Team 7 (narrated ppt)

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  • Team 7, which consists of Joy Griffin, Sandra Mayfield, Scott Carnicom, Mike Racy, and Arturo Villanueva Gonzalez, examined the new student orientation program at the IVY Technical Community College system of Indiana.
  • Ivy Technical Community College of Indiana was founded in 1963 and has grown into a statewide, comprehensive community college with 14 regional campuses, 30 degree-granting campuses, and nearly 100 course delivery sites. It is Indiana’s largest post-secondary institution, serving approximately 200,00 individuals system-wide annually. In 2009, IVY Tech joined the Achieving the Dream (AtD) initiative, a collaborate effort among over 100 community colleges to improve student success ( Additionally, around the same time, IVY Tech developed a strategic plan entitled “Accelerating Greatness”. This plan consists of four data-driven strategies, with strategy 1 (Ensure the Students Achieve their Educational Goals) focusing on many of the AtD initiatives. One way in which IVY Tech, along with many of its AtD partners, is working to improve student success is through a variety of programs designed to improve the first-year experience of entering students and thus improve its overall retention and graduation rates. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the 3-year graduation rate for IVY Tech was 8.0% and the 6-year graduation rate was 18.6% (Metrics; The system hopes to increase those levels to 15% and 18.8%, respectively, for the 2011-2012 academic year and 20% and 19% for the 2012-2013 academic year. To help improve student success and persistence, IVY Tech is in the midst of creating a mandatory system-wide student orientation program led by intervention team co-champions Sabrina Pennington and Nina Storey. The original charge to the student orientation intervention team was to identify the criteria for which students this orientation would be mandatory. Additionally, they were to design common content and a common template for use at multiple locations. To date, this team has designed an orientation that is mandatory for all new, first-time degree seeking students. The common template for orientation is a PowerPoint presentation that covers financial aid, the business office, course registration, the learning resource center, disability services, advising, etc… This template is meant to be administered system-wide, with a single slide for any location specific information. Typically, new students attend orientation in person and view the common slide presentation. The team is currently working to make the presentation and thus orientation available online system wide. Currently, some campuses are testing individual online orientations, but the system hopes to move in the direction of a common online orientation. Students also take placement tests during orientation and the intervention team is working to standardize the timing of those tests. In addition to tracking graduation rates, the intervention team has also developed a test to gauge student learning during orientation. While students are not required to meet a minimum score in order to successfully complete orientation, the difference between the pre and post tests should allow the team to assess changes in student understanding as a result of the orientation process. This data will also be useful in tailoring future orientations.
  • Ivy Tech Orientation Interviews In order to better understand the orientation process, team 7 conducted interviews. Seven names of IVY tech community members were submitted to group 7 for potential interviewing about the Student Orientation experiences. A total of five persons were interviewed by telephone from November 2 through November 8, including 2 staff members and 3 students. Two students were unable to be contacted.  Three campuses were represented in the interviews: the Central Indiana Region in Indianapolis (1), Fort Wayne (3), and Richmond (1). The three students who were interviewedparticipated in orientation within the last year. Two students completed the orientation online, and one completed it in a face-to-face meeting with the staff. Two students currently are classified as freshmen, and one is classified as a sophomore. The staff members had participated in orientations as recently as the day of the telephone interview. One staff member was the Director of Student Life, Leadership, and Development; and the other staff member was the Lead Assistant Director of New Student Orientation. Usefulness of Orientations Students. All 3 students expressed that the orientations were useful to them because they provided clear explanations of the process and about what to expect at Ivy Tech. All students agreed that the mandatory completion of the orientation was communicated well throughout the student body. Staff. Both staff agreed that the orientations were helpful to the students as evidenced by the increase from poor attendance at voluntary orientation events to 100% participation after mandatory participation was required. The Fort Wayne campus also has anecdotal reports that there was a decrease in the number of call-backs to advisors from students asking for a repeat of specific information. 
  • Liked Most about the Orientation Students. The interviews revealed some strengths with both formats of the mandatory orientation sessions. The students who completedorientation online commented that they greatly liked the flexibility and convenience of this approach. The student who completed the orientation face-to-face liked the personal contact because it allowed him to put a face with a name. Staff. The staff liked that the orientation is now mandatory rather than optional. With the mandatory procedure, attendance now is 100%, since a hold is placed on the student’s registration until all placement exams (COMPASS Math, Writing, Reading) and the orientation are completed. They also noted that seem to be receiving fewer phone calls from students regarding information already covered in the orientation session.  
  • Liked Least about the Orientation Students. The interviews also revealed some concerns with the new orientation approach. The student who participated in the on-site orientation was critical of its rushed pace, indicating that there insufficient time to issues specific to his major course of study. A student who took the online orientation session was surprised and frustrated that she was still required to go to campus to meet an advisor, thus delaying her registration and preventing her from taking her preferred courses.  Staff. The staff reported that the new orientation requires considerable preparation and consumes at least a third of their time. Furthermore, the staff expressed frustration with the large number of students who wait until the last minute to complete orientation on-site, exceeding the capacity of the facilities and of staff members. Recommendations of Students and Staff Students. Based on their orientation experience, the students made the following suggestions:1. Allow sufficient time to ask additional questions particularly about the major requirements.2. Provide additional staff contact information so that students know who to speak to as issues arise later in the academic year.3. Provide the advising session online immediately after students complete the online orientation, rather than having them wait to schedule a separate appointment on campus with the advisor. Staff. The staff members suggested that in regions where students still attend the orientation in person, that allout-of-state students immediately be required to use an online orientation rather than a face-to-face format, thereby reducing the number of last-minute orientations on site.The staff also suggested that outside professionals be hired to design a common, user-friendly, interactive online orientation website.           
  • In addition to interviewing participants in this specific orientation process, our group also examined national trends. We are entering a new era with high level of uncertainty and yet, opportunity. The number of traditional aged students is decreasing while competition for those students in increasing. However, the number of low SES and minority students is increasing. Additionally, public support of higher education is dwindling while accountability is rising. Research shows that disparities in graduation and time to degree are related to numerous factors including SES, race, & ethnicity. Length of time to degree remains a major problem. The characteristics of community colleges with high student success and retention include: a student centered culture that emphasizes personal attention, early engagement in campus life, culturally sensitive leaders who understand student’s backgrounds. clearly structured degree pathwaysknowledgeable financial and academic advisors and Multiple types of student orientation sessions differentiated by age or other student subgroups.
  • Our examination of both IVY tech and best practices across the nation have led us to make the following recommendations. Use of technology and resources to develop an online orientation program. Given IVY tech’s size, the best way to deliver a consistent message about important information to a large audience is by building an online delivery system. The new online Student Orientation Program that each Ivy Tech region will be required to use is scheduled for completion in Spring 2012. This new streamlined, high-tech delivery tool could be referenced as Ivy Tech’s “Orient Express.” We suggest that at least one staff member and at least one student involved in the current Ivy Tech orientation program be involved in testing the new online program to review content, format, and delivery systems before it is finalized.Second, we suggest developing a Facebook page for new student orientation, where students can interact, socialize and ask questions. The use of social media could allow for acommunity for new students to share information and exchange ideas,an important component for new students following the formal orientation program.Next, we suggest integrating the Ivy Tech Website (e.g, new students tab) with content from the online orientation program. Again, another tool that students can access after the formal orientation will be important to ensure that students have a smooth transition to Ivy Tech.
  • Next, we recommend using students as peer mentors in the orientation program. It is important to involve current students in the orientation process in a meaningful way. New students will discover important mentors(and possible friendships that should assist with increasing retention rates. It might be important to designate these student mentors as ‘Ivy Tech Ambassadors’ to give them official recognition.Next, we recommend creating a recognition program for students who have completed orientation, for example providing t-shirts. Students love T-shirts and such a public recognition of the orientation will help reinforce the importance of this program to Ivy Tech’s student-centered faculty and administration.We also recommend developing a supplemental orientation program such as a Freshmen camp or retreat for those students who need more information after the online orientation is completed. This would be a more intense and advanced exploration of campus and all its resources to provide students with a deeper understanding of Ivy Tech.
  • Our team also humbly suggests sequencing the new student orientation to occur after the compass placement test. Our review of community college new-student orientation programs associated with Achieving the Dream, demonstrate a consistent sequencing of the orientation after the placement test is completed and before class registration begins.Next, we recommend that online advising be developed. Ivy Tech should also consider providing online advising for the first semester of classes after a student has completed the new student online orientation program.We also suggest that orientation content be driven by direct student feedback. Following each orientation, a survey should be administered that asks the students to rate their knowledge about various topics covered prior to and following the session. This data could be used to enhance future orientations.Finally, we recommend that Ivy Tech develop an assessment tool to examine the effect of mandatory orientation on college retention. All students who attended the newly designed orientation should be tracked in terms of GPA, persistence and retention and compared to students before 2010, when orientations became mandatory. Differences should also be studied from region to region. Retention information could include tracking the number of credits completed by the end of the freshman year to determine if the student has completed a sufficient number of hours to be classified as a sophomore.  
  • Because the new student orientation is recent development, the team thinks it is very important to communicate its essential core and importance to the entire community. To optimize effectiveness and thus student retention, the NSO process must a shared responsibility of the entire community, not just the administration. Faculty and staff need to be included. This is also an opportunity to reiterate and remind the community of IVY Tech’s mission and vision and how the NSO supports the overall strategic plan. While the NSO is only a one day intervention, it will actually take more than than a single day to fully orient new students to their complex responsibilities at IVY Tech. This more holistic attitude about orientation will again depend on faculty and staff buy-in. Thus our team recommends the following approaches to improving communication about the NSO: Start cabinet meetings with an update of the NSO process and its benefits. Post on the web site of IVY Tech a statement about the NSO’s importance and main content. Also consider posting a video describing the importance of the NSO process. Create opportunities for community feedback. Encourage the communityto spread the word about the benefits of this program.These ideas would help increase the IVY Tech community’s of this important process.


  • 1. IVY Tech – StudentOrientation ProgramTeam 7: Joy Griffin, Sandra Mayfield, Scott Carnicom, MikeRacy, Arturo Villanueva GonzalezIt should be noted that this presentation was completed using apple’s OS X, which records narrations using an audio format incompatible with windows. Because of this cross platform compatibility issue, our group, opted for a single narrator
  • 2. IVY Tech’s Orientation• Mandatory for all new students.• A common PowerPoint presentation is used system-wide covering financial aid, course registration, advising, etc…• System-wide online orientation under development.• Students also take placement tests during orientation.• Intervention team has also designed pre/post tests to assess learning from orientation.
  • 3. Interviews• Three students interviewed by phone • 2 freshman and 1 sophomore • 2 from the Fort Wayne campus and 1 from Richmond campus• Two staff interviewed by phone • 1 from Fort Wayne (Director of Student Life, Leadership, and Development • 1 from Central Indiana, Indianapolis (Lead Assistant Director of New Student Orientation • All interviewees agreed: Orientation very helpful • Informative • Good overview of what to expect at Ivy
  • 4. Interviews - Strengths • Students who took online version liked its convenience • Student who completed orientation on-site enjoyed meeting staff members • Staff liked that orientation is mandatory • A hold is placed on student’s registration until orientation completed. • Fewer calls to advisors from students seeking information covered in orientation
  • 5. Interviews – Areas for Improvement • On-site session too rushed • No chance to ask questions about specific majors or programs • Online advising did not immediately follow online orientation • Requires major time commitment from staff • Too many students wait until last minute for on-site orientation causing space and staff shortages.
  • 6. Orientation – National Trends• Pool of traditional students is decreasing, but low income, ethnic minority, & first generation students in greater numbers.• Ability of states to support education is declining• Best practices: student centered culture, early engagement, cultural sensitivity, clear degree pathways, good advising, & multiple students orientation formats.
  • 7. Recommendations - Technical• The new Ivy Tech online student orientation program (e.g., The “Orient Express”) should be mandatory for all students entering Ivy Tech for the first time.• Ivy Tech should develop an Orientation Facebook page to support post orientation student interaction.• Ivy Tech should integrate content from the new online orientation program to a new student information tab on the Ivy Tech website.
  • 8. Recommendations - Implementation• Ivy Tech should require that each region involve current students in the new student orientation program (e.g., new student ambassadors).• New Ivy Tech students should receive something to recognize that they have completed the online orientation program (e.g., Orient Express T-shirts).• Ivy Tech should consider developing a more expansive orientation program for those students that may need a little more information.
  • 9. Recommendations - Assessment• New Student Orientation should be sequenced after the COMPASS placement test.• Ivy Tech should consider developing an online advising system that would be used following the student’s completion of the orientation program.• Student feedback should be gathered by Ivy Tech following each orientation cycle.• Ivy Tech should develop an assessment tool to measure the effectiveness of its orientation program as it relates to student retention.
  • 10. Communication Plan• Orientation process must be a shared responsibility of the entire community and system.• Post a statement and video on the web site about the importance of the NSO and proposed changes. Highlight how the NSO underscores the mission of the institution.• Recommendations: ask senior leaders to spread the word; post info and video to website; create feedback opportunities; & encourage the community to spread the word.