Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence for the First Year of College
March 2005, Jossey-Bass
About the Authors xxvii
1 On Being Named an Institution of Excellence in the First College Year: The Process and the Places 1
2 Research Methods 19
Part One: Case Studies of Two-Year Institutions 33
3 The Community College of Denver: A Second Family for the First-Year Student 35
Marc Cutright, Randy L. Swing
4 LaGuardia Community College: A Window on the World 59
Betsy O. Barefoot, Michael J. Siegel
Part Two: Case Studies of Four-Year Institutions with Fewer Than 2,000 Students 85
5 The First Year at Eckerd College: Responsible Innovation 87
Stephen W. Schwartz, Michael J. Siegel
6 Kalamazoo College: No Stone Left Unturned 113
Stephen W. Schwartz, Randy L. Swing
Part Three: Case Studies of Four-Year Institutions with 2,000 to 5,000 Students 143
7 Drury University: Balancing Intellectual Rigor with Intrusive Personal Support in the First Year 145
Charles C. Schroeder, Randy L. Swing
8 Elon University: Transforming Education Through a Community of Inquiry and Engagement 166
Libby V. Morris, Randy L. Swing
9 West Point and the Plebe-Year Experience: The Long Gray Line 191
Michael J. Siegel, John N. Gardner
Part Four: Case Studies of Four-Year Institutions with 5,000 to 10,000 Students 217
10 Lehman College of the City University of New York: Excellence in the Bronx 219
John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot
11 The First Year at Texas A&M University– Corpus Christi: Starting with a Clean Slate 243
Michael J. Siegel, Marc Cutright
Part Five: Case Studies of Four-Year Institutions with 10,000 to 20,000 Students 271
12 Appalachian State University: High Standards for the First Year in North Carolina’s High Country 273
John N. Gardner, Betsy O. Barefoot
13 The Story of Ball State University: “Everything Students Need” 299
Randy L. Swing, Marc Cutright
Part Six: Case Studies of Four-Year Institutions with More Than 20,000 Students 323
14 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: Success and the City 325
Marc Cutright, Michael J. Siegel
15 University of South Carolina: Creator and Standard-Bearer for the First-Year Experience 349
Libby V. Morris, Marc Cutright
Part Seven: Conclusion 377
16 Findings and Recommendations 379
Epilogue: Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year 397
Appendix A: All Participants in the Institutions of Excellence Study (N = 130) 403
Appendix B: Initial Letter of Invitation to Participate in the Institutions of Excellence Project 409
Appendix C: Semifinalists 415
Appendix D: Letter to Semifinalists 419
Appendix E: Announcement Letter to Thirteen Institutions of Excellence 423
Appendix F: Research Subject Information and Consent Form 427
John Gardner is executive director of the Policy Center on the First Year of College and was the founder of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. He has co-authored three other books with Jossey-Bass.
Marc Cutright is assistant professor of higher education at Ohio University and a research fellow of the Policy Center on the First Year of College.
Libby Morris is associate professor of higher education and interim director, Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. She is editor of the Journal of Innovative Higher Education.
Charles Schroeder is a senior executive with Noel-Levitz and cofounder of Jossey-Bass' About Campus magazine.
Stephen Schwartz is a visiting senior fellow at the Policy Center on the First Year of College.
Michael Siegel is a research associate for the Policy Center on the First Year of College.
Randy Swing is codirector of the Policy Center on the First Year of College.
--Jodi Levine Laufgraben, associate vice provost, Temple University
"Betsy Barefoot and John Gardner have been telling us for years
what works for first-year students. Now they and their colleagues
provide the missing link–examples of schools that actually do
--George D. Kuh, Chancellor's Professor of Higher Education and director, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University
"In this wonderfully timely book, Barefoot, Gardner, and their
colleagues do higher education a great service. They provide
concrete, evidence-based examples of how a diverse array of
colleges and universities are redesigning first-year experiences to
meet the needs of students and promote their success. We learn
again that leadership matters, that data can drive improvement, and
that relentless focus and the courage to transform will win the
--Kay McClenney, director, Community College Survey of Student Engagement, University of Texas at Austin
"Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence for the
First Year of College is destined to become a classic, a vital
handbook for every college and university which aspires to maximize
the life-changing possibilities for America's first-year
--David Warren, president, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Washington, D.C.
"At last, a book that offers research-based frameworks for
first-year student success that include all types of institutions,
regardless of the differences in their missions and the diversity
of their students."
--M. Lee Upcraft, affiliate professor emeritus and assistant vice president emeritus for student affairs, Penn State University
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