Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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First Year Experience
Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year
During 2006-2007, Western Illinois University was selected to participate in a year-long self study project—Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year. The project, sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College, was designed to help campuses evaluate and improve the overall experience of first-year students. The Policy Center is a non-profit higher education research/policy center established in 1999 and supported by Lumina Foundation for Education. The work of the Policy Center is intended to help institutions of higher education enhance new student learning and retention through systematic appraisal and improvement of their programs, policies, and institutional procedures.
At Western, nine committees composed of faculty, academic and student services administrators, advisors, and students examined various aspects of the experiences that students encounter during their first year of college. The committees examined our effectiveness in recruiting, admitting, orienting, supporting, advising, and teaching new students. Each committee investigated current practices and compared them to the standards (“Foundational Dimensions®”) that constitute a model first year, as identified by The Policy Center.
A Strategic Plan for The First Year Experience at Western Illinois University resulted from this work. It includes a list of action items that the committees determined would help to improve the current FYE program.