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Foundations of Excellence® is a comprehensive, externally guided self-study and improvement process for the first year. Institutions that participate in Foundations of Excellence develop a strategic action plan that results in a new vision for improvements in learning and retention of first-year and transfer students.
Foundations of Excellence® Transfer Focus
Since 2003, 147 two- and four-year colleges and universities have participated in the voluntary self-study process, Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year (FoE), leading to the development of an Action Plan to improve the beginning college experience. These institutions are now at various stages of implementing these plans. Frequently, we have been asked what type of support we could offer to assist institutions in the implementation of their Action Plans. A response we wish to offer is a “FoE Implementation Retreat” followed by one year’s advisory support. The initial retreat would convene a team of campus leaders in an off-campus setting, facilitated by staff of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (formerly Policy Center on the First Year of College), to assess the current status of the Action Plan implementation activities and help the institution move this plan forward to the next level of impact. Such a retreat should be held at a location conducive to minimizing distractions and encouraging creative thinking.
A PLANNING RETREAT TO REENGINEER YOUR INSTITUTION’S FIRST COLLEGE YEAR
This retreat would be designed for a small group from your institution and would be attended by senior institutional leaders as well as first college year stakeholders and practitioners. The retreat experience would be supplemented by a year-long consultation process. The retreat would provide the opportunity for taking stock of your current efforts, but more importantly, for creating a new plan to improve student learning and success in the first year. In a retreat environment that is conducive to good thinking, planning, and relaxation, your team would be away from the normal press of campus affairs and able to really concentrate on issues related to beginning student success.
This survey was developed to gather information on student success initiatives that span the entire undergraduate continuum. Although there are numerous sources for best practices in the first year, no comprehensive data currently exist about the prevalence of success initiatives for sophomores, juniors, seniors, or transfer students and how those efforts are connected with first-year initiatives.
Results will be available in electronic format in early 2011 and in print format later in the year.