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Orientation Professionals Institute
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Orientation Professionals Institute

October 16, 23, 30, and November 6 from 11:00am-4:00pm EST

The 2020 Orientation Professionals Institute (OPI) takes place at the 2020 NODA Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN. OPI programming will take place over three days, October 25-27, 2020. You do not need to attend the conference in order to attend OPI.

Who We Serve

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.

"I attended OPI and had an incredible experience! As a new professional, I felt more assured in what I was doing well and discovered areas of my position with opportunities for realistic growth."

"The OPI experience was wonderful. Being able to meet and interact with people who are in a similar place as I am in the field was extremely helpful and rewarding."

Learning Outcomes and Curriculum

OPI 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.

Foundations of OTR

  • Participants will understand the history of OTR in higher education and the role of NODA in supporting the profession.
  • Participants will be able to articulate the importance of OTR programming on college campuses today and will understand how to effectively advocate for OTR work on their campus in order to promote organizational change.
  • Participants will learn foundational theories that underlay OTR programming.
  • Participants will be able to identify how the mission and goals of their orientation program work to support the mission of their institution and how to operationalize their office/program mission in their daily work.
  • Participants will be able to write at least one learning outcome for their orientation program.

Understanding OTR Populations

  • 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 special student populations and unique campus environments and how to fulfill program outcomes to meet these needs.
  • Participants will understand the social justice framework that guides our work in OTR programs.
  • Participants will reflect on their personal journey in understanding diversity 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.

OTR Functional Practices

  • Participants will be able to discuss best practices and innovative ideas for comprehensive orientation program 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.

Overarching OPI program outcomes

  • 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.

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.

Jeff Brown
Dean of Students,
American University

Michelle Nightingale
Director of Student Success,
Services, Tompkins Cortland
Community College

Jamie Mantooth
Executive Director of Enrollment
Services and Student Engagement,
University of Tennessee at Martin




1.866.521.NODA (6632) | 1200 S Washington Ave, Suite 215, Minneapolis, MN 55415