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Extended Orientation Institute: From the Perspective of the Program's Host

Thursday, January 25, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Extended Orientation Institute: From the Perspective of the Host
By: EOI 2017 Host Eddie Higginbotham IV

Wow! In the midst of the craziness that fall brings and the quick coming and going of the holiday season, I cannot even believe that EOI 2017 even happened, let alone process that it is over! As we submit final invoices and synthesize assessment feedback, what I can tell you is that it was a fun, educational, challenging, and rewarding process at all stages of the planning process. It’s a lot to ask a school or program to drop a conference in the middle of their already crazy extended orientation schedules (EOI is immediately after NODAC and in the midst of staff selection and participant recruitment, for us at least) but what I can tell you is that it is totally feasible with a good team and intentional pre-planning!


Along the way there were bumps in the road, committee member life events, and lots of troubleshooting for things outside of your control; but there were also huge successes and what I hope and think made EOI 2017 so great, the opportunities we took to critically reflect on past EOI experiences and explore: What can we do better? How can we honor and celebrate the good work of extended orientation as a niche field in OTR? How can we recognize and encourage innovation? How can we make this experiences as beneficial as possible for so many people with so many diverse needs (and a very loose definition and interpretation of what “extended orientation” is)? How do you plan for the majority and minority programs in attendance?


Not a small feat whatsoever despite what people might think, but I hope that you can say, especially for those who have attended multiple Institutes, that those guiding questions were answered and implemented in some way, shape, or form – from new educational tracks, to awards and showcases, more down time for networking, stepping in to present to fill in gaps, emphasis on providing utility to new attendees, and keeping old EOI traditions intact. I am proud of the innovation, critical thought, and expansion that the 2017 conference provided and hope that we were able to provide you with a great experience and set up the next Hosts for success.


I would like to thank and congratulate both the EO Network Planning Team and the On-Campus Planning Team for their dedication, willingness to try new things, and intention behind building this experience. Always being a practical person at heart (as much as I appreciate pie in the sky folks), I wanted to provide a few tips and tricks, as well as insights and knowledge for those thinking about hosting the Extended Orientation Institute (or any other NODA institute / event) in the future! 


  View EOI Photos  



  • DO IT! You will not regret it!
  • Think about what makes your school or program unique and how that can be used to bolster the program (tying in opportunities for people to see your campus and/or elements of your program that might be helpful for them to see and consider bringing back to their programs).
  • Think about your location and its proximity to a major airport and access to shuttles if it's not in the same city.


  • Think about the questions that we considered this year mentioned above.
  • Know that you will not and cannot please everyone and meet everyone's individual needs - there are things that are out of your control and processes that have to happen that others will not know about. 
  • With that said, try to cater to as many diverse audiences and program-types as possible!
  • Leave plenty of buffer time in your planning schedule to facilitate processes - but also know that things come up and sometimes deadlines have to be extended.
  • On that note, you don't control what people submit for educational content but do your best to be proactive in making sure that content is being submitted - this may require tapping individuals and suggesting specific topics. 
  • As much as you can, adjust your personal calendar/workload to allow enough time to put into planning.
  • Set clear expectations, communicate often, and hold other accountable.
  • Be prepared for lots of individual emails with specific questions/circumstances.
  • Trust and utilize the NODA Association Office. They are extremely talented, helpful, and committed to your success. 

At the event:

  • Plan so that your only role is to troubleshoot.
  • Have a good on-campus planning team with lots of volunteers!
  • Things that are unanticipated or out of your control will happen no matter how much you plan. Roll with the punches and keep a light heart! If anyone understands that, it's orientation professionals and you are surrounded by them.
  • Take moments to take it all in - it goes by REALLY quickly!

It was such a pleasure to get to serve NODA and celebrate the field of extended orientation in this special way!  My hope is that you would consider applying to host an Extended Orientation Institute or other event in the future! It will be one of the most rewarding professional experiences that you will have and, for those who may be hesitant, the support in doing so is second-to-none!



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