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The Challenge of Independent Colleges

, 280 pages

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November 2017



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The Challenge of Independent Colleges

Moving Research into Practice

This book began as a collaboration among top higher education researchers, the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) scholars, and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Documenting the challenges and opportunities facing independent colleges in several integral areas, including public purposes and student engagement, The Challenge of Independent Colleges is informed by the reactions of independent campus presidents and provosts who work every day to act on the opportunities presented by private colleges and universities.

Each of the nine chapters is written by a leading higher education scholar and frames highly relevant issues for administrators at independent colleges and universities. Topics range from "Access and Affordability" and "Assessment" to "Ensuring Student Success" and "Institutional Strategy." Each chapter is followed by a short, critical reaction written by a provost or president at a CIC member institution. These reactions demonstrate how the information contained in the chapter might be used by institutional leaders to make decisions and what other information on the chapter’s topic might be useful for leaders at independent colleges and universities.

An important resource for higher education scholars and campus leaders, this text will also be a useful addition to courses on education.

Contributors: John M. Braxton, Erin B. Ciarimboli, Cynthia Cogswell, Valerie Crespín-Trujillo, Daniel Custer, Richard Dorman, Roger Drake, Richard Ekman, David Guthrie, Harold V. Hartley III, James C. Hearn, Nicholas Hillman, Jillian Kinzie, Mary B. Marcy, Matthew J. Mayhew, Charlie McCormick, Linda McMillin, Christopher C. Morphew, Julie J. Park, Laura W. Perna, Kevin M. Ross, Marc Roy, Laurie Schreiner, Carolyn J. Stefanco, Barrett Taylor, Stephen J. Vassallo, David J. Weerts, Cynthia A. Wells, Letha Zook

Christopher C. Morphew is a professor and the executive associate dean in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. He is a coeditor of Privatizing the Public University: Perspectives from across the Academy. John M. Braxton is a professor of higher education at Vanderbilt University. He is a coauthor of Professors Behaving Badly: Faculty Misconduct in Graduate Education.

"A comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the state of small independent colleges today, The Challenge of Independent Colleges explores a wide range of vitally important issues facing these institutions. The interplay between scholars and practitioners clearly shows what we know and what we need to know to ensure these institutions not only survive but thrive in the twenty-first century."

"As the title promises, this book brings important academic research alive for those leading independent colleges. Research drives innovation. The book not only provides readers with a keen understanding of the natural advantages small colleges enjoy in being able to innovate, but it also delivers the tools to bring evidence-based improvements to their institutions."

"This is important work at an important time in our industry. Morphew and Braxton provide a meaningful inquiry into the many challenges facing higher education today, but more importantly, they deliver numerous helpful recommendations that will drive innovation and reflective change within our institutions."

"Christopher Morphew and John Braxton have done a beautiful job of capturing the unique strengths, challenges, and opportunities of independent higher education. This is a must read for college and university leaders at all levels. This book includes the latest research on issues we all wrestle with as well as a response from practitioners who live with these challenges daily."

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