The project is a year-long comprehensive, self-study that guides USD in its assessment and continued improvement of the overall experience of first-year students.
"The Foundations of Excellence self-study process complements university-wide strategic initiatives," said USD President James W. Abbott. "The self-study is the first step in providing programs which integrate the academic and extracurricular experience. USD is grounded in the liberal arts.�Our programs offer students myriad opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to make positive contributions to society. The self-study will help us build, implement and assess programs to make sure our students achieve success in their first year of college."
With financial support for the study provided by the USD Foundation, the university-wide study will result in a defined action plan for enhancing student learning and retention. A task force at USD will oversee the study and has begun the review process.
Since February of 2003, the Foundations of Excellence project has involved more than 300 two- and four-year colleges and universities across the country in developing the standards ("Foundational Dimensions�") that constitute a model first year. The University of South Dakota and the other 2006-2007 participants will work with the Policy Center and its technology support and educational survey partner, Educational Benchmarking, Inc.
Member institutions will measure their effectiveness in recruiting, admitting, orienting, supporting, advising, and teaching new students.
"New students who are successfully integrated into college are much more likely to succeed. At The University of South Dakota, we want to make sure we provide our first-year students with the tools and support they need," said Terisa C. Remelius, assistant vice president for Student Services.
The four-year colleges and universities that are participating in the 2006-2007 Foundations of Excellence initiative are: Ball State University, Berea College, California State University-Bakersfield, Central Michigan University, Florida Southern College, Gallaudet University, Georgian Court University, Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, Old Dominion University, Reinhardt College, Slippery Rock University, Southern Oregon University, State University of New York, Fredonia, Texas A&M International University, University of South Carolina Upstate, University of South Dakota, University of Toledo, West Virginia University and Western Illinois University.