The Gardner Institute has identified nine areas essential to creating an exceptional first year experience. As we conduct our self-assessment and devise ways to improve our students' first year with us, committees will follow these Foundational Dimensions:

  • Philosophy

    We will approach the first year in ways that are intentional and based on a philosophy/rationale of the first year that informs relevant University policies and practices. 

  • Organization

     We will create organizational structures and policies that provide a comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated approach to the first year.

  • Learning

    We will deliver intentional curricular and co-curricular learning experiences that engage students in order to develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors consistent with the desired outcomes of higher education and Suffolk’s philosophy and mission. 

  • Faculty

    We will make the first college year a high priority for our faculty. 

  • Transitions

    We will facilitate appropriate student transitions through policies and practices that are intentional and aligned with Suffolk’s student-centered mission. 

  • All Students

    We will serve all first-year* students according to their varied needs.

    *In this context, freshmen=first-year students 

  • Diversity

    We will ensure that all first-year students experience diverse ideas, worldviews, and cultures as a means of enhancing their learning and preparing them to become members of pluralistic communities. 

  • Roles and Purposes

    We will promote student understanding of the various roles and purposes of higher education, both for the individual and society. 

  • Improvement

    We will conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to achieve ongoing first-year improvement. 

Adapted from the Gardner Institute website