John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Gardner Institute Announces New Effort to Mobilize Institutions to Improve Gateway Course Success

Gardner Institute Announces Gateways to Completion™ – New Effort Mobilizes Institutions Seeking to Improve Performance in High Failure Rate Courses

February 9, 2013

Point Clear, Alabama – The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education today publically unveiled Gateways to Completion (G2C™), a new effort to help institutions address high failure rates in gateway courses. Speaking with a group of chief academic officers at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) 2013 Academic Affairs Winter Meeting, the Institute’s President, John Gardner, and Executive Vice President, Drew Koch, shared how and why the time is right for higher education institutions and systems to create and implement a comprehensive strategy to improve institutional performance and student success in gateway courses.

“Gateway courses, such as introductory-level math, English, chemistry, biology, and psychology, typically enroll, and present challenges to, large numbers of first- and second-year students” said Koch. “These failure rates negatively impact student academic performance and retention, and in many cases degree completion. In an era where heightened institutional accountability, performance-based funding, and the needs of the Completion Agenda are paramount, higher education institutions simply cannot tolerate these kinds of outcomes,” Koch continued.

“The Gateways to Completion effort draws on the Gardner Institute’s proven expertise with helping institutions create and implement action plans for student success,” added Gardner. “Specifically, we are drawing on the experience the Institute has derived working with nearly 250 institutions to create and implement action plans for first-year and/or transfer student success via Foundations of Excellence.”

Independent research correlates the high implementation of a Foundations of Excellence-generated action plan with substantial increases in IPEDS first-to-second year retention rates and retention-related tuition revenue. “We are confident that these kinds of outcomes can be carried over to our new, focused work with G2C,” Gardner stated.

“Gateways to Completion will link the Gardner Institute’s seasoned student success expertise to dashboards and predictive analytics tools. This combination will allow institutions to create, implement, and continuously improve a strategic, multi-year effort focused on improving gateway course success. As with Foundations of Excellence, faculty will be at the heart of the effort. In short, G2C links strategic action planning with intervention tactics and tools – with the goal being making the whole greater than the sum of the pieces” shared Koch.

The Gardner Institute is currently accepting applications from all higher education institution and system types – two-year, four-year, public, private, etc. The applications will be considered for inclusion in the Gardner Institute’s pilot group of Gateways to Completion institutions. The pilot institutions will be selected this spring and summer and will begin their three-year involvement with G2C in Fall 2013.

For more information on the G2C project, visit the Gateways to Completion website or contact:

Drew Koch
Executive Vice President

John Gardner, an educator who made the University of South Carolina an international leader in improving students’ freshman-year experience, will speak at the USC summer commencement exercises Aug. 4.

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