John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education


The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education is dedicated to partnering with higher education institutions, individual educators, and other entities to increase institutional responsibility for improving student learning, persistence, and completion.


The Institute will help higher education and related organizations to individually and/or collectively define or redefine excellence in undergraduate education and will assist with the application of these definitions to practice and/or policy. These actions will reinvent the colleges, universities, and the broader systems of which they are a part. The ensuing dynamic educational opportunities will transform the institutions, the people they serve, the places in which they live and work, and the broader societies and economies of which they are a part.

To realize this mission and vision, the Institute will undertake a wide range of educational activities which may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Continuing to provide campuses with the externally guided, voluntary, comprehensive self-study process known as “Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year”;
  • Providing campuses with an expanded version of the Foundations of Excellence self study that will evaluate the institution’s approaches to enhancing success of transfer students;
  • Providing campuses with a self-study process to assess and plan for excellence in the entire undergraduate experience;
  • Conducting evaluations, surveys, educational training, research, and advisory services for postsecondary institutions, government agencies, foundations, and other appropriate entities that aspire to improve undergraduate student learning, success, retention, and degree completion;
  • Sustaining previous and current partnerships, and developing new partnerships with individuals, associations, higher education institutions, foundations, policy-making bodies, corporations, and other friends of higher education that share a common interest in pursuing excellence in undergraduate education elated thereto;
  • Providing unique meetings, retreats, other professional development activities, networks and associational opportunities for the support, professional advancement, and communication of postsecondary educators who share a common interest in achieving excellence in undergraduate education;
  • Providing information and research to educational institutions through electronic and other means of dissemination;
  • Providing pro bono services and information for postsecondary educators and institutions as the Institute may deem appropriate;
  • Initiating other service activities to improve undergraduate education that are consistent with the Institute’s mission, resources, capabilities, interests, and tax-exempt non-profit status.