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Circle of Excellence
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Circle of Excellence is a recognition program established by the NODA Excellence Fund in 2018. This program recognizes individuals who have served as professionals, teachers, leaders, and scholars in the fields of orientation, transition, and retention in higher education.

Students, colleagues, friends or staff who want to recognize a NODA member can make nominations for the Circle of Excellence. Circle of Excellence honors individuals who: have served in leadership roles on the state, regional and national levels, are individuals who have helped advance NODA's mission within the field of higher education and have made significant contributions to the associations and its programs.

The Circle of Excellence Nominees are striving to raise $3,000 each for the NODA Excellence Fund, a fund established in 2017 to support NODA members through scholarships and educational opportunities.

2020 Nominees


Charlie Andrews
has been involved in the Orientation, Retention and Transition fields since 1994. He has mostly worked at mid-sized to large, public institutions. The majority of his experience has been at Florida International University, a large, public, urban University with over 50,000 students, where he currently serves as the Assistant Vice President for Academic & Career Success. In addition to his experience with orientation programming, he has also had several years of experience coordinating academic advising functions both during orientation and at the institutional level. Along those lines, his dissertation research focuses on the predicting and supporting the retention and success of first-year STEM majors. Dr. Andews served as the NODA President from 2004-2007.



Bonita Jacobs
is President of the University of North Georgia, as the 17th president of North Georgia College & State University, prior to its consolidation with Gainesville State College to become UNG. She is the University’s first woman president and only the second woman to lead one of the country’s six Senior Military Colleges. Previously, Dr. Jacobs served as Executive Director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, Vice President for Student Development and as a tenured professor of counseling and higher education at the University of North Texas. She also served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and as Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Development at Western Carolina University and in student development positions at Stephen F. Austin State University. Dr. Jacobs is a former editor of the NODA Journal of College Orientation and Transition, she served on three other NODA editorial boards and the NODA Board of Directors. She has been named by Georgia Trend magazine one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians" and by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the "Top Education Leaders in Atlanta" and to its list of “Women Who Mean Business.”



Andrene Kaiwi
is the Director of New Student & Transition Programs at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispio. She coordinates orientation and transition programs for new students and their family members. She is a part-time faculty member for the School of Education Graduate Program in Counseling & Guidance for Higher Education. In addition, she is currently the university liaison for Aware, Awake, Alive, a non-profit organization that educates college students about the signs of alcohol poisoning. Andrene has served NODA in many leadership roles, including annual conference host, board of directors, regional coordinator, OPI faculty and NODA president.

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