The Institute is designed to serve new full-time professional staff who are responsible for orientation programming and possess less than 4 years of total professional experience.

The Institute is not open to graduate or undergraduate students. We recognize that many professionals have significant professional experience in higher education and may have recently become responsible for orientation programs on their campus, but our primary goal is to serve emerging professionals in the field.

Save the Date:

November 9-11, 2024

Learning Outcomes and Curriculum

The curriculum for the Orientation Professionals Institute (OPI) was developed and is currently guided by the standards set forth by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). The curriculum serves as a roadmap for professionals new to the field of orientation, transition, and retention (OTR) over a two-and-a-half-day institute. The OPI curriculum is framed to help new professionals gain an understanding of the foundations of OTR work, the student populations whom OTR programs serve, and the functional best practices that help to create effective OTR programs. The primary focus of OPI is on new student orientation and the initial transition to the institution as one of the first and foundational steps in the student transition experience which ultimately promotes student retention.

Below are the 2023 OPI learning outcomes and some may be subject to change:

  • Participants will be able to discuss best practices and innovative ideas for comprehensive orientation program planning addressing inclusivity and equity throughout planning.  
  • Participants will be able to identify new ideas for effective staffing, leadership development, and training practices on their campus.
  • Participants will be able to articulate the importance of using evaluation and assessment measures to make data informed decisions in their OTR programmatic initiatives.
  • Participants will be able to identify the influence campus politics, collaboration, finances, and technology have on OTR program effectiveness.
  • Participants will be able to identify key characteristics and trends within the higher education landscape and the students, parents, and family populations served by OTR programs.
  • Participants will reflect upon the needs of student populations and unique campus environments and how to fulfill program outcomes to meet these needs.
  • Participants will understand how diversity, equity and inclusion principles guide our work in OTR programs. 
  • Participants will reflect on their own identity as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the dynamics on their home campus, and will commit to educating and orienting others through fair, equitable, and inclusive practices.
  • Participants will be able to discuss best practices and innovative ideas for comprehensive orientation program planning addressing inclusivity and equity throughout planning.  
  • Participants will be able to identify new ideas for effective staffing, leadership development, and training practices on their campus.
  • Participants will be able to articulate the importance of using evaluation and assessment measures to make data informed decisions in their OTR programmatic initiatives.
  • Participants will be able to identify the influence campus politics, collaboration, finances, and technology have on OTR program effectiveness.
  • Participants will network with colleagues to learn about one another and OTR programs.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least one personal and one professional resource available to assist in their development as a student affairs professional.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two resources and/or strategies to enhance the orientation programs on their campus.
  • Participants will be able to identify involvement opportunities within NODA.
  • Participants will be knowledgeable of additional resources beyond OPI that guide the work of OTR including but not limited to the NODA Statement of Non-Discrimination and Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice Commitment, NODA Indigenous Land Acknowledgement and other scholarly resources.  

Institute Faculty

OPI is staffed by outstanding faculty with extensive student affairs experience including a wide variety of orientation and other administrative experiences. Faculty members have served in roles at diverse types of institutions including all sizes, public, private, community colleges, and special interest institutions. Additionally, each faculty member has held leadership positions within NODA. Regardless of the type of institution you represent, you will have ample opportunity to interact with faculty, other NODA leadership, and participants who share common professional interests and challenges.

Shea Kidd Brown
Lead Faculty
Vice President for Campus Life
Wake Forest University

Beth Lingren Clark
Associate Vice Provost for Retention and Transition Programs
University of Minnesota,
Twin Cities

Abbey Mikesell
Director of Undergraduate Advising
Purdue University, Daniels School of Business

Michelle Nightingale
Associate Dean of Student
Success and Retention,
Tompkins Cortland Community College

Quincy Spencer
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement
University of Arkansas

Shelton Lewis
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions – New Student Orientation and Events
Texas State University

Carolina Nutt
Senior Director of Student Success – COMPASS Student Experience
University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus