Costs and Benefits Resources

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A Degree in Science: What's the Price? What's the Cost? (Powerpoint, 2013). From Delta Cost Project, this is a PPT from the Center for STEM Education and Innovation about assessing costs and benefits.

Transforming Institutions (Book, 2015). This book brings together chapters from scholars in the 2011 and 2014 Transforming Institutions conferences. It provides an overview of the context and challenges in STEM higher education, descriptions of programs and research, and summary of lessons learned, plus next steps. Also included in: Model and theory, Recommendations for leaders, cost benefit, assessment.

Faculty Development and Student Learning: Condon et al., 2015 (Book, 2015). Condon, Iverson, Manduca et al. reports the results of a multi-year study undertaken by faculty at Carleton College and Washington State University to assess how students' learning is affected by faculty members' efforts to become better teachers, including assessment of faculty development effectiveness. Also Included in: Costs and Benefits, measurement.

The National Center for Academic Transformation. (Organization) NCAT is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the effective use of information technology to improve student learning outcomes and reduce the cost of higher education. NCAT provides expertise and support to institutions and organizations seeking proven methods for providing more students with the education they need to prosper in today's economy." These folks provide guidance (and sometimes funding, depending on their own grant support) for redesign of courses using technology, with the goal of both reducing costs and improving learning outcomes. They have a substantial body of data and analyses from their own case studies that shed light on the cost of instruction at the individual course level.

The Delta Project. (Project). Delta Project is a unit within the American Institute for Research. They cover a lot of hot button cost issues. Their time at present appears to be focused on the higher level debates over value for cost, like spending on athletics and research. They have interesting resources on their site, like spending breakdowns by state. The project they have done that is closest to our interest in is the report Calculating cost-return for investments in student success (2009). This project calculated the cost return on first year programs to enhance student success. It claims all the tuition/fee revenue for the increase in retained students without accounting for the costs of instructing those students down the line, or the fact that the institution may have already calculated how to saturate its resources with the amount of melt it was experiencing before the intervention. So the real savings would be in the cost of recruiting enough students to fill the beds and classes.

Improving measurement of productivity in higher education (NAP report, 2012). Committee on National Statistics; Board on Testing and Assessment; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council. This is heavy going, 230 pages written by analysts for an audience of analysts! There wasn't an easy answer to the questions we want to see worked on, but we will have to come to grips with this material.

Metro Academies. (Program). This is a student cohort based program for support of underrepresented students. It has done a cost analysis study that shows that the program leads to savings in per graduate costs.

Barriers and Opportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees: Systemic Change to Support Diverse Student Pathway (NAP report, 2016). S. Malcom & M. Feder (Eds.) Report outlining career pathways in STEM, including issues of identity and belonging, instructional practice, co-curricular supports, and policy. Chapter 5 covers cost of STEM degrees to students and institutions. Also included in: cross cutting issues.

The Science Education Initiative model, outcomes, and lessons learned (Journal article, Chasteen et al., 2015). Primarily an analysis of the SEI model and impacts in the physics department, there is an analysis of faculty workload and time issues in developing and using active-learning materials (faculty time increased in most departments except in physics, where most course development was shouldered by postdocs).

The optimized university (article, Wieman, 2008). This is a think piece by Carl Wieman about what the optimized university would look like, which addresses issues of efficiency. Shorter summaries are published on the live science blog and Science 2.0 blog.

Benefit-Cost analysis (handout). Benefit - Cost analysis is commonly used in infrastructure projects, especially transportation, as one criterion for project selection. Given the financial challenges facing higher education, benefit-cost analysis has the potential to help inform decisions where the goal is choosing instructional practices that maximize the benefit/cost ratio. This handout is used in economics classes to practice such benefit-cost analysis.

Advancing the Power of Economic Evidence to Inform Investments in Children, Youth, and Families (NAP Report, 2016). While not directly related to pedagogical/institutional change related to teaching and learning, the discussion of measuring costs and benefits and providing effective evidence to stakeholders should be of value and interest to the project and our workgroup.

The Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners (Guide). This guide, developed by a working group convened by the LSC, is a template for measuring return on investment of time, energy and funds expended in shaping physical environments serving 21st century learners and examining how space influences the nature of the learning experience. It is intended to advance efforts on individual campuses to imagine and shape new spaces, reimagine and repurpose existing spaces; it is intended to inform the national dialogue about why attention to physical learning environments matters.