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Foundations of Excellence (FoE) in the First College Year Self-Study

A University task force comprised of 91 students, staff, and faculty members recently completed two externally guided self-studies of the first year experience - one focused on entering freshmen and the other focused on new transfer students. A variety of sources of evidence about students, programs, policies, and assessments were examined as part of the Foundations of Excellence process, which is sponsored through the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies. Illinois State University has a long history of being nationally recognized for its yearOne Experience. Engaging in two comprehensive self-studies is another example of the University's commitment to continuous excellence in providing a supportive learning environment for all new students.

The work of the task force began in August of 2012 with a campus audit of the first year for new freshmen and new transfer students and continued with a nine month process of evaluation using Foundational Dimensions® and related performance indicators, and culminated in the development of 25 recommendations and associated strategies for campus improvement.

Foundations of Excellence Steering Committee

Dimension Committee Roster

Summary of Foundational Dimensions

Final FoE Report Executive Summary

Program Model

The centerpiece of Foundations of Excellence (FoE) is a model comprised of a set of principles that are termed Foundational Dimensions®. These nine Foundational Dimensions guide measurement of institutional efforts and provide an aspirational model for the entirety of the beginning college experience (initial contact with students through admissions, orientation, and all curricular and co-curricular experiences).

The engine of the Foundations of Excellence process is a campus-based task force. The work of the task force begins with a campus audit of the first year and continues with a nine-month process of evaluation using the Foundational Dimensions® and related performance indicators and culminates in the development of a strategic action plan for campus improvement.

Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies - Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year


Illinois State University

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University College
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Phone: (309) 438-3217

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