GGC selected to participate in national project to increase first-year student success

Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that GGC is one of 12 four-year institutions selected to participate in a national higher education project in the coming year known as “Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year.” The project, sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College, utilizes a model of excellence for the first college year. This model is used by colleges and universities to develop and refine their overall approach to educating first-year students. GGC’s initiative has been named First Year Matters.

Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman announced today that GGC is one of 12 four-year institutions selected to participate in a national higher education project in the coming year known as “Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year.” The project, sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College, utilizes a model of excellence for the first college year. This model is used by colleges and universities to develop and refine their overall approach to educating first-year students. GGC’s initiative has been named First Year Matters.

Research has long indicated that new students who are successfully integrated into college are much more likely to succeed. Many colleges, therefore, work especially hard to create a first-rate experience for new students.

First Year Matters represents our commitment to student success,” said Dr. Kaufman. “Student engagement is critical to make certain that first-year students have a successful transition into college. As GGC grows dramatically, we will systematically ensure that we don’t lose our first principle – student success.”

Since February of 2003, the Foundations of Excellence project has involved only 300 two- and four-year colleges and universities across the country in implementing the standards, Foundational Dimensions, which constitute a model first year. Georgia Gwinnett will work with the Policy Center throughout 2009-2010. GGC will measure its effectiveness in recruiting, admitting, orienting, supporting, advising and teaching new students, both entering freshmen and transfer students. It will then be able to make programmatic improvements that will enhance student learning, success and persistence.

In describing the importance of this project, John N. Gardner, executive director of the Policy Center on the First Year of College, located in Brevard, NC said, “While much is known about how a campus can improve new student learning and retention, this information has never been synthesized or translated into aspirational standards that are reflective of best practice. The absence of clear standards has powerful educational and financial consequences. This project brings together a number of highly credible researchers, reformers, and practitioners, who are creating the blueprint that for too long has been missing.”

GGC’s Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Stas Preczewski adds, “It’s great that we don’t have to change anything. As a new college, we already have put the infrastructure in place to support these students, and with First Year Matters we will just enhance what we are doing by implementing a campus-wide systematic approach to student success.”

GGC is among the first national cohort of institutions to participate in the Foundations of Excellence project with a transfer focus as part of the analysis of students’ first year experiences. The goal is to develop intentional policies and practices related to the transfer student experience to help ensure their success. Transfer students have unique needs and require comprehensive institutional support in their transition.

Nine separate campus-wide committees will spend the fall semester collecting and analyzing data about all facets of the first year experience for students. They will then make recommendations for enhancements that will be considered by a steering committee headed by Dr. Preczewski.

Find additional information about the Policy Center on the First Year of College.

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