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Foundations of Excellence Project Launches

Faculty and staff chosen to be on the Foundations of Excellence task force studying MNU's first year student experience are in Asheville, North Carolina this week at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Higher Education. The team is getting training on how to conduct a sustained and comprehensive self-study of the first college year at MNU that will lead to plans that enhance the experience for first year students.

According to the Gardner Institute, universities must be selected for training based on their commitment to first year students as evidenced by the school's current efforts and desire to improve. The study will center around nine aspirational principles of excellence which serve as the inspirational framework for the Foundations of Excellence process. 

Foundations of Excellence is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Title III Strengthening Institutions Program. According to Dr. Rick Hanson, associate vice president for Academic and Professional Success at MNU, the grant writers envisioned a very intentional program for first year students. 

"Rather than a decentralized process, we are starting at the beginning, even at the recruitment stage, to ensure that what first year students expect is what they actually get," Hanson said. "We are reevaluating everything from who conducts New Student Orientation to First Year Seminar and more. We want to be sure that the elements that make up the first year experience are what they need them to be." 

The task force will work with 50 to 60 faculty and staff to ensure broad campus engagement in the self-study and resulting plans for enhancement. 

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