SERVICES

 Foundations of Excellence®

 Creating an excellent first-year and/or transfer student experience

 
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I. WHAT IS FOUNDATIONS OF EXCELLENCE?

Foundations of Excellence enables institutional transformation that improves first-year or transfer-student success and retention through comprehensive, evidence-based, guided self-study, planning, and implementation.

 

  • The aspirational Foundational Dimensions,® provide a model for the entirety of the first-year or transfer experience. Unique versions of the nine Dimensions are designed  for four- and two-year institutions.
  • Faculty, staff, and students engage in task force assessment, structured planning, and improvement efforts. The involvement of an institute-wide task force assures an institutional plan that will have broad support.
  • The Current Practices Inventory provides each task force information about the institution’s students, programs, and practices. The inventory provides one source of evidence to evaluate the institution’s achievement of each Foundational Dimension.
  • The Foundations of Excellence Faculty/Staff and Student Surveys provide sources of evidence that uniquely address the Foundational Dimensions. Interactive online tools allow groups to analyze and discuss survey results as a team.
  • Support and advice is provided throughout the process by the Gardner Institute's team of highly experienced higher education professionals. An advisor will be assigned specifically to your institution. Support also includes an on-campus launch meeting, process and practice webinars, and  frequent feedback using the online project management platform, FoEtec.

II. Barriers to First-Year/or Transfer-Student Success


No comprehensive plan for student success

Foundations of Excellence (FoE)  helps institutions to coordinate their efforts and identify overlaps or gaps in services.

No aspirational strategic vision for an improved first-year or transfer experience

The nine aspirational Foundational Dimensions provide a framework for developing a strategic plan for the first-year or transfer experience.

Siloed academic-student affairs/student success relationships

Through task force involvement, FoE improves academic and student affairs collaboration and partnerships. 

Unsatisfactory retention rates

Independent analyses have linked participation in FoE to gains in IPEDS first-to-second year retention rates and revenue.

Siloed academic-student affairs/student success relationships

Through task force involvement, FoE improves academic and student affairs collaboration and partnerships. 

Low level of faculty engagement in first-year and transfer success

The task-force based assessment process leads to a better understanding of first-year or transfer issues and helps to increase faculty involvement and responsibility for student success.

Inadequate use of assessment findings to promote improvement

The focus on using evidence to evaluate the institution’s current approaches to the first year or transfer provides a model for an evidence-based approach to improvement.

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III. FIRST YEAR

Foundations of Excellence First Year will yield a new vision for enhanced learning and retention of first-year students as well as priorities for resource allocation.

A wide range of American colleges and universities acknowledge the importance of the first year of college. The first year forms the academic foundation for the entire college or university experience.

Retention of students from the first to second year has been a persistent problem for many institutions. The approach to first-year concerns has often been the creation of an array of program-level initiatives, many of which operate on the margins of the first year and have only limited impact on students. Such efforts, although well intentioned and staffed by dedicated professionals, have existed in the absence of a structured model of excellence that goes beyond a single program to a broader, more comprehensive vision for the first year. Foundations of Excellence participants evaluate their current approach to the first year and develop a comprehensive plan that leads to enhanced student learning and persistence.

IV. TRANSFER

Foundations of Excellence Transfer participants will develop a comprehensive approach to improving transfer success, while raising awareness of the importance of transfer students.

Transfer has become the new norm for American college students, with over 60% of students transferring between institutions at least once. However, at many institutions transfer students are neglected and the supports available to them are limited and disjointed.

Four-Year Institutions

Foundations of Excellence Transfer for four-year institutions focuses on the transfer-receiving function and outcomes. The process helps institutions evaluate the ways they facilitate the experience of their new transfer student cohort. This evaluation focuses on all aspects of the transfer students’ experiences, not just the initial recruitment and enrollment process.

Two-Year Institutions

Foundations of Excellence for two-year colleges focuses on an evaluation of current initiatives designed to serve transfer-bound students. For many two-year colleges, encouraging and supporting student transfer are essential functions that relate to the institutional mission and vision. Participant colleges take a close look at their approach to assisting transfer-bound students and make plans for improvement.

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Join us for our next webinar:

Focus on Transfer.

Sept. 19th at 4pm Eastern. 

The webinar is free and you can register HERE.

 
 

V. IMPLEMENT

Foundations of Excellence Implement is an optional second year advisory service for institutions that want additional structure and expert support from the Gardner Institute as they implement the action plan derived from the Foundations of Excellence self-study process.

An independent evaluation of the outcomes of Foundations of Excellence showed a strong correlation between a reported high degree of implementation of FoE plans and significant increases in first-to-second year IPEDS retention rates.

It is not enough to create a plan for improvement; institutions need to implement that plan to a high degree.  FoE-Implment provides ongoing support from the Gardner Institute to help institutions do just that.

VI. REFRESH

Foundations of Excellence Refresh is an opportunity for institutions that have formerly participated in Foundations of Excellence to revise the action plan for the first year or transfer student experience. The outcome is an updated, re-energized self-study that produces a new plan that fits the institution’s current context.

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VII. FOUNDATIONAL DIMENSIONS

The Foundational Dimensions are nine aspirational principles of excellence for the first-year and transfer experience, developed in four-year and two-year versions.

The Dimensions were developed collaboratively by the Gardner Institute, its design partners from Penn State University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and Campus Compact, and over 300 four- and two-year institutions. Developed to be shared, the Foundational Dimensions are available to everyone. Below you’ll find the Foundational Dimensions for four-year and two-year institutions in both first-year and transfer versions.  

 
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VIII. FEES & APPLICATION

Visit our fee page for information on new and returning participant fees.

Now Accepting Applications

The Gardner Institute is currently accepting applications from colleges and/or universities interested in joining the next Foundations of Excellence cohort.

Apply  by Nov. 30th to join the next cohort.

 
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V.
ASK OUR STAFF

To learn more about Foundations of Excellence and our proven results, simply give us a call or e-mail us.

 
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First-Year Focus – Foundational Dimensions®

(Four-Year College Version)

Foundational Dimensions statements constitute a model that provides institutions with a means to evaluate and improve the first year of college. As an evaluation tool, the model enables institutions both to confirm their strengths and to recognize the need for improvement. As an aspirational model, the Dimensions provide general guidelines for an intentional design of the first year. The Dimensions rest on four assumptions:

  • The academic mission of an institution is preeminent;
  • The first college year is central to the achievement of an institution’s mission and lays the foundation on which undergraduate education is built;
  • Systematic evidence provides validation of the Dimensions;
  • Collectively, the Dimensions constitute an ideal for improving not only the first college year, but also the entire undergraduate experience.

Foundations Institutions approach the first year in ways that are intentional and based on a philosophy/rationale of the first year that informs relevant institutional policies and practices. The philosophy/rationale is explicit, clear and easily understood, consistent with the institutional mission, widely disseminated, and, as appropriate, reflects a consensus of campus constituencies. The philosophy/rationale is also the basis for first-year organizational policies, practices, structures, leadership, department/unit philosophies, and resource allocation. (Philosophy)

Foundations Institutions create organizational structures and policies that provide a comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated approach to the first year. These structures and policies provide oversight and alignment of all first-year efforts. A coherent first-year experience is realized and maintained through effective partnerships among academic affairs, student affairs, and other administrative units and is enhanced by ongoing faculty and staff development activities and appropriate budgetary arrangements. (Organization)

Foundations Institutions deliver intentional curricular and co-curricular learning experiences that engage students in order to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the desired outcomes of higher education and the institution’s philosophy and mission. Whether in or out of the classroom, learning also promotes increased competence in critical thinking, ethical development, and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. (Learning)

Foundations Institutions make the first college year a high priority for the faculty. These institutions are characterized by a culture of faculty responsibility for the first year that is realized through high-quality instruction in first-year classes and substantial interaction between faculty and first-year students both inside and outside the classroom. This culture of responsibility is nurtured by chief academic officers, deans, and department chairs and supported by the institutions’ reward systems. (Faculty)

Foundations Institutions facilitate appropriate student transitions through policies and practices that are intentional and aligned with institutional mission. Beginning with recruitment and admissions and continuing through the first year, institutions communicate clear curricular and co- curricular expectations and provide appropriate support for educational success. They are forthright about their responsibilities to students as well as students’ responsibilities to themselves and the institution. They create and maintain curricular alignments with secondary schools and linkages with secondary school personnel, families, and other sources of support, as appropriate. (Transitions)

Foundations Institutions serve all first-year students according to their varied needs. The process of anticipating, diagnosing, and addressing needs is ongoing and is subject to assessment and adjustment throughout the first year. Institutions provide services with respect for the students’ abilities, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Institutions also ensure a campus environment that is inclusive and safe for all students. (All Students)

Foundations Institutions ensure that all first-year students experience diverse ideas, world-views, and cultures as a means of enhancing their learning and preparing them to become members of pluralistic communities. Whatever their demographic composition, institutions structure experiences in which students interact in an open and civil community with people from backgrounds and cultures different from their own, reflect on ideas and values different from those they currently hold, and explore their own cultures and the cultures of others. (Diversity)

Foundations Institutions promote student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education, both for the individual and society. These roles and purposes include knowledge acquisition for personal growth, learning to prepare for future employment, learning to become engaged citizens, and learning to serve the public good. Institutions encourage first-year students to examine systematically their motivation and goals with regard to higher education in general and to their own college/university. Students are exposed to the value of general education as well as to the value of more focused, in-depth study of a field or fields of knowledge (i.e., the major). (Roles and Purposes)

Foundations Institutions conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to achieve ongoing first-year improvement. This assessment is specific to the first year as a unit of analysis—a distinct time period and set of experiences, academic and otherwise, in the lives of students. It is also linked systemically to the institutions’ overall assessment. Assessment results are an integral part of institutional planning, resource allocation, decision-making, and ongoing improvement of programs and policies as they affect first-year students. As part of the enhancement process and as a way to achieve ongoing improvement, institutions are familiar with current practices at other institutions as well as with research and scholarship on the first college year. (Improvement)

The Foundational Dimensions were developed by John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot, Stephen W. Schwartz, Michael J. Siegel, and Randy L. Swing of the Gardner Institute in collaboration with Robert R. Reason, Patrick T. Terenzini, Edward Zlotkowski, and 235 colleges and universities. The following campuses provided national leadership in the inaugural use of the Dimensions: Augsburg College, Aurora University, CUNY – Brooklyn College, CUNY – Medgar Evers College, Chadron State College, Columbia College, Endicott College, Franklin Pierce College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Illinois State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana Wesleyan University, Kennesaw State University, Madonna University,Maryville College, Marywood University, Missouri Western State University, Nazareth College of Rochester, Plymouth State University, Saint Edward’s University, SUNY – Brockport, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, University of Charleston, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Terms and Conditions for Use

©2005 John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

 

Dimensiones Fundacionales®

(Versión Para Instituciones de Cuatro Años)*

Las Dimensiones Fundacionales que se enumeran abajo constituyen un modelo que las instituciones pueden utilizar para evaluar y mejorar el primer año universitario. En cuanto herramienta de evaluación, el modelo capacita a las instituciones tanto para confirmar sus fortalezas como para reconocer la necesidad de mejoramiento. En cuanto modelo desiderativo, las Dimensiones proporcionan guías generales para el diseño intencional del primer año. Las Dimensiones se basan en cuatro supuestos:

  • La misión académica de una institución es preeminente;
  • El primer año universitario es medular para el logro de la misión de una institución y sienta las bases sobre las cuales se edifica la educación universitaria;
  • La evidencia sistemática proporciona validez a las Dimensiones;
  • En su conjunto, las Dimensiones constituyen un ideal para el mejoramiento no sólo del primer año, sino de la totalidad de la experiencia universitaria.

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales abordan su primer año de forma intencional y a base de una filosofía/justificación que informa las políticas y prácticas institucionales pertinentes. La filosofía/justificación del primer año es explícita, clara y fácil de comprender, compatible con la misión institucional, ampliamente diseminada, y, si se estima apropiado, refleja el consenso de los diversos grupos de interés de la institución. La filosofía/justificación es, además, la base para la toma de decisiones relacionadas con políticas organizativas, prácticas, estructuras, liderato, filosofías departamentales o programáticas, y asignación de recursos. (Filosofía).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales establecen políticas y estructuras organizativas que les permiten abordar el primer año de una manera amplia, integrada y articulada. Estas estructuras y políticas permiten el monitoreo y la alineación de todos los esfuerzos relacionados con el primer año. Una experiencia de primer año coherente se logra y sostiene por medio de la colaboración entre asuntos académicos, asuntos estudiantiles y otras unidades administrativas, y se adelanta por medio de actividades recurrentes de desarrollo para la facultad y el personal no docente, así como por medio de arreglos presupuestarios adecuados. (Organización).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales ofrecen experiencias curriculares y cocurriculares de aprendizaje que interesan e involucran a los estudiantes con el fin de desarrollar conocimiento, destrezas, actitudes y comportamientos cónsonos con los logros que se esperan de la educación superior y con la filosofía y la misión de la institución. Ya sea dentro o fuera de la sala de clases, el aprendizaje promueve también el aumento de las competencias de pensamiento crítico, desarrollo ético, y la búsqueda del conocimiento a lo largo de toda la vida. (Aprendizaje).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales hacen del primer año una prioridad para la facultad. Estas instituciones se caracterizan por una cultura de responsabilidad de la facultad sobre el primer año, y que se logra por medio de instrucción de la más alta calidad en los cursos de primer año e interacción frecuente entre la facultad y los estudiantes de primer año tanto dentro como fuera de la sala de clases. Esta cultura de responsabilidad es fomentada por la alta gerencia, los decanos y directores de departamentos, y apoyada por los sistemas de recompensa de la institución. (Facultad)

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales facilitan las transiciones adecuadas de los estudiantes por medio de políticas y prácticas intencionales y cónsonas con la misión institucional. Desde el reclutamiento y la admisión y a través del primer año, estas instituciones comunican claramente a sus estudiantes las expectativas curriculares y cocurriculares, y proveen las instancias de apoyo adecuadas para el éxito educativo. Son claras y directas en cuanto a sus responsabilidades para con los estudiantes, así como en cuanto a las responsabilidades de los estudiantes consigo mismos y con la institución. Crean y sostienen articulaciones curriculares con las escuelas secundarias y vínculos con el personal escolar, las familias de los estudiantes y otras fuentes de apoyo, según sea el caso. (Transiciones).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales sirven a todos los estudiantes de primer año de acuerdo con sus diversas necesidades. El proceso de anticipar, diagnosticar y atender las necesidades es continuo y está sujeto a avalúo y ajustes durante el primer año. Al proveer sus servicios, las instituciones toman en cuenta las habilidades, trasfondos, intereses y experiencias de los estudiantes. Se aseguran de mantener un ambiente institucional seguro e incluyente. (Todos los Estudiantes).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales se aseguran de que todos los estudiantes de primer año experimenten ideas, visiones de mundo y culturas diferentes como un medio para ampliar su aprendizaje y prepararlos para su desenvolvimiento como miembros de comunidades pluralistas. Sea cual fuere su composición demográfica, estas instituciones diseñan experiencias por medio de las cuales los estudiantes pueden interactuar, como miembros de una comunidad abierta y civil, con personas de trasfondos y culturas diferentes, pueden reflexionar sobre ideas y valores diferentes a los suyos, y explorar sus propias culturas y las de los demás. (Diversidad).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales promueven entre los estudiantes la comprensión de las funciones y propósitos de la educación superior, con relación al individuo y a la sociedad. Estas funciones y propósitos incluyen la adquisición de conocimiento para el crecimiento personal, el aprendizaje como preparación para empleos futuros, para convertirse en ciudadanos comprometidos y para servir al bien común. Las instituciones estimulan a los estudiantes de primer año a examinar sistemáticamente sus motivaciones y metas con respecto a la educación superior en general y con respecto a su propia universidad. Los estudiantes tiene la oportunidad de comprender el valor de la educación general, así como el valor de la educación más enfocada y profunda en un campo o campos del conocimiento (i.e., la concentración). (Funciones y Propósitos).

Las instituciones que suscriben las Dimensiones Fundacionales llevan a cabo procesos de avalúo y mantienen vínculos con otras instituciones y organizaciones profesionales pertinentes con el fin de lograr el mejoramiento continuo del primer año. Este avalúo se enfoca específicamente en el primer año como unidad de análisis: un periodo y una serie de experiencias particulares, académicas y de otra índole, en la vida de los estudiantes. Este avalúo se vincula sistemáticamente, además, al avalúo general de la institución, y los resultados de los procesos de avalúo forman parte integral de los procesos de planificación institucional, distribución de recursos, toma de decisiones, y mejoramiento continuo de programas y políticas en cuanto afectan a los estudiantes de primer año. Como parte del proceso continuo de avalúo y mejoramiento, las instituciones se mantienen al tanto de las prácticas en otras instituciones, así como de la investigación y erudición en torno al primer año universitario. (Mejoramiento).

Las Dimensiones Fundacionales fueron desarrolladas por John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot, Stephen W. Schwartz, Michael J. Siegel, y Randy L. Swing del Centro de Política sobre el Primer Año Universitario, en colaboración con Robert R. Reason, Patrick T. Terenzini, Edward Zlotkowski, y 235 universidades. Las siguientes instituciones proveyeron liderato en el ámbito nacional en el uso inaugural de estas Dimensiones: Augsburg College, Aurora University, CUNY – Brooklyn College, CUNY – Medgar Evers College, Chadron State College, Columbia College, Endicott College, Franklin Pierce College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Illinois State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana Wesleyan University, Kennesaw State University, Madonna University, Maryville College, Marywood University, Missouri Western State University, Nazareth College of Rochester, Plymouth State University, Saint Edward’s University, SUNY – Brockport, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, University of Charleston, y University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Términos y Condiciones de Uso

* Traducido por el doctor Pedro Sandín, profesor jubilado de lenguas extranjeras del Recinto de Río Piedras de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, y antiguo Vicepresidente Asociado de Asuntos Estudiantiles de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

©2007 John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

First-Year Focus – Foundational Dimensions®

(Two-Year College Version)

Foundational Dimensions® | Two-Year Institutions: First Year

Foundational Dimensions statements constitute a model that provides two-year colleges with a means to evaluate and improve the new student experience. This model recognizes the multiple roles and functions of two-year institutions as well as their service to diverse student populations that have widely varying educational backgrounds and goals. As an evaluation tool, the model enables two-year institutions both to con rm their strengths and to recognize the need for improvement. As an aspirational model, the Dimensions provide general guidelines for an intentional design of the new student experience. The Dimensions rest on four assumptions:

  • The academic mission of an institution is preeminent.

  • The experience of new students is central to the achievement of an institution’s mission because it lays the foundation that enables students to achieve their educational goals.

  • Systematic evidence provides validation of the Dimensions.

  • Collectively, the Dimensions constitute an ideal for improving not only the new student experience, but also the entire college experience.

Foundations Institutions intentionally cultivate learning environments for new students that emerge from a philosophy of two-year colleges as gateways to higher education. The philosophy is explicit and easily understood. It is consistent with the institutional mission, reflects a consensus of internal and external constituencies, and is widely disseminated. The philosophy is also the basis for organizational policies, practices, structures, leadership, and resource allocation to support the new student experience. (Philosophy)

Foundations Institutions provide a comprehensive, coordinated, and flexible approach to the new student experience through effective organizational structures and policies. These structures and policies guide and align all aspects of the new student experience. Through effective partnerships, critical stakeholders such as instructional, administrative, and student services units provide a coherent experience for new students that is enhanced by ongoing faculty and staff development activities and appropriate budgetary arrangements. 

Foundations Institutions deliver curricular and co-curricular learning experiences that engage new students in order to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the institutional mission, students’ academic and career goals, and workplace expectations. Both in and out of the classroom, these learning experiences promote critical thinking, ethical decision making, and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge. (Organization).

Foundations Institutions make new students a high priority for faculty and staff.  A culture of responsibility for the experiences of new students characterizes these institutions. This culture is realized through high-quality instruction, services, and support as well as substantial interaction with students both inside and outside the classroom. Campus leaders nurture this culture and support it by appropriate institutional recognition and rewards. (Faculty and Staff).

Foundations Institutions facilitate appropriate student transitions beginning with outreach and recruitment and continuing throughout the period of enrollment. They communicate clear curricular/co-curricular expectations and possibilities, and they provide appropriate preparation and support for educational success. They are forthright about their responsibilities to students as well as students’ responsibilities to themselves and the institution. These institutions create and maintain communication with secondary and other postsecondary institutions, families, employers, community agencies, and other sources of support for students. (Transitions)

Foundations Institutions serve all new students according to their varied needs. These institutions anticipate, identify, and address the needs of traditional and non-traditional students in response to their individual abilities, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. These efforts are subject to assessment and adjustment as needed. Institutions also ensure campus environments that are inclusive and safe for all students. (All Students)

Foundations Institutions ensure that new students experience ongoing exploration of diverse ideas, world views, and cultures as a means of enhancing their learning and participation in pluralistic communities. Institutions cultivate an open and civil community in which students interact with people from varied backgrounds and cultures. These institutions guide students to reflect on ideas and values different from those they currently hold, and explore their own cultures and the cultures of others. (Diversity)

Foundations Institutions promote student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education and those unique to two-year institutions, both for the individual and society. These roles and purposes include learning for personal growth, career enhancement, workplace preparation and retraining, transfer for additional education, engaged citizenship, and serving the public good. Institutions encourage new students to examine their motivation and goals with regard to higher education in general and to their own college. Students are exposed to the value of both a general education and focused study in an academic or career field.(Roles and Purposes)

Foundations Institutions conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to effect improvement. Assessment provides feedback to new students to guide their learning, to faculty to guide their teaching, and to the institution to guide planning, resource allocation, decision making, and improvement of programs and policies. As a way to facilitate improvement, these institutions are knowledgeable about current practices at other institutions as well as relevant research and scholarship. (Improvement)

The Foundational Dimensions were developed by John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot, and Randy L. Swing of the Policy Center on the First Year of College in collaboration with 87 two-year colleges. The following ten campuses provided national leadership in the inaugural use of the Dimensions: Kennebec Valley Community College, Longview Community College, Middlesex Community College, Montgomery County Community College, Oakton Community College, Pellissippi State Technical Community College, San Jacinto College South, Spokane Falls Community College, University of Wisconsin Colleges, and Virginia Highlands Community College.

©2005 John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Foundations of Excellence and Foundational Dimensions are trademarks of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Terms and Conditions for Use

©2005 John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Transfer Focus – Foundational Dimensions®

(Four-Year College Version)

Foundational Dimensions statements constitute a model that provides institutions with a means to evaluate and improve the first year of college. As an evaluation tool, the model enables institutions both to confirm their strengths and to recognize the need for improvement. As an aspirational model, the Dimensions provide general guidelines for an intentional design of the first year. The Dimensions also provide a framework for evaluating and improving the experience of transfer students. The Dimensions rest on five assumptions:

  • The academic mission of an institution is preeminent;
  • The first college year is central to the achievement of an institution’s mission and lays the foundation on which undergraduate education is built;
  • For many institutions, the successful integration of transfer students is also central to mission attainment;
  • Systematic evidence provides validation of the Dimensions;
  • Collectively, the Dimensions constitute an ideal for improving not only the first college year, but also the entire undergraduate experience.

Foundations Institutions develop intentional policies and practices related to the transfer student experience based on a clear philosophy/rationale. The philosophy/rationale is explicit, clear and easily understood, consistent with the institutional mission, widely disseminated, and, as appropriate, reflects a consensus of campus constituencies. The philosophy/rationale is also the basis for transfer policies, practices, structures, leadership, department/unit philosophies, and resource allocation. This philosophy recognizes both similarities and differences in first-year and transfer transitions. (Philosophy-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions create organizational structures that provide oversight and coordination of the transfer experience. A coherent transfer experience is realized and maintained through effective partnerships among academic affairs, student affairs, and other administrative units and is enhanced through appropriate budgetary allocations. Foundations Institutions also assure communication and collaboration with sending institutions at multiple levels including senior administration, academic departments, academic advising, and other administrative units. (Organization-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions assure the continued development of transfer students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the desired outcomes of higher education and the institution’s philosophy and mission. They coordinate with partner institutions (sending and receiving) to determine common course goals and learning outcomes and encourage the participation of transfer students in engaging learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. (Learning-Transfer Focus)

Foundations institutions create a culture of faculty responsibility for transfer student success by encouraging awareness of and responsiveness to the unique needs of transfer students. This culture of responsibility is nurtured by chief academic officers, deans, and department chairs and supported by the institutions’ reward systems. (Faculty-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions facilitate appropriate transfer student transitions through policies and practices that are intentional and aligned with institutional mission. Beginning with transfer student recruitment and admissions and continuing through the first year of transfer, institutions and academic departments communicate clear curricular and co-curricular expectations and provide appropriate support for educational success. They are forthright about their responsibilities to students as well as students’ responsibilities to themselves and the institution. They create and maintain curricular alignments and administrative linkages with sending institutions to assure a seamless transition process. (Transitions-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions serve all transfer students according to their varied needs. The process of anticipating, diagnosing, and addressing needs is ongoing and is subject to continuous assessment and adjustment. Institutions provide services with respect for the students’ abilities, prior academic experiences, current needs and interests. Institutions also ensure a campus environment in which transfer students are accepted and valued. (All Students-Transfer Focus )

Foundations Institutions ensure that all students experience diverse ideas, worldviews, and cultures as a means of enhancing their learning and preparing them to become members of pluralistic communities. Whatever their demographic composition, institutions introduce transfer students to the standards of behavior expected in a diverse, open, and civil community. (Diversity-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions promote student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education, both for the individual and society. These roles and purposes include knowledge acquisition for personal growth, learning to prepare for future employment, learning to become engaged citizens, and learning to serve the public good. Institutions encourage transfer students to deepen and strengthen their understanding of the value of general education and to reexamine their motivation and monitor their progression toward personal educational goals. (Roles and Purposes-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to achieve ongoing improvement in the transfer experience. Assessment results are an integral part of institutional planning, resource allocation, decision-making, and ongoing improvement of programs and policies that affect transfer students. As a way to achieve ongoing improvement, institutions are familiar with current practices at other institutions as well as with research and scholarship on transfer students and the transfer process. (Improvement-Transfer Focus)

The Foundational Dimensions were adapted for the transfer transition by John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot, Betsy Q. Griffin, and Julie S. Alexander-Hamilton of the Gardner Institute in collaboration with Dennis E. Brown of El Paso Community College, Marc Cutright of the University of North Texas, Howard B. London of Bridgewater State College, Keith Pickus of Wichita State University, and Mark Allen Poisel of the University of Central Florida.

Terms and Conditions for Use

©2010 John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

 

Transfer Focus – Foundational Dimensions®

(Two-Year College Version)

Foundational Dimensions statements provide two-year institutions a model to evaluate and improve the experience of students preparing to transfer. As an evaluation tool, the model enables institutions both to confirm their strengths and to recognize the need for improvement. As an aspirational model, the Dimensions provide general guidelines for an intentional design of the experience of transfer students. The Dimensions rest on five assumptions:

  • The academic mission of an institution is preeminent.
  • For many two-year institutions, the successful preparation of transfer students is central to mission attainment.
  • The role of two-year institutions in facilitating student transfer is critical to the achievement of national goals for educational attainment.
  • Systematic evidence provides validation of the Dimensions.
  • Collectively, the Dimensions constitute an ideal for improving not only the transfer student transition, but also the entire undergraduate experience.

Foundations Institutions develop intentional policies and practices related to student transfer based on a clear philosophy/rationale. The philosophy/rationale is explicit, clear and easily understood, consistent with the institutional mission, widely disseminated, and, as appropriate, reflects a consensus of campus constituencies. The philosophy/rationale is also the basis for transfer policies, practices, structures, leadership, department/unit philosophies, and resource allocation. This philosophy recognizes the institution’s role in serving and supporting transfer students. (Philosophy-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions create organizational structures that provide oversight and coordination of student transfer. Coherent oversight of the transfer process is realized and maintained through effective partnerships among academic affairs, student services, and other administrative units and is enhanced through appropriate budgetary allocations. Foundations Institutions are organized to prepare transfer students through a wide range of essential services. They assure communication and collaboration with receiving institutions at multiple levels including senior administration, academic departments, academic advising, and other administrative units. (Organization-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions assure the seamless development of transfer students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the desired outcomes of higher education and the institution’s philosophy and mission. They coordinate with receiving institutions to determine common course goals, learning outcomes, and pathways to degree completion. They encourage the participation of transfer students in engaging learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. (Learning-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions make transfer students a high priority for faculty and staff. A culture of responsibility for the preparation of transfer students characterizes these institutions. This culture is articulated by campus leaders and realized through high-quality instruction, services, and support as well as substantial interaction with students both inside and outside the classroom. Campus leaders nurture this culture and support it by appropriate institutional recognition and rewards. (Campus Culture – Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions facilitate appropriate transfer student transitions through policies and practices that are intentional and aligned with institutional mission. Chief among these practices is a competent and caring approach to advising for transfer students. Beginning with the admission of students preparing to transfer, institutions and academic departments/units communicate clear curricular and co-curricular expectations and provide appropriate support for educational success. They are forthright about their responsibilities to transfer students as well as students’ responsibilities to themselves and the institution. They create and maintain administrative linkages with receiving institutions, assist students in learning about the culture of receiving institutions, and endeavor to provide accurate and timely information to assure successful transfer. (Transitions-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions serve transfer students according to their varied needs. The process of anticipating, diagnosing, and addressing needs is continuous and is subject to routine assessment and adjustment. Institutions provide services with respect for the students’ abilities, prior academic experiences, academic goals, and current needs and interests. Institutions also ensure a campus environment in which transfer students are encouraged to develop and pursue their goals for higher education. (All Students-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions ensure that all students experience diverse ideas, worldviews, and cultures as a means of enhancing their learning and preparing them to become members of pluralistic communities. Whatever their demographic composition, institutions introduce transfer students to the standards of behavior expected in diverse, open, and civil environments that characterize higher education. (Diversity-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions promote student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education, both for the individual and society. These roles and purposes include knowledge acquisition for personal growth, learning to prepare for future employment, learning to become engaged citizens, and learning to serve the public good. Institutions encourage transfer students to deepen and strengthen their understanding of the value of general education and to examine or reexamine their motivation and monitor their progression toward personal educational goals. (Roles and Purposes-Transfer Focus)

Foundations Institutions conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to achieve ongoing improvement in the transfer process. Assessment results are an integral part of institutional planning, resource allocation, decision-making, and ongoing improvement of programs and policies that affect transfer students. As a way to achieve ongoing improvement, institutions are familiar with current practices at other institutions as well as research and scholarship on transfer students and the transfer process. (Improvement-Transfer Focus)

The Foundational Dimensions were adapted for the transfer transition by John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot, Betsy Q. Griffin, and Julie S. Alexander-Hamilton of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education in collaboration with Dennis E. Brown of El Paso Community College, Amy Baldwin of Pulaski Technical College, Kurt Ewen of Valencia Community College, Chad Brown of Zane State College, Shawn Anderson of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Janice Mettauer and Shawna Carter of Madison Area Technical College, Steady Moono of Montgomery County Community College, Dee Ludwig of Eastern Wyoming College, Trudy Bers of Oakton Community College, and Ali O’Brien of College of Lake County.

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