Academy Administration Practice Research Project Abstracts January 2013

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

2 MARKET EVALUATION Viability of a School of Government and Public Service Analysts at Hanover Research examine the demand for a School of Government and Public Service on behalf of an online and distance learning college with a focus on adult higher education, providing a review of the number and degree offerings of public service programs, an analysis of completions trends for degrees related to public service, an examination of the labor market for public service occupations, and profiles of public service degree offerings at several online institutions. In a review of 23 additional online MPA programs at nonprofit institutions, Hanover finds that institutions focus on a similar core set of program features to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but that these features are not in fact unique to any one competitor institution. Based on the indicators of demand, potential competitors, and labor market outlook, Hanover Research recommends further considerations when offering degrees outside the field of public administration, which currently appears to be the primary area of focus for online institutions. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report centering on the development of new public service degree programs: Labor Market Demand of Public Service Degrees outside the field of Public Administration Benchmarking Peer Institutions Public Service Degree Staffing and Institutional Structure Benchmarking Peer Institutions Online Degree Offerings Market Analysis for a Master s Program in Education Evaluation Hanover Research assesses student and labor market demand for master s degrees in education evaluation through an analysis of degree completion data, official occupational projections, search trend information, and job networking data. This information will aid in assessing the feasibility of developing an online graduate program in education evaluation for a large university branch campus looking to address the current industry-wide shortage of highly trained individuals in educational research and other social science research settings. Hanover finds that the market for an online master s-level program track in education evaluation appears viable since the target market for such a program is likely national in scope, relevant projections indicate that student demand for graduate-level credentials in the field is increasing, and that related occupations will grow in line with average growth for all jobs over the next decade Hanover Research 2

3 Positioning Study of a Management and Urban Policy Program Review Following conversations with the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Instruction, analysts evaluate student demand, assess potential labor market opportunities, and profile the competitive landscape for graduate degrees in urban policy, nonprofit management, and organizational change management for a private metropolitan university. First, Hanover outlines broad employment trends in the public sector at the local, state, and national levels and then focuses on how urban policy is offered at graduate levels of study through the analysis of degree completions data. Next, Hanover provides information on graduate-level programs in nonprofit management, discussing the student demand for programs in organizational change management and subsequent employment outcomes. Lastly, the idea of a unified Center on Nonprofit Issues is introduced, detailing the behavior of such entities at other institutions that embrace the use of a common degree structure for the three fields. Hanover Research finds that it would be wise to consider constructing an overarching Master of Public Affairs degree program. Market Analysis for a Blended PhD in Clinical Psychology By analyzing degree completions data, employment projections, job search trends, and industry literature, researchers at Hanover assess student and labor market demand for a hybrid PhD program in clinical psychology to aid a growing university as it considers the development of this doctoral program focused toward serving returning veterans in need of mental health treatment. To complete this assessment, we first focus on student demands by analyzing trends in recent completion rates for doctoral programs in clinical psychology within the context of the current internship match crisis as declared by the American Psychological Association (APA). By then examining the labor market demand for related occupations and considering potential competition for the proposed program by profiling PhD programs in clinical or counseling psychology, Hanover Research finds that while doctoral offerings in clinical psychology are common, hybrid programs are rare. Thus, while there is room in the market for the development of a hybrid PhD program, the establishment of the accredited program proposed would be the first of its kind in the nation and would as such not be guaranteed to succeed given the inconsistencies that exist between the labor market demand and student demand, in conjunction with accreditation difficulties. Analysis of Tuition Pricing Strategies At the President s request after raising concerns regarding the value proposition questioning if college is worth the money, Hanover Research examines key trends in tuition pricing among private institutions by outlining broad trends in tuition pricing among private institutions. To collect this data, we focus on recent 2013 Hanover Research 3

4 trends in tuition discounting and the move by some small private institutions to replace tuition discounting with tuition cuts, scan a number of affordability measures being taken by private institutions, and provide peer institution profiles of schools that have implemented innovative affordability measures as part of their overall tuition pricing strategies. This report addresses the fact that public sentiment against tuition increases is growing stronger, and therefore small private institutions feel they must keep costs under control in order to bring in more students. QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Analysis of the 2013 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings - This proposal examines a private law school s ranking in the U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) law school rankings and analyzes projected changes in this ranking in simulated scenarios involving increases in each of the variables underlying the ranking. In addition to this report, a spreadsheet that enables administrators to test their own hypothetical scenarios is included. This file allows any set of values to be entered in place of current values, and then re-computes the rankings with the new values to show where the law school in question would have placed in the 2013 rankings with these changes. The report is divided into three sections, including 1) an overview of the methodology behind the USNWR ranking system; 2) a description of this methodology in detail to elaborate upon the university s strengths and weaknesses with respect to the various ranking factors; and 3) an examination into how increasing the scores of each of the variables that contribute to the ranking would affect the overall rank in question through the exploration of various scenarios. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report focusing on enhancing program performance: Alumni Tracking and Satisfaction Survey Accreditation Support Student Learning Outcomes Brand Perception and Awareness Survey Analysis Factors of Student De-Enrollment - The goal of this data analysis project is to provide this leading research institution with a profile of the students most likely or least likely to return each year to complete their studies in order to support university recruitment and retention efforts. Hanover Research evaluates key factors affecting the withdrawal of students. In order to 2013 Hanover Research 4

5 examine the specific students who are at risk of leaving the university, researchers at Hanover analyze student demographic and academic data for spring 2012, with the total number of students available for analysis at 3,229. In this report, Hanover creates a decision tree, a hierarchical model that identifies the most important delimiter between students who withdrew and those who did not, and iteratively the second most important delimiter, and so forth. In addition, we also estimate a linear probability model that allows us to estimate the marginal increase in the probability of withdrawal based on student characteristics. Financial Aid Phone Survey Analysis Hanover Research presents responses to a phone survey administered to college students regarding their experiences with the Office of Financial Aid and Office of Veteran s Affairs. The survey allowed respondents to rate all aspects of their experience and elaborate on their responses, then analyzes these responses, calculates cross-tabulations by veteran status, and codes open-ended survey responses. In our key findings, we draw out prevalent issues and over-arching themes of the responses based on ratings and open-ended comments. When performing a cross-tabulation of responses by veteran status, we calculated whether any differences in ratings were statistically significant to find that veterans were more likely to report having a very positive experience compared to civilians. Hanover provides further recommendations for this online university to offer more comprehensive training for representatives who assist students. Marketing and Enrollment Activity Analysis Analysts at Hanover Research examine enrollment activity by first analyzing the trends between 2008 and 2012 in enrollment activity. Next, researchers examine advertising spending in four channels (radio, cable, digital, and online) and analyze the effect of advertising on enrollment activity. Finally, we analyze the effect of education consultants visits on enrollment activity. The results show a positive and statistically significant relationship between number of counselors visits and number of expressions of interest. Hanover estimates that one additional visit by high school counselors, college counselors or education consultants will result in 1.5 additional expressions of interest, even controlling for the average number of expressions of interest received from the counselor s home county and any yearspecific trends. We further estimate that this relationship is driven primarily by high school counselor visits, and not by visits from college counselors or education consultants Hanover Research 5

6 BENCHMARKING Benchmarking Writing Assistance Programs Hanover Research works with a private, theologically based university to present an overview of writing assistance programs for students at identified peer institutions. As many students are entering undergraduate programs with diverse educational backgrounds and without the writing and critical reading skills needed to succeed at the college level, colleges and universities have created classes and programs designed to assist these underprepared students. Hanover describes the types of programs offered at peer institutions to inform the university of practices currently in place, uncovering that peer liberal arts institutions desire to provide assistance to students without necessarily identifying students as underprepared or lacking skills. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report surrounding the implementation of changes in university writing programs: Vendor/Product Reviews Matrix of Offerings and Value of Online Writing Tutorial Service Providers Feasibility Study for establishing a Writing Center Student satisfaction and engagement survey, including emphasis on Writing Assistance Programs Usage of E-Books in Higher Education The rise of e-books in the United States and across the globe is taking place in the context of a broader shift towards digital material. Within this report, Hanover discusses the use of e-books in postsecondary education. To begin, analysts discuss the increasing demand for e-books and the status of e-books in the higher education marketplace. Next, we briefly outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of e-books in higher education. Hanover then profile some of the ways e-books are being used at several peer institutions, including a wellknown e-book initiative which has served as the model for e-book pilot programs at other institutions. The key findings suggest that while some projections forecast rapid growth for e-books in the educational marketplace, there is relatively modest student interest in e-books as these applications suffer limitations, and therefore pilot test programs are needed to evaluate whether e-readers can be used as a substitute for or compliment to printed textbooks. Benchmarking Department-Level Strategic Plans Analysts at Hanover review department-level strategic planning practices at U.S. postsecondary institutions. The first section of this report draws on secondary literature to provide an 2013 Hanover Research 6

7 overview of common planning processes and current trends in department-level strategic planning. The second and third sections of this report profile the department-level strategic plans in operation at peer and aspirant institutions. The report focuses on strategic planning in academic departments rather than administrative units. Our scan of the secondary literature revealed that an important emphasis for department level strategic planning is alignment to the institution-wide strategic plan. LITERATURE REVIEW Measuring & Rewarding Academic Leadership To address the demand for improved academic leadership within the professoriate, Hanover Research reviews common practices for measuring and rewarding academic leadership. This report provides a brief overview of the literature on academic leadership, focusing on types of academic leadership, characteristics of effective academic leaders, and the impact of academics as leaders. Hanover then profiles five institutions that have fully integrated academic leadership into their academic promotion schemes. Findings show a need to recognize the importance of academic leadership given the different roles that formal and informal leaders play within a university, and that academics serving as leaders have the potential to fill these unwanted gaps in institutional leadership. Furthermore, integrating academic leadership into other promotion criteria provides potential in creating leadership-centric promotion pathways. Timely research often leads to further questions. As such, we have identified follow-up studies for this report centering on incorporating policy changes within a professoriate: Environmental Scan of Promotion Practices Employee Climate/Engagement Survey Design, Administration, and Analysis Best Practices in Monitoring Retention and Degree Completion Initiatives Prepared for the Vice President for Student Affairs, this report addresses two primary topics. First, it presents best practice intervention strategies for populations at risk of attrition at a state university to examine ways student retention between the first and second years of college in general as well as retention strategies targeted to at-risk populations. Second, it examines institutional and state plans for increasing college degree completions by presenting initiatives targeted at degree completions, profiling efforts at four postsecondary institutions in four states to illustrate current trends Hanover Research 7

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