Team up on Foundations of Excellence

January 29, 2007
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

California State University, Bakersfield has teamed up with Bakersfield College to participate in a self-guided year-long study and improvement process for a student's first-year experience. The Foundations of Excellence is the first-ever partnership between a four-year university and two-year community college and enhances an institution's ability to realize its goal for student learning, success, and persistence.

"We applied for the opportunity to be part of this national initiative, and we were fortunate to be selected," said John Dirkse, CSUB interim associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of undergraduate and graduate studies. "The result of this self-study will be a report that will tell us what we're doing that's good, what is not so good, what needs improvement, and how we can make the improvements. We hope that together with Bakersfield College we can create a collaborative model for other CSU campuses with nearby community colleges and possibly for other such two- and four-year institutions nationwide."

The centerpiece is a model for first-year excellence comprised of a set of principles that are termed foundational dimensions. These dimensions guide measurement of institutional efforts. The goal is to provide a model for the entirety of the first-year college experience from initial contact with potential students through admissions, orientation, and all first-year curricular and co-curricular activities. Four of the nine dimensions are philosophy, organization, transitions, and all-students.

Faculty, staff and administrators have already completed surveys designed for them as part of the Foundations of Excellence, and students should check their Runnermail today for their survey. The survey results will then be made available to and addressed by the various dimension committees.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to take a critical look at ourselves and reveal any gaps in our programs," said Jacqueline Mimms, CSUB associate vice president for enrollment management. "This is an opportunity for students to tell us how we're doing and recommend what areas we need to work on. And can we do better? I think so." Mimms hopes to have the final report by the end of March.

In addition, the Foundations of Excellence steering committee is looking for help from the students to get the word out about CSUB's first-year experience with a television public service announcement contest. The committee will select a student-produced PSA and announce the winner at the first Celebrate CSUB Day, a university-wide open house, slated for April 28. As an incentive the winner will receive a $300 book voucher for the Runner Bookstore on campus. "It's an opportunity to let students get involved and become part of this self-reflective period," said Edwin Sasaki, CSUB special assistant to the provost. "This will provide our committee with an insight into the student experience and give the students a chance to showcase their talents and what they have learned at the university."

Contest rules and eligibility:

Each entry must be conceived and produced by CSUB students. PSAs can be submitted by a group or as an individual effort. Entries must be original work. The group or individual submitting the entry must sign the entry form verifying all rules and guidelines have been followed. Entries must be suitable for television, which prohibits profanity, nudity, and other lewd content. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry form. The PSAs must address the first-year experience in one or more of the following ways:

All entries will be judged by the CSUB Foundations of Excellence steering committee. Judging criteria will include ability to capture first-year experience, creativity, writing, editing, and overall content.

Entry forms are available in the Admissions and Records or University Advancement offices. Entries must be submitted or postmarked by April 16.

Drop off or send all entries to:

Vikash Lakhani/ PSA Contest
Admissions and Records, 47 SA
California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield 93311-1022

For more information, please call Lakhani, CSUB enrollment management, at (661) 654-3288, or Jaclyn Loveless, CSUB public affairs, at (661) 654-2138.