Campus looks inward as part of "Foundations of Excellence" program

In fall 2003‚ campus administrators were thrilled to learn that KSU had been chosen to participate in a national project known as the “Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year.” Now‚ Dr. Mary Lou Frank is heading up an interdisciplinary task force whose goal is to make the most of this groundbreaking opportunity.

Georgia (Mar 30, 2004) — In fall 2003‚ campus administrators were thrilled to learn that KSU had been chosen to participate in a national project known as the “Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year.” Now‚ Dr. Mary Lou Frank is heading up an interdisciplinary task force whose goal is to make the most of this groundbreaking opportunity.

“It’s an honor for us‚ because it really recognizes the excellent work of the faculty and staff here at Kennesaw‚” said Frank‚ dean of undergraduate and university studies. “We are trying to continue to advance and sustain the academic excellence and student success models that we have had at KSU‚ recognizing that we always continue to modify our programs‚ based on student need‚ growth‚ and all the other changes the university is experiencing.”

As one of 12 “Founding Institutions” taking part in the study‚ KSU is conducting a comprehensive analysis of its own policies and programs related to the freshman experience. These surveys‚ representing a variety of perspectives‚ will be submitted to Penn State University‚ which will then provide feedback to Frank and her group. The goal is to come up with a set of voluntary standards‚ or best practices‚ that institutions similar to Kennesaw State can use to judge and improve their own first−year programs.

“The primary thing we’re trying to do is develop a set of standards to measure excellence in the beginning college experience‚” said Dr. John Gardner‚ whose Policy Center on the First Year of College is jointly sponsoring the initiative along with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “We want these standards to be developed by real institutions. We’ve got to have something that’s developed by real people in real institution−based circumstances.”

As part of this ongoing process‚ Gardner visited KSU in mid−January for a series of meetings with representatives of academic affairs‚ student success and enrollment services‚ and other campus constituencies. During the visit‚ he talked about the importance of the first year of college‚ and the “foundation” it provides for the undergraduate experience.

“If you don’t have an appropriate foundation‚ you’re much less likely to be successful academically‚ remain enrolled‚ achieve your goals and graduate‚” he explained.

President Betty L. Siegel has long stressed the importance of the first college year‚ and KSU has been recognized in the pages of Time magazine for excellence in this regard. Even so‚ there are always improvements that can be made‚ Frank said‚ and changes are already in the works. Among those is the decision to keep her task force in place even after the study is completed‚ providing guidance and cohesion for the university’s efforts to best serve its first−year students.

“Participation in this program benefits us because it helps us to start looking at ourselves again in a different way‚” she said‚ “and becomes a part of our own reflective process of development.”





A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

©