The Foundations of Excellence (FoE) Transfer Focus Committee kicked off its first meeting on Wednesday, September 8. The meeting was long awaited by all as the steering committee has been working to compile data and assemble volunteers for this semester- long self-study. According to the John N. Gardner Institute FoE transfer focus website, the committee members will engage in an intensive and comprehensive self study of the transfer student experience and based upon their findings, develop an action plan for improvement.
The Gardner Institute works with postsecondary institutions within the U. S. and in other countries as they evaluate and improve their own policies, practices, and procedures in pursuit of undergraduate excellence. The Institute maintains a special focus on enriching the beginning college experience for both first-time and transfer students. UNI is one of the first 5 universities in the country conducting an FoE study for transfer students.
UNI started the process with the initial focus on the first-year experience of students admitted directly from high school. From those recommendations, a wealth of action has been born on campus. The First Year Council at UNI has implemented programs such as MAP-Works, and developed the Retention Council and the FoE transfer steering committee to help students succeed at UNI. The Gardner Institute responded to UNI’s actions by adapting their materials for the transfer student population.
In February 2010, the transfer focus steering committee was formed. The charge of the steering committee, lead by co-chairs Christie Kangas, director of admissions and Kerri Clopton, associate professor for educational psychology and foundations, is to conduct a guided self-study of all aspects of the transfer student experience and produce a plan for institutional improvement that will lead to higher levels of student learning and persistence. Subcommittees have been formed based on the 9 dimensions of the FoE models: philosophy, organization, learning, faculty, transitions, all students, diversity, roles and purposes and improvement.