuition pricing leads many prospective students to apply to public universities with comparable quality and lower costs. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified followup studies for this report focusing on addressing tuition sensitivity: Benchmarking Tuition Pricing against Peer and Aspirant Institutions Survey Design, Administration, and Analysis of Student Tuition Satisfaction Feasibility Study in Adopting Budget Constraints to Maintain Current Tuition Pricing Graduate Student Retention Analysis Researchers at Hanover analyze graduate student retention at a larger international university within this report. The main focus of our analysis is an examination of whether certain types of students are less likely to continue their education to the second semester (referred to as one-semester retention in this report) or the second year ( one-year retention ) at the university. As a secondary focus of this report, we investigate whether certain factors are associated with students continuing their education beyond their allotted time. As explained by the university, allotted time is defined as an equivalent full time student load (EFTSL) of two for master s students and an EFTSL of four for PhD students. Through the use of descriptive statistics and regression analysis, Hanover analyzed these data in an effort to determine whether demographic and other student characteristics (such as gender and enrollment status) affected enrollment patterns. Academic Advising Survey Analysis Hanover Research administered two surveys on a college s academic advising services, one for students and another for faculty. The main goals of these surveys were to: (1) evaluate student and faculty satisfaction with college advising services, (2) find out which aspects of advising are most important to students, (3) identify which services faculty advisors feel comfortable administering to students, and (4) gauge student and faculty opinion on a combined full-time professional staff and faculty advising model. In general, Hanover finds that students and faculty respondents believe that full-time professional advising staff, working alongside faculty advisors, would provide the most 2013 Hanover Research 5

6 benefit to pre-major advising services. A majority of students (54.4 percent) either agree or strongly agree that a combination of full-time staff and faculty advisors would better serve students during pre-major advising, while 45.1 percent of faculty advisors either agree or strongly agree with this statement. Overall, students are satisfied with academic advising services but there is obvious room for improvement, specifically in terms of pre-major advising. BENCHMARKING Tuition Assistance Policies for Employees and Dependents Many colleges and universities give employees and their families sharp discounts on tuition as part of an overall benefits package and supporters of the practice state that such benefits help institutions attract and retain high quality employees. At the request of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services to investigate how comparable universities handle these polices, Hanover Research benchmarks employee tuition benefits at health science-focused institutions and institutions within peer programs across the country. We also provide information on spouse and child benefits, eligibility criteria, and total maximum benefit allowed. Hanover analysts find that colleges and universities value the professional development and continuing education of their employees. As such, most institutions offer discounted or fully waived tuition fees for employees who wish to enroll in classes while working. Furthermore, employee benefits are often, but not always, extended to spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children. These benefits must be earned after a specific period of time of employment. However, there is no standard tuition benefit across the institutions studied, as some offer total remissions, while others offer discounts and others offer reimbursements either of part or all of tuition paid. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report surrounding the use of effective employee assistance techniques: Best Practices in Recruiting Top Employee Talent Feasibility Study for Developing an Employee Professional Development Program Employee Survey to Determine Effective Techniques for Employee Satisfaction and Retention Peer Sabbatical Leave Policies -- In this brief prepared for a military academy, Hanover Research presents key findings on the sabbatical leave policies used by peer institutions to provide brief profiles of each institution. The profiles review the following six features of peer sabbatical models: 2013 Hanover Research 6

7 Eligibility: Describes eligibility for sabbatical leave, particularly as it relates to specific ranks or tenure status, paying close attention to word choice (e.g., entitlement versus eligibility to apply). Length and Pay: Refers to the particulars of allowed leave in terms of timing (months and years or semesters/terms) and proportion of salary paid. Frequency: Refers to how much time (semesters or years) must pass between sabbaticals. Process: Includes practical elements used by institutions to enforce sabbatical policies, including request/approval procedures and other guidelines on limiting the number of faculty on sabbatical at a given time. Product or Outcome: Includes tangible and intangible expectations of faculty, referring both to post-sabbatical reports as well as proposals that must be submitted prior to sabbatical leave. Payback: Describes any obligations for teaching upon return from sabbatical leave and procedures to follow if the obligations are not met. Benchmarking Faculty Remuneration Practices On behalf of the Director of Faculty Affairs, Hanover analyzes faculty remuneration practices at the peer institutions of an international campus. Hanover gives an estimation of faculty salaries at these institutions, as well as the underlying policies informing faculty pay. Information was found through various sources, such as faculty handbooks, third-party surveys, adverts for faculty job postings, and direct institutional responses to requests for information from Hanover. First, analysts describe overall trends in faculty remuneration practices in the field of business education. Then, we provide information on faculty remuneration practices at the specific peer institutions requested by our partnering institution. Learner Funding for Access Programming and Mid-Career Programming This report examines learner funding for access programming and mid-career programming across several jurisdictions through a combination of primary and secondary research. The first section of this report provides general demographic information across several provinces, including unemployment information and national enrollment trends by degree level. The second section of this report analyzes Academic Upgrading, English Language education, and Certificate Programming at four peer institutions. Researchers find that Adult Upgrading and English language courses at the institutions profiled in this report were all offered free of charge Hanover Research 7

8 Furthermore, students are eligible to receive living allowances during these programs, and sources may include Adult Basic Education Social Assistance Program (ABESAP), employment agencies, or community services. Hanover also discusses several demographic indicators that may affect Academic Upgrading such as unemployment, student loan default rates, and national enrolment trends. LITERATURE REVIEW The Impact of a Master s Degree on Teacher Effectiveness In preparation for an education summit, our partnering system of higher education asked Hanover researchers to assess the evidence that examines whether a Master s degree really affects classroom performance and student learning. In this literature review, Hanover Research provides an overview of current research on the relationship between a teacher s educational attainment and student achievement. Specifically, Hanover focuses on research assessing the role of a Master s degree in improving teacher effectiveness. Despite the degree s impact on teacher s salary data from 2010 indicate that seventeen states require that school districts augment the salaries of teachers who hold the credential the research suggesting its role in creating more effective teachers is tenuous at best. Drawing upon a large and growing body of scholarly literature, Hanover assesses the role of a Master s degree for educators, its effect on student achievement, as well as a variety of more nuanced issues surrounding this debate. Our key findings report that whether or not a teacher holds a Master s degree or higher has little to no impact on student achievement. In general, having a teacher with strong content and pedagogical knowledge proves to be a more effective tool in increasing student achievement than having a teacher with a general Master s degree Hanover Research 8

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