Facilitating Commencing Student
Success across the Lifecycle:
Strategic Student Orientation
Prof Keithia Wilson
Academic Leader Student
Success & Retention
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Acknowledgment to
Country
In the Spirit of Reconciliation
Following on from Sorry Day
I would like to acknowledge & honour
the Traditional Custodians of the land
that we are meeting on today at Logan,
and pay respect to their Elders past &
present
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Overview
Value & importance of Orientation
Understanding our students & their needs
A student lifecycle approach to Orientation
Understanding the student transition
process to university
Goals of Orientation
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Value & Importance of Orientation
At Griffith –
 Perceived effectiveness of Orientation
predicts  early student satisfaction
 Attendance at Orientation-Day predicts 
semester 1 GPA
SO........the quality of the Orientation
experience really matters to students & to
their success
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
We need to understand our
Institutional profiles
Compared to most other universities in Australia Griffith students:
Are more likely to be the ‘first in their family’ (FIF) to attend
University
* Brisbane
= 70% approx
* Logan
= 80% approx
* Gold Coast = 60% approx
FIF correlates with low SES & lower entry scores
More of our students work in paid employment & they work longer
hours in paid employment (reality of low SES/FIF students)
6th largest low SES student intake in Australia
3rd largest Indigenous student intake in Australia
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
What is Student Diversity?
Traditional Students
(TS)
medium-high SES
second generation
higher entry levels
full time
on-campus
Non-Traditional Students
(NTS)
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low SES
first-in-family
lower entry levels
full-time & working
not on-campus much
Indigenous
NESB, International, refugees
disability
home care responsibilities
from rural & remote settings
Mass Model
Elite Model
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
The national research
evidence shows….
Despite low access rates, the success rate
(or tendency to pass their year’s subjects)
of low SES students is 97% of the pass
rates of their medium & high SES peers &
has been stable over the last 5 years.
(Bradley et al, 2008:30)
This success rate is premised on the
provision of a range of support systems
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Low SES students need
support
Once students from disadvantaged backgrounds
have entered university, the likelihood of them
completing their course of study is broadly
similar to that of the general higher education
population. Often, however, they require
higher levels of support to succeed, including
financial assistance & greater academic support,
mentoring & counselling services.
(Transforming Australia’s Higher Education
System, Commonwealth of Australian, 2009:14)
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
What are assumed knowledge &
capabilities?
Academic/Cultural Capital – the “Hidden Curriculum”
1. Student role Understanding student role expectations &
successful student behaviour (realistic job appraisal,
conditions for success, study desk, computer access)
2. Performance Expectations Reading the academic
context to accurately determine performance
requirements regarding studying & assessment
3. Help-seeking Capacity for help-seeking without fear of
negative labelling (dumb/stupid)
4. Identity as a student Sense of belonging & personal fit
with university (overcome the “outsider within”
phenomenon – “A stranger in a foreign land”)
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
A LIFECYCLE APPROACH to
ORIENTATION
Orientation is best conceptualised as an ongoing
process (progressive view) rather than simply an
initial one-off event (front-loaded view)
Front-loaded options include –
• Student outreach & engagement before Orientation Day
• Substantive Orientation Day Program in first semester (&
second if mid-year intake)
Progressive options include –
• Progressive Orientation Program for the fist half of
semester 1
• & the early weeks of semester 2
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
One EXAMPLE of a LIFECYCLE
APPROACH to ORIENTATION
M-Day (Mail-out Day) – targeted, brief School mail-out in January
with invitation to E-Day & O-Day
 aimed at increasing attendance at O-Day
E-Day (Enrolment Day) – Enrolment drop-in centre for enrolling &
timetabling a week before O-Day
 aimed at increasing attendance at & engagement in O-Day
O-Day (Orientation Day) – 1 day Orientation Program in O-Week
with Peer Mentors + Timetabling & Enrolment Clinic at the end
 aimed at student engagement & commitment
ASP (Academic Success Program)/Common Time –
 an ongoing process for the first 7 weeks of semester 1 x 1 hour each
week + at least weeks 1-3 of semester 2
 bolted onto a core lecture with a series of just-in-time interventions
 linked to a structured Peer Mentoring Program
 aimed at building academic confidence & capability
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Understanding Student Transition –
the “5-Senses of Student Success”
Lizzio (2006)
Sense of
Connectedness
Sense of
Capability
Sense of
Student
Identity
Sense of
Resourcefulness
Sense of
Purpose
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
ORIENTATION PROGRAM….
3 META GOALS
Content goal – giving information
Process goal – organising series of
activities to enable connections, capability,
purpose, resourcefulness etc.
Meta-Process goal – activating student’s
capacity to begin self-managing their
university experience viz. self-regulation
Optimal Orientation involves a mix of
the 3 goals
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Sense of Connection
Building Connections –
 staff-student introductions of key staff –
FYL, SSAs, SAOs/PSOs, PCs/PDs, FY
Course Convenors, Tutors
 student-student connections through time
for small group discussions + peer
mentors
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Senses of Identity, Capability,
Resourcefulness & Purpose
Providing key information on the conditions for
academic success
Understanding the student role
Normalising and validating help-seeking
Asking students to commit to strategies for
academic success, including support
Assisting students to get on-line
Indicating expectations for academic success 
hope!
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
STUDENT PROCESS : What do we know from
research about success in first year?
Students are more likely to succeed if they:
Invest time on task  time spent studying each week is the strongest predictor
Regularly attend lectures & tutorials  increased learning opportunities also a
strong predictor
Develop a social network at uni  knowing one person’s name is a protective
factor against dropping out
Have a clear goal or purpose for attending uni (sense of vocational direction &
purpose especially)  a strong predictor of success & retention
Engage with the online environment  moderates success at university
Balance commitments (working on average not more than 15 hours a week in paid
employment)  making appropriate time for study predicts success
Have some sense of academic self-confidence  predicts success (self-efficacy &
an expectation of success is foundational to success in life)
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
STUDENT PROCESS : What do we know from
research about risk factors in first year?
Students are more likely to drop-out or fail if they:
Don’t develop a social network at university
Don’t have a sense of purpose (esp vocational purpose) in their
degree
Don’t regularly attend lectures & tutorials
(with the exception of a small group of young, very intellectually
bright males)
Don’t have access to or engage with the online environment
Do work more than 25 hours per week while studying full time
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
STUDENT PROCESS : What do we know from
research about risk factors in first year?
Students are more likely to not engage and drop-out if they:
Are the ‘first in their family’ to attend university (low academic/
social capital)
Are a member of a minority or disadvantaged group (e.g.,
Indigenous, rural, disability, refugee, international, ESL, primary
caregiver in family, single parent)
Given that these factors are out of the control of our commencing
students, it is important not to express these as risk factors, but
rather to discuss the need to “build academic capital” by accessing
available systems resources early & to provide that info on O-Day.
With FIF, I ask them to self-identify (70%), followed by a frank
discussion re “building academic capital” & accessing School &
university level support, but I do not ask the other groups to selfidentify in Orientation.
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
PRACTICE REFLECTION
Take time to consider:
What is the balance in your current
Orientation process between :
 Giving information
 Running activities
 Enabling student’s sense of belonging & selfmanagement
 Adopting a student lifecycle approach
 How might these frameworks inform your
future approach to Orientation?
Prof Keithia Wilson ALTC National
Fellow
Download

Orientation Best Practice Principles ( PPT 782k)