John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Reports from the Field: Snapshots of the FoE Experience

To date, over 231 two- and four-year institutions have voluntarily undertaken the Foundations of Excellence® self study in an effort to build campus-wide appreciation for the foundation of undergraduate education– the first college year. This aspirational model engages faculty and staff in substantive discussions and integrates assessment into the campus’ larger strategic improvement planning efforts.

These “reports from the field” provide a glimpse into of the experiences of a variety of former FoE institutions as they recall their approach to the self study, relay the task force’s recommendations for improvement and give an update on the measures implemented in response to their participation in the Foundations of Excellence process.

Raising Academic Performance at Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University, MI
“The inclusive, evidence-based process created awareness, facilitated broad, transparent engagement, and resulted in a shift toward a new culture focused on CMU’s top priority of teaching and learning.”

Foundations of Excellence at Fayetteville State University: Improving Learning Outcomes in the First Year and Beyond
Fayetteville State University, NC
“Never before have we had so many “aha!” moments where faculty see how the work of student affairs personnel can help them to reach students and increase classroom learning.”

Improving the First Year through Foundations of Excellence ® and Accreditation
Gallaudet University, DC
“The findings and FoE plan of action set a standard of using evidence to make recommendations and decisions and guided and supported many aspects of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Improving the First Year of College in a Climate of Institutional Change
Madison Area Technical College, WI
“There are pockets of excellence throughout the College which support some first year students, but no coordinated, intentional first-year experience for all new students.”

Implementing New “First Learning Year Theme” (FLYT) Teams
Metropolitan Community College – Longview, MO
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 Two-Year Founding
“Every process, department, employee, and student has been touched in some way as a result of the Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year Project.”

Improving the First Year through Foundations of Excellence® and Accreditation
Missouri Southern State University, MO
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 National Select
“The Foundations of Excellence self-study provided MSSU with an excellent strategic planning process for the first-year experience.”

Best Practices, Common Academic Experience, Connections, and Academic Momentum
Pellissippi State Technical Community College, TN
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 Two-Year Founding
“The rich weekly conversations in Foundations of Excellence allowed the group to discuss the fundamental principles of working with first-year students and to imagine what we might accomplish by being more intentional.”

Impact of the Foundations of Excellence® on the College Culture
Pulaski Technical College, AR
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2006-2007 National Select
“Most importantly, the Foundations of Excellence® (FoE®) process made a tremendous impact on our college culture as a whole because it allowed us to see the work that we do at our college through a different lens.”

A Vision for Excellence in the First College Year
Salisbury University, MD
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 National Select
“There were many SU successes associated with the Foundations of Excellence experience – the FoE report was very well received, the President and Vice Presidents are willing to provide financial support and a new position to support some of the recommendations.”

Engaging the Campus Community through Foundations of Excellence
Southern Oregon University, OR
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2006-2007 National Select
“As the various Dimension Committees worked through the questions set out by the Policy Center, other forces were determining how SOU would re-create itself as a more dynamic and “leaner” institution.”

Foundations of Excellence® Implementation Update
The University of Akron, OH
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 National Select
“As the University of Akron’s physical campus has been transformed and our enrollments have increased, it was important for us to take part in the FoE self-study to know the areas that faculty, administrators, and students felt needed improvement.”

Linking FoE and Reaccreditation: Strengthening Orientation, Advising, and Retention
Virginia Highlands Community College, VA
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2005-2006 Two-Year Founding
“Lessons learned through the Foundations process provided valuable direction for VHCC’s recent reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and have allowed the College to better accomplish its mission.”

A Mechanism for Developing a Strong First Year Experience Structure
Framingham State University, MA
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2007-2008 National Select
Participation in FoE “provided an opportunity to educate the community on best practices related to work with first-year students in order to promote an enhanced first-year experience for students and increased retention rates.”

From Inception to Action
Lincoln Land Community College, IL
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2009-20010 National Select
“One important theme that emerged from the FoE process…was a clearly stated, widely vetted, and publicized institutional philosophy that guides development of the learning environment for students in the first year.”

Implementing the FoE Action Plan
Minot State University, ND
Foundations of Excellence Cohort: 2007-2008 National Select
“Because of the overlapping areas of interest and recommendations common to both FoE and Title III, the Steering Committee approached the writing of the FoE final report by assuming Minot State would receive Title III funding.”