John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

New Versions of Foundations of Excellence® 

Until 2009 there was only one version FoE – the original version that focuses on first-year students. However, since then we have developed three additional versions of FoE to help address various forms of new student success and the plans associated therewith. These include:

  1. FoE Transfer Focus – This form of FoE helps both two-year and four-year institutions develop action plans to improve the success of transfer students. For two-year institutions, the focus is on improving the success in sending transfer students to four-year institutions. For four-year institutions, the focus is on improving the success of the transfer students they receive. Over 50 institutions have engaged in this process including all sixteen of the institutions associated with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Given that the transfer pathway is now the normative route to a bachelors degree for the majority of US undergraduates, we must pay more attention to this often-neglected student population. Click to learn more about FoE Transfer.
  2. FoE Refresh – There have been huge changes in many of the institutions we served throughout the twelve years that we have conducted Foundations of Excellence. Some of them requested the opportunity to come back and “refresh” the original FoE action plan to update it and take further steps to implement needed changes to increase student success. They asked, we acted!  Click to learn more about the FoE Refresh option.
  3. FoE Implement – The results of external evaluation of the FoE process led us to conclude that we have been letting many of our participating institutions go too soon. In other words, by cutting ties with institutions immediately after they finished developing their FoE Action Plan, we were leaving too much of the implementation process up to chance. Recognizing that that plan could often prove very challenging to implement, we began offering an optional second year of FoE, to help institutions in the actual implementation of the action plan. Click to learn more about FoE Implement visit this link.

External Research on Retention and Revenue Gains Associated with FoE

Since 2010 we have had multiple external studies conducted of the impact of FoE on retention rates. Basically, the findings have been hugely encouraging that for all institutions that have participated in FoE, including two- and four-year institutions. In aggregate, retention has increased overall by 3.0 percentage points. This is quite significant given the aggregate represents wide degrees of difference in selectivity. We have found significant differences by institutional type. But even the most open admissions are gaining in retention and even therein for the hardest to retain population of all: part-time students. The greatest gains by institutional type have been found in private institutions. But the most powerful correlation has been between those FoE institutions as to their level of implementation of the FoE action plan. High implementers of the plan are realizing very substantial gains in retention – as high as 17% in four-year institutions and 8.2% across institutions regardless of institutional type. In addition, high implementing FoE institutions are realizing in aggregate nearly a half a million dollars of additional retention-related tuition revenue in conjunction with their FoE-correlated retention gains. For access to these studies and their findings, please visit this link