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Foundations of Excellence Task Force

09- 14- 2006

Spartanburg, S.C. - Student retention has long been an important concern at USC Upstate. Cindy Jennings, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Dr. Warren Carson, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, have been selected to lead the University’s participation in the national higher education project known as “Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year.”

“We have had the good fortune this summer to be accepted by the Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year to undertake a self-study and improvement process of our student success agenda,” said Dr. John C. Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate. “This process will guide the measurement of our many “student success” efforts, and provide an aspirational model for the entirety of the beginning college experience from initial contact with potential students through admissions, orientation and all first-year curricular and co-curricular experiences.”

The project, sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College, will utilize a recently developed model of excellence for the first college year to develop and refine their overall approach to educating first-year students. The focus of the Foundations of Excellence initiative is on the first year – a critical time for retention, learning, and development of skills that support future learning. The process builds campus expertise about the first year of college to encourage long-term advocates for academic excellence and student success in the first year.

The Purpose of Foundations of Excellence is to encourage colleges and universities to engage in a comprehensive process that acknowledges both institutional strengths and needs for improvement related to the first year. As institutions systematically evaluate their level of achievement of each of the nine Dimensions, they simultaneously will identify those areas in which an actionable change in policy or practice could yield improvement in institutional intentionality, efficiencies, student learning, and retention. Institutions will prioritize desired changes in an Implementation Plan for campus improvement, a strategic working document that will guide an institution’s present and future approach to the first year. 

“During this process, the University will measure its effectiveness in recruiting, admitting, orienting, supporting, advising, and teaching new students. Then we will be able to make programmatic improvements that will increase student learning, success, and persistence,” said Jennings. 

FOE Task Force

The following faculty and staff members have been appointed to the task force: Dr. Reginald Avery, Sam Bingham, Dr. Jim Brown, Dr. Peter Caster, Dr. Alice Claggett, Dr. David Coberly, Dr. Richard Combes, Jimm Cox, Ron Dalton, Brenda Davenport, Frieda Davison, Dr. Marsha Dowell, Louise Ericson, Dr. Jim Ferrell, Dr. Chip Green, Betty Guzzo, Frances Jarratt-Hortis, Dr. Don Knight, Dr. George Labanick, Dr. Charles Love, Ina Minsky, Katy Murphy, Laura Puckett-Boler, Theresa Ricke-Kiely, Dr. Sarah Rook, Donette Stewart, Sheryl Turner-Watts, Tammy Whaley, and Leon Wiles.

 For more details, contact Cindy Jennings at ext. 5470, Dr. Warren Carson at ext. 5634 or visitwww.fyfoundations.org.