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The hallmark of academic excellence is intellectual vitality, which is characterized by creativity, curiosity, and the free exchange of ideas. The Foundation Coalition believes that our institutions, faculty, and students should have high aspirations and strive for excellence in all endeavors, which will result in organizational, professional, and personal improvement.

Excellence requires a mindset in which the goal of the journey is clear, but unreachable. People committed to excellence recognize that they will continually pursue excellence. This requires the ability to articulate where you want to be; the ability to assess and evaluate current performance and identify opportunities for improvement; and the ability to close the gap between current and desired performance. People committed to excellence seek to clearly articulate their vision, honestly appraise their current performance, and develop a capacity for change.

At least two core competencies are closely related to the pursuit of excellence: assessment-driven continuous improvement and the management of change. Current performance must be evaluated based on data and opportunities for incremental and quantum-leap improvements identified. However, the process of change, particularly change to achieve quantum-leap improvements, is not usually straightforward and organizations and individuals do not embrace change naturally. Therefore, Coalition members must develop an ability to manage change.

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Last updated: October 22, 1998.

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