Orientation head staff take gold at regional conference
Members of New Student Orientation and Director of New Student & Transition Programs present and compete at the National Orientation Directors Organization (NODA) Region VI conference.
New Student Orientation’s members of head staff, accompanied by Kasey Harvill, Director of New Student & Transition Programs, and Caitlin Williams, graduate intern, attended the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW) on March 11-13, 2016. Hosted at East Carolina University, SROW is the regional conference of the NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition, & Retention in Higher Education. While there, Elon students presented and attended educational sessions, competed in a case study competition, and many other activities centered on deepening their understanding and practice in areas of student development theory, team dynamics, leadership development, and transitioning new students to and through the institution.
Four of the head staff members, Doug Del Pizzo (’17), Gabrielle Vance (’18), Kyle Lynch (’17), and Nicky Kratzer (’17), presented on volunteer motivation within Elon’s orientation leader recruitment, selection, training, and implementation. Using research on relevant literature in combination with assessments of current orientation leaders as well as other North Carolina schools’ practices, they were able to share Elon’s structure and motivation theories with other undergraduate students, graduate students, and varied-level professionals. The group led an interactive session by sharing case studies, developed from the research of other regional institutions with varying size schools and structures, which allowed the audience a chance to implement the knowledge presented. Also presented were the results of an adapted version of the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) Survey to target why members of our own Head Staff volunteer for Orientation.
Elon was represented in both the undergraduate and graduate level case study competitions. Head staff members, Abigail Dalton (’17) and Patrick Achey (‘17), were awarded first place for their Problem Solving skills in the Undergraduate Case Study Competition. Graduate intern, Cait Williams, was awarded 1 for her Problem-Solving in the Graduate Case Study Competition. The competitions are designed to give participants a scenario where they are required to develop solutions grounded in relevant literature, student development theory, and best practices—all within a span of 24 hours, from when they receive the case to when they must present to a panel of judges. In preparation, Achey and Dalton met two-three hours a night for two weeks prior to the conference and Williams reviewed and shared student development theory from her graduate program to deepen their knowledge of various theories and relevant literature. By using an example case study available, they did a mock presentation for Harvill and received guidance and feedback to inform their practice at the conference. Their extensive preparation and dedication set them up to offer multiple creative solutions for every problem within the case study.
Harvill presented on the transition and retention of graduate students and new professionals in the field of higher education, addressing the alarming attrition rate of new professionals within their first five years in the field of student affairs. Through an interactive-theming exercise, a review of relevant literature, and a look at the first year as a professional through the lens of NASPA’s “Beginning your Journey: NASPA’s Guide for New Professionals in Student Affairs,” Harvill assisted audience members in developing strategies for success transitioning into the first year and beyond.
Elon also took home the first place award for Most School Spirit in the Small Delegation category for their courteousness to others, professionalism in sessions, and positive attitude throughout the conference. The Office of New Student & Transition Programs is very proud of all of our Orientation Staff for time, energy, and effort they dedicated to positively representing Elon and deepening their learning and practice in the fields of orientation, transition, and retention.