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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Expert on first year of college to visit NMSU

(Media note: A press conference with Dr. Gardner is scheduled for 1 p.m., Tues., April 11, in the Otero Room of Corbett Center.)

Dr. John Gardner, executive director, Policy Center on the First Year of College (Courtesy photo)

Transitioning into university life can be daunting for people of any age, not just recent high school graduates, but New Mexico State University is trying to make that transition much easier.

To help facilitate the process that keeps students in school, NMSU is bringing to campus John Gardner, executive director of the Policy Center on the First Year of College.

Gardner, who will visit NMSU April 11 and 12, will work with the university's task force and various committees as they address the nine dimensions of the "Foundations of Excellence," benchmarks that have been established for four-year institutions of higher education. Besides meeting with various dimension teams on April 11, Gardner will present to the Provost's Council at 9:45 a.m., join faculty and staff working with first-year students for lunch, address a press conference at 1 p.m. in Corbett Center's Otero Room and meet with the Higher Learning Commission Steering Committee at 4 p.m.

The "Foundations of Excellence" dimensions include:

The philosophy of the institution.
Organizational structures and policies that provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the first year.
Learning experiences that help students develop knowledge and skills consistent with the university's philosophy and mission.
A "culture of responsibility" that makes the first college year a high priority for the faculty.
Student transition policies and practices that are aligned with the institution's mission.
A campus environment that is safe and inclusive for all students.
Diverse ideas, cultures and worldviews that will help to enhance the learning experience of all first-year students.
Promotion of student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education.
Assessment of the first-year program and associations with other institutions and professional organizations to ensure improvement in the first year.

"We are very excited to have Dr. Gardner come here to work with the different dimension teams," said Judy Bosland, associate director of institutional research at NMSU. "Through his leadership and guidance, we can learn what NMSU can do to improve the student experience. By touching students through the first year experience, recruitment and retention go up because students are happier, they stay in school longer and they tell their friends that NMSU is a great place."