Western Carolina University Program Assessment Plan Orientation Programs Assessment Plan for 2007- 2008 Tammy Haskett, Director Mission Statement The mission of the orientation program is to assist new students in their transition to the university through programming designed to address the concerns of the student and the student's immediate family support groups such as parents, guardians, spouses, significant others and children. The orientation program addresses the specific needs and concerns of our diverse student population as well as the critical issues facing the world community today; multiculturalism, civility, personal responsibility and personal health and safety issues through activities and programs designed to promote active learning experiences. Statement on Alignment of Program Mission w/ University and/or Division Mission: In support of the mission of the university, the orientation program will be structured such that students will consider their entire experience at Western Carolina University, including student clubs/organizations, service learning, internships, etc. as a learning opportunity that will shape their future. Orientation will provide the introduction to this intentional learning concept and opportunities through our University Academic Experience, their advising sessions and one-on-one meetings with Orientation Counselors. Program Goals/Objectives: *Reduce anxiety about the transition to the collegiate life. *Assist students in gaining a clearer understanding of the necessity for students to take ownership in their educational process. *Provide a comprehensive view of the personal and financial costs of attending college. *Promote the numerous student activities and student services available on campus. *Provide an efficient and extensive academic advising session. *Complete a class schedule and provide appropriate information for the student to declare a chosen major. Western Carolina University Program Assessment Plan Orientation Programs Assessment Plan for 2007- 2008 Intended Outcome Curricular and/or Co-Curricular Experiences Method(s) of Assessment Students will receive pertinent information in a timely fashion related to the registration process, catwalk, catcards, residential living, and other programs and services This information will be disseminated in a straightforward and consistent manner. In accordance with an established university informational-packet mailing timeline, orientation programs will send out informational brochures to all students admitted to the university for each semester. Once the student has received the information packet and made a decision as to which orientation session would best suit their needs and best fit their schedule, orientation programs will send out a confirmation letter via email or traditional mail. This confirmation letter will reiterate the steps a student needs to take prior to orientation, (immunizations, vehicle registration, submission of photo to the CatCard office, et cetera). Once on campus for orientation, further assistance will be given by university personnel to students and family members in the informational sessions and through follow-up avenues identified on the orientation website, in the student handbooks and family guides given at check in. This will insure that prospective students and those closest to them will not be given conflicting or confusing information. This will ease the anxiety inherent in the transition to college life, and will show the university in a positive light. The orientation program staff will review parent and student evaluations to gauge how prospective students and their family members perceived the information delivered to them via the informational packets, confirmations and the orientation sessions. Students will obtain their first class schedule. During the latter half of orientation, (second day or late evening of one-day intensive sessions) students will be presented with a schedule based on their Catwalk preferences. (Catwalk is an online portal that acquaints new students with Western Carolina University’s liberal studies program and provides them with an opportunity to declare a major.) The student will review the schedule and speak to an academic advisor about their questions and concerns. Departmental meetings provide students with an opportunity to meet with representatives of their chosen field of study. Therefore, students will be able to evaluate their schedule based on the information presented to them at the departmental meetings by university faculty. The end result will be a well-advised student equipped with a schedule tailored to their tastes and needs. Orientation program staff will review registration processes and assist students in schedule changes resulting in their initial class schedule. During the first semester, students will receive timely and accurate updates from their orientation counselor on academic and co-curricular activities. Interaction between orientation and new students will begin with the orientation registration process. Once a student has registered for an orientation session, the orientation office will send them a confirmation letter via email or traditional mail that highlights the steps that need to be taken before their orientation session. At their orientation session, each student (first-year freshmen) will be assigned an orientation counselor. It is the duty of this counselor to guide the students through the orientation process and provide them with a personal contact point. Once the semester has begun, a student’s assigned orientation counselor keeps in contact with the student, providing them with support and pertinent information of an academic and co-curricular nature throughout their first semester. To measure the effectiveness of our student contact, each orientation counselor is required to submit a series of reports staggered throughout the fall semester. The first report will coincide with welcome week and will detail how students are adjusting to collegiate life. The second report will focus in on the student’s academic and cocurricular activities as they find their niche. The third will continue on the themes of the first two with special emphasis on academics as deadlines loom. The fourth report, via the orientation counselors, is a “wrap-up” report from the first year students that sums up their experiences during their first semester. Western Carolina University Program Assessment Plan Orientation Programs Assessment Plan for 2007- 2008 Intended Outcome Curricular and/or Co-Curricular Experiences Method(s) of Assessment Orientation will begin to foster student development and intellectual growth such as effective communication, realistic self appraisal, independence, collaboration and career goal setting. Students will use the information provided at orientation sessions to make an informed decision about their academic future. The CatWalk process and advising sessions will help students to understand Western Carolina University’s liberal studies requirements and how students can fashion their academic plan to facilitate their graduation and post-graduation goals. Students will be encouraged to develop a plan for their future that takes into account how their curricular and co-curricular decisions of today effect their tomorrow. This self-appraisal will help student s to articulate their personal goals, as they formulate an academic plan that will help them efficiently and successfully reach that goal. Orientation programs will introduce prospective students to the idea of synthesis and explain how the educational briefcase will help them build for their future. Synthesis encourages students to think about their entire college experience, curricular and co-curricular, as one cohesive whole that will better prepare them for the future. Students will be asked to compile an “education briefcase,” an online portal that stores their curricular and co-curricular activities. Following orientation, students will continue updating their online briefcase working closely with advisors and departmental representatives. Orientation counselors will survey students through one-on-one conversations to ascertain the success of these portfolios.