In last year's President's report, it was my privilege to pay tribute to John Whitehead's leadership of the Foundation's Board of Trustees from December 1990 until March 1997. At their March 1997 meeting, the Trustees elected Hanna H. Gray, who has served as a Trustee since June 1979, to succeed Mr. Whitehead as Chairman. At that same meeting, Walter E. Massey, president of Morehouse College, was elected to membership on the Board of Trustees.
Important changes have also occurred in the Foundation's staff. In the fall of 1997, Mary Patterson McPherson, recently retired president of Bryn Mawr College, joined our staff as Senior Program Officer. "Pat" McPherson, as she is known to so many, is succeeding Alice F. ("Tish") Emerson as the staff member with principal responsibility for the Foundation's program for liberal arts colleges. Ms. Emerson will be retiring as a Senior Fellow of the Foundation this July, but will continue to advise the Foundation concerning our work with the Appalachian colleges. Elizabeth A. Duffy, who worked so ably with Ms. Emerson on grants to liberal arts colleges and who also served the Foundation in administrative and research capacities, has left the Foundation to accept a position as director of program development at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. James Shulman and Thomas Nygren, who already serve on the Foundation's staff, have each added some of Ms. Duffy's responsibilities to their existing portfolios.
I mention these personnel changes at the start of the President's report, rather than at the end (as is more customary) because I want to emphasize the importance of individuals at a foundation that has a small board of trustees and a small professional staff. Members of other organizations, and especially grant-seekers, appreciate being able to deal directly with a small number of highly capable people. For my part, I consider myself very fortunate to have such outstanding colleagues on the Board and on the staff.
Following our usual practice, the last part of this year's report is devoted to an extended discussion by staff members of one aspect of the Foundation's activities; this year, Tish Emerson and Liz Duffy have contributed an essay on the Foundation's liberal arts colleges program, with a focus on teaching and technology. Many will be interested, I know, in the lessons they have learned from a broadly ranging series of grants designed to assist colleges in using electronic technologies to improve undergraduate teaching, and especially the teaching of foreign languages. As Ms. Emerson and Ms. Duffy indicate near the end of their essay, identifying and assessing the financial consequences of such innovations has been one of the most difficult aspects of designing, monitoring, and evaluating this program.
They are by no means alone in coming to this conclusion, and the Foundation continues to support another initiative, led by Gilbert Whitaker, formerly provost of the University of Michigan and now dean of the Jones Graduate School of Administration at Rice University, designed to encouragecost-effective uses of technology in teaching in a variety of educational settings. During 1997, new grants in this area were made to the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan (in collaboration with the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin and Northwestern University), Rice University, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The teaching projects supported by these grants include improvements in laboratory instruction, graduate teaching of less commonly taught languages, and the development of modules that will permit the acquisition of basic skills of expository writing and critical reading by undergraduates in South Africa. In each instance, the Foundation and its grantees are committed to careful assessments of both costs and pedagogic benefits. It would be an added benefit if some of these projects also enhanced our understanding of the subtleties of evaluating the uses of technology in teaching.
Before providing a fuller discussion of research projects in higher education that are either supported by the Foundation or carried out by Foundation staff, I would like to comment on appropriations made in 1997 in two broad areas of continuing interest to the Foundation: (1) graduate study, other forms of advanced training, and faculty development, especially in the humanities; and (2) the work of independent research libraries, research libraries that are parts of universities, and the field of scholarly communication defined more broadly still (including the evolution of JSTOR, an electronic database containing the complete backfiles of core scholarly journals in a growing number of fields).
No significance should be attached to the absence of special mention in this year's report of grantmaking in a number of fields in which the Foundation remains very active: conservation and the environment, population, refugee studies, museums, the performing arts, minority fellowship programs, and educational "transformations" in South Africa, to cite obvious examples. Consistent with the practice in previous annual reports, it has seemed best to concentrate on a manageable number of topics. (A full list of grants made in 1997, in all areas, is available in the printed annual report of the Foundation.) Brief special mention should be made, nonetheless, of two "new starts" in 1997. One is the development by Catherine Wichterman of a series of orchestra forums which she hopes will provide new insights into the condition and prospects of symphony orchestras. The second is the creation by Angelica Zander Rudenstine of a promising new program of photograph conservation.
Fellowships and Advanced Training
In 1997, the Foundation appropriated over $25 million in support of eight programs of assistance to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members (especially but not exclusively young faculty members in the humanities and related social sciences). Itemizing these forms of support may serve to indicate the range of the Foundation's grantmaking in this broad area. Our Trustees and staff remain persuaded of the fundamental importance of programs of this kind, which are designed to provide tangible assistance to promising young scholars at critical points in their careers.
These appropriations, considered together, illustrate the stages at which both younger and older scholars benefit from targeted support. Aspiring first-year graduate students need encouragement (and funding) to embark on demanding programs of study. The graduate programs themselves need assistance if they are to become ever more effective mechanisms for helping students move from first-year course work through the completion of a dissertation. Outside fellowships such as those provided by the SSRC are often critical in allowing graduate students at the dissertation stage to undertake more ambitious research projects than otherwise would have been possible. Postdoctoral fellowships, participation in programs such as the Sawyer Seminars, and, later, the availability of ACLS awards and other opportunities for faculty development facilitate movement to senior faculty positions and faculty development generally. There is a natural progression from one stage to the next and, while the Foundation cannot hope to support a seamless path of professional advancement, this broad area will receive continuing emphasis.
Research Libraries and Scholarly Communication
Concern for the well-being of research libraries has a long history at this Foundation. My predecessor, John Sawyer, was a leader in encouraging major libraries to work together, to share resources, and to be forward-looking in addressing common problems and emerging opportunities. Over the last decade, the Foundation's interest in research libraries and the related area of scholarly communication has, if anything, intensified. The Foundation's grantmaking in this broad area is now overseen by Richard Ekman, who has also taken major responsibility for related research (including a forthcoming book on electronic publishing of scholarly materials, edited with Richard Quandt and noted later in this report).
Independent Research Libraries and Historical Societies
The leading independent libraries and historical societies are good examples of valuable scholarly resources ("assets in being") that donors sometimes overlook. In 1992-93, the Foundation provided matching endowment grants to a number of these institutions in support of their core library functions. A subsequent series of grants supported postdoctoral fellowships intended to enhance their role as centers of advanced study.
Continuing interest in the financial health and operational effectiveness of these libraries prompted a review in 1997 of the progress they had made in achieving stability. This review indicated that many of them have succeeded in overcoming serious obstacles of the kind Jed Bergman, our former colleague, described so well in his 1996 book, Managing Change in the Nonprofit Sector. At the same time, new needs are evident, and in 1997 the Trustees approved a further round of grants totaling nearly $6.5 million that focused on the ability of these specialized institutions to maintain adequate programs of care for their collections of books, manuscripts, graphics, photographs, and other materials. At some institutions, important research materials are not adequately catalogued, and the cataloguing systems themselves are idiosyncratic and incompatible with widely used standard systems. Moreover, technology now widely available in college and university libraries is not yet being employed in many of the specialized libraries to achieve more cost-effective management of collections. The nine recipients of these grants were: American Antiquarian Society, American Philosophical Society, Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, Folger Shakespeare Library, Henry E. Huntington Library & Art Gallery, Newberry Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, Villa I Tatti, and the Virginia Historical Society.
The New-York Historical Society (NYHS), another of these institutions, has both unique collections and a unique set of problems, long in the making. One of the most gratifying events of 1997 was the development of a detailed plan of collaboration between the Society and New York University that promises to address many of the most pressing needs of the Society's immensely valuable library on a sustainable basis. (Note 1) To enable both entities to take advantage of this opportunity, the Foundation made a grant of $2.8 million to NYU in order to: (1) insure better library service to NYHS visitors; (2) begin the process of cataloguing large parts of the NYHS's collection that are not at present listed in either RLIN or OCLC records; (3) process and preserve manuscript collections; (4) connect the bibliographic records of the NYHS's print and visual collections; and (5) improve access to the NYHS's prints, photographs, architecture, and ephemera collections.
Electronic Publication of Scholarly Materials
During 1997, the Foundation continued to support projects intended to test the effectiveness of electronic technologies in providing libraries and others with scholarly materials in formats that are easier to use and viable financially. One grant was made to the University of California Press (UCP), to experiment with electronic publication of scholarly monographs. Sales of scholarly books have been declining for years, and many presses, including UCP, have had to reduce the number of monographs they publish in order to maintain financial stability. The problem is particularly acute in area studies, certain fields of history, and literary criticism -- fields in which UCP is a major publisher. UCP has developed a detailed plan for electronic publication of 24 monographs in Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian studies in an attempt to halt the slide of monograph publishing in these areas. A careful business plan has been designed which will allow rigorous testing of the economic costs and benefits of this new approach.
A second grant went to the MIT Press, a leading publisher of scholarly journals in the US and a pioneer in the creation of electronic journals. The MIT Press has found that its electronically published journals, widely regarded as of very high quality, have had slow acceptance. The Foundation is providing the funds needed to analyze systematically the factors responsible. The MIT Press will organize visits by staff members to a number of libraries where they will consult with faculty members as well as librarians. This straightforward assessment should shed considerable light on the future of this mode of scholarly publication.
While the Foundation will continue to support particularly promising projects of the kinds just mentioned, the grantmaking program in this area has now reached the point in its evolution where an initial stock-taking is in order. The preliminary results of grants made early in the Foundation's program are becoming available, and project directors are now able to benefit from the experiences of others. This is especially the case for projects that have focused on electronic alternatives to scholarly journals. In April 1997, a conference was held at Emory University at which nearly 30 papers on aspects of technology and scholarly communication were presented, mostly by directors of projects supported by the Foundation, on such topics as cost issues in electronic publishing; journal pricing and user acceptance; patterns of use; technical choices and standards; licenses, copyright, and fair use; and multi-institutional cooperation. Richard Ekman and Richard Quandt, who organized the conference, are now editing a collection of these papers for publication by the University of California Press within the next year.
JSTOR and Related Projects
A third major area of Foundation activity centers on the use of electronic technology to preserve back issues of core scholarly journals, enhance access to them by scholars worldwide, and at the same time ease the long-term problems faced by libraries in housing, preserving, and handling this body of literature. As readers of previous annual reports are aware, the Foundation assisted in the creation of an independent not-for-profit organization called JSTOR to test the feasibility of this concept.
The success of JSTOR has been gratifying. More journals in additional fields are being added to the database each month, new and expanded production sites have been established, and continued progress has been made in improving JSTOR's technology (including printing capabilities). Over 250 libraries in the United States have already elected to participate, and user acceptance, judged by both usage of the database and the reports of highly satisfied students and others, has been extraordinary. In the single month of February 1998, there were over 89,000 searches of the JSTOR database, and nearly 27,000 individual articles were printed.
Most recently, an agency of the British government called the Joint Information Systems Committee has negotiated an arrangement with JSTOR to permit the installation of a mirror site in Britain that will serve libraries and scholars in that country. Plans are now underway to locate an additional mirror site in Hungary that would serve Central and Eastern Europe. Additional information about JSTOR can be obtained by consulting its Web page (http://www.jstor.org) or contacting its president, Kevin Guthrie.
The reasons for making special mention of JSTOR in this report are to explain its evolving relationship with the Foundation and to note two specific modes of collaboration. While JSTOR is independent and well on the way to becoming financially self-sustaining, it has so many objectives in common with the Foundation that there is every reason to seize opportunities to collaborate while learning from each other.
One mode of collaboration is illustrated by recent grants made by the Foundation to two associations of colleges that stood to benefit greatly from access to JSTOR but would not have been able, without assistance, to do so. The two associations are the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta, which works with a large number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Appalachian College Association, which was mentioned earlier in this report. Both of these associations have long-standing relationships with the Foundation, and their new participation in JSTOR has advanced other, broader objectives that the Foundation is pleased to be able to support.
Specifically, the Foundation's grants to these associations facilitate training of staff and faculty members and will provide a modest amount of flexible funding that is needed to permit member institutions to take full advantage of the technological advances that will affect so many aspects of education and research in the years ahead. In short, while JSTOR was important to these colleges in and of itself, its availability and power also served as a further "introduction," as it were, to modes of communication and interaction that will be of critical importance to the future of these institutions. New technologies must be accessible to institutions with modest resources so that even larger chasms are not created between "have" and "have not" sectors of higher education. JSTOR is an excellent example of a practical tool that, once made available, can give faculty and students at institutions with relatively small library holdings the same access to core scholarly literature that is already available at many larger and more advantaged institutions.
A second mode of collaboration between the Foundation and JSTOR is illustrated by a series of grants made in the last two years to the Ecological Society of America (ESA). The ecologists were among the earliest enthusiasts for JSTOR, and the three principal journals the Society publishes have been included in JSTOR long enough for the value of this form of access to have been demonstrated to many members of the ESA. An evolving collaboration between the ESA and JSTOR, begun in 1996, led the ESA to request support to: (1) enable individual members of the Society, and not just participating libraries, to have direct access to ESA journals in the database; and (2) investigate the possibility of linking current issues of key journals to the backfile. These two objectives are being pursued.
Meanwhile, the promise of that excellent collaboration prompted the leadership of the Society to submit a still more ambitious proposal -- namely, that Ecology and Botany could be one of the first JSTOR clusters offering a deeper selection of titles in a particular field. Ecology represents a good starting point because it is a central field, with rapidly growing enrollments in colleges as well as universities, and one that is also new enough, and sufficiently cohesive, that the corpus formed by its main journals is of manageable size. The Foundation responded very positively to this proposal, in part because the results eventually achieved should permit a useful test of the long-term implications of what can fairly be called a revolutionary new form of scholarly communication.
It is impossible for anyone to predict precisely how these projects and others like them will turn out. But there seems every reason to be optimistic about the JSTOR approach to broadening access to scholarly literature while simultaneously preserving it, and doing so in a highly cost-effective way.
The Foundation's Research Agenda in Higher Education
The remainder of my part of this report focuses on the research the Foundation is supporting on higher education. In part because of the interest of other researchers in utilizing the Foundation's College and Beyond database (described briefly at the end of this section), and in part because of the timeliness of some of the research underway, Trustees and others have suggested that I summarize these initiatives in some detail. I am glad to do so, but with the caveat that projects and sets of topics are always changing.
As background, it should be noted that this Foundation's approach to research is somewhat unusual. On the one hand, much of what we do is typical of foundations--that is, grants are awarded to a great many colleges, universities, and other kinds of organizations so that faculty and staff can carry out research in the Foundation's established fields of interest (such as ecology, population, refugee studies, and the arts, along with higher education). Other large foundations work in similar ways, while of course directing their support to fields of special interest to them.
The less common feature of this Foundation's interest in research is that our staff members -- both those who have significant grantmaking responsibilities and a small number of research staff members -- conduct studies themselves. The rationale for the Foundation's own research activities has four elements. (1) In company with all who do research, our staff members hope to contribute new ideas of value. In this regard, we seek to provide useful insights and information to institutions that are grantees (many liberal arts colleges, for example, have a strong interest in patterns of allocating merit aid, a subject staff members studied recently) as well as, in some instances, to a broader audience of scholars and policymakers. (2) A more narrowly focused objective is to gain the understanding necessary to be effective grantmakers in areas such as doctoral education, education of minority students, and support of libraries. (3) Research projects may suggest ideas that lend themselves to programmatic development (JSTOR grew out of a study of trends in library expenditures and the future of scholarly communication). Direct engagement with research also enhances the ability of staff members to evaluate external projects that have been funded by grants from the Foundation. (4) Finally, the active pursuit of research within the Foundation helps to create a milieu that is attractive to potential colleagues and stimulating to all members of the staff.
Four recent publications growing out of research either carried out by Foundation staff or supported by the Foundation illustrate the range of subject matter, modes of analysis, and potential audiences that we expect to reach.
Ongoing Studies: Race and Diversity in Higher Education
The Foundation's heavy investment in studies bearing on race and higher education (evident in the list of projects given below) reflects a long-standing interest in the issues of both educational policy and public policy associated with the efforts of colleges and universities to enroll larger numbers of minority students. Several related but somewhat distinct types of studies are now being supported by the Foundation in this area of research, which is both unusually contentious and extremely timely.
Other Topics in Higher Education
Educational markets and the returns to education.-- Zvi Griliches at Harvard is preparing a definitive account of his decades of research on sources of productivity gains, with special reference to the contributions of basic research and advanced training. Caroline Hoxby of Harvard and the National Bureau of Educational Research has completed an important study of the nationalization of the market for higher education and the attendant geographic integration of competition for undergraduates among colleges and universities; her first paper, which makes use of industrial organization concepts, is titled "How the Changing Market Structure of US Higher Education Explains College Tuition." Richard Zeckhauser and colleagues at Harvard are studying the proliferation of early-decision and early-action admission programs and have demonstrated already that such programs do not always benefit the students who are eager to participate in them. Richard Easterlin and Christine Schaeffer at the University of Southern California are studying a different type of "return" to higher education, namely its effects on life satisfactions as well as incomes. Cecilia Rouse at Princeton is studying the returns to education in community colleges, especially for minority students and women.
Faculty retirement.-- Orley Ashenfelter of Princeton and David Card of the University of California at Berkeley are carrying out what promises to be a path-breaking study of factors affecting faculty retirement decisions. Thanks to the cooperation of both TIAA-CREF and a large number of colleges and universities, Ashenfelter and Card are able to combine data on professors' assets in pension plans with data on current salaries, types of institutions, fields of specialization, and working conditions to estimate much more precisely than has been possible before the impact of these various factors on the timing of retirement decisions. John Pencavel at Stanford is carrying out a parallel study of retirement patterns within the University of California system (which has offered a variety of retirement incentives), and he hopes to extend his research to include at least one other large state system.
Gender, race, choice of major, and choice of occupation.-- Jerry A. Jacobs, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, is studying patterns of curricular choice by students of different races and genders. Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia and I have finished a study of the relationship between pre-collegiate academic preparation (as measured by math and verbal SAT scores) and choices of majors by women and men in the late 1970s and the early 1990s. Turner now intends to collaborate with Harriet Zuckerman of the Foundation on a study of the interconnections, by gender, of pre-collegiate preparation, choice of major in college, grades in college, advanced degrees attained, and occupational choice and success.
Libraries and scholarly communication.-- Economists at Northwestern University with special competence in industrial organization (Ronald Braeutigam and others) are nearing completion of an analytical study of the economics of scholarly communication as they relate to libraries. Two of the Foundation's staff members, Richard Ekman and Richard Quandt, have finished editing a collection of papers on experiences in this country with electronic means of scholarly communication (presented at the Emory conference mentioned earlier in this report), which we expect will be published in 1998. Quandt is also editing a set of papers presented at a conference held in Warsaw that examined experiences with library collaborations in Eastern Europe.
Cost-effective uses of technology in teaching.-- As mentioned earlier in this report, Gilbert Whitaker of Rice is guiding the development of a series of demonstration projects intended to find ways in which technology can be used to improve teaching qualitatively while also reducing costs. Our expectation is that Professor Whitaker himself, as well as some of the directors of particular projects included within his program, will publish their findings. Also, this is a topic that Michael McPherson and Morton Schapiro hope to highlight in future conferences at Macalester College on research in higher education.
Intercollegiate athletics and campus life.-- James Shulman, a Foundation staff member, will be the senior author of a major study of trends in intercollegiate athletics over the last 40 years, in which I am also involved. The changing profiles of student athletes at various types of schools will be examined, as will trends in their academic performance (compared with the performance of other students who had similar test scores), subsequent life histories, and the economic forces that have had such powerful effects on the recruitment of these students and the organization of the entire athletic enterprise. A correlative study completed by two social psychologists, Nancy Cantor of the University of Michigan and Deborah Prentice of Princeton, draws on intensive case studies of sophomores at Amherst, Columbia, and Princeton. Their initial findings are reported in a paper titled "The 'Scholar-Athlete' and Participation in the Life of the Institution: Integration or Isolation." They now intend to extend this study to include both a large state university and later years in college.
Science, technology, and university-industry relationships.-- Paul David at Stanford is studying university-industry connections, and Richard Nelson and Michael Crow at Columbia, Nathan Rosenberg at Stanford, and David Mowrey at the University of California at Berkeley are jointly studying the patenting of university scientific and technological research.
Philanthropy.-- Charles Clotfelter of Duke University is investigating the factors associated with patterns of giving by alumni/ae at some of the academically selective colleges and universities included in the College and Beyond database; he is taking into account both the overall level of giving and restricted gifts in an effort to learn, for example, whether participants in intercollegiate athletics have been more likely than other students to target their gifts. Gordon Winston of Williams College is using financial aid records available at Williams to study the relationship between financial support provided to undergraduates and their subsequent willingness to make donations to their college. Abigail Payne and Aloysius Siow at the University of Toronto are studying the characteristics of donors to institutions of higher education in Canada.
Broader Topics.-- John Wilson, professor of religion at Princeton and dean of the graduate school, is editing a volume of papers on religion and higher education in the United States in the 19th century, including the interplay between science and religion. Harold Shapiro, president of Princeton University, and I have edited a series of papers that will appear in 1998 in a volume titled Universities and their Leadership; contributors include Martin Trow of the University of California at Berkeley, whose paper examines accountability in higher education, Oliver Fulton of Lancaster University in Britain, who has compared the academic professions in northern European countries, and Hanna Gray of the University of Chicago, who has responded to an essay by President Shapiro on trends in presidential leadership.
To answer one frequently asked question, decisions as to which externally generated research projects should be supported by the Foundation are made in several ways. Most grants in support of research in higher education result from ordinary applications, which are reviewed by staff members and often by outside advisors as well. Others projects are supported through "center" grants made to institutions that are interested in developing "portfolios" of research in higher education as part of broader commitments to encourage more able scholars to work in this general field. At present, four such research centers are being supported by the Foundation:
Many of the specific studies just outlined are likely to be useful and illuminating. Yet, it is entirely possible that the creation of the College and Beyond database will prove to be the most lasting contribution of the Foundation to research in higher education. This database was built by the staff of the Foundation, under the leadership of James Shulman and Thomas Nygren, over roughly three years (from 1995 through 1997). It will eventually contain the records of approximately 90,000 undergraduate students who matriculated at 34 academically selective colleges and universities in 1951, 1976, and 1989. The close cooperation of the participating colleges and universities was essential to its construction, and we would like to record here our appreciation for the efforts of all those who worked so hard to provide the information incorporated in it. Created on the explicit understanding that the Foundation would not release or publish data that identified either individual students or individual schools, it is a "restricted access database." As we note below, this attribute affects the conditions under which it can be used.
Broadly speaking, the database has three components.
The presidents of the 34 participating colleges and universities have agreed that, under proper safeguards, the College and Beyond database should be used to address what will surely be perennial issues facing the kinds of colleges and universities represented within it. Accordingly, the Foundation has formed an advisory committee to guide it in developing policies for access to the database, in evaluating applications for access, and in constructing methods of protecting the absolute confidentiality of information provided by both individuals and institutions. The members are Michael McPherson, president of Macalester College, chairman; Alan Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and director of the Survey Research Center at Princeton University; David L. Featherman, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Survey Research at the University of Michigan; and Cora Marrett, Provost of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. While we regret having to be somewhat bureaucratic, our lawyers have advised strongly that any scholar approved by the advisory committee to use the database (as well as representatives of his or her home institution) must comply with unusually stringent procedures to assure confidentiality. The individual with overall responsibility for responding to inquiries concerning the database is Richard E. Quandt, a Senior Advisor to the Foundation.
The experience of building the database has reminded us again of the good fortune the Foundation has enjoyed, over many years, in having the trust of many members of the academic community. It is a privilege to be able to work so cooperatively, and in such good spirit, with others who share common objectives.
William G. Bowen