Assessment

Mission

The mission of Student Orientation and Transition Services is to assist students and parents with the transition to college, and to help students navigate breaks in their education by facilitating a smooth leave of absence. Specifically, the office seeks to educate students about educational opportunities and student responsibilities, and to integrate students into the intellectual, cultural, and social atmosphere of Utah State University.

Goals and Learning Outcomes

The SOTS office works to provide orientation and transition programs that meet the needs of students, fulfill this mission of the institution, and keep up with current trends and needs. Goals are developed in conjunction with the foundational documents listed below, and also align with the mission and vision of The Division of Student Affairs, as evidenced in the assessment plan below.

  1. Provide a comprehensive orientation program that delivers specific and timely information about educational opportunities and student responsibilities.
  2. Provide an accessible orientation and transition, using universal design practices.
  3. Collaborate in the development, promotion, and execution of a comprehensive first-year experience course: USU 1010 University Connections.
  4. Provide information and advising for students who are deferring admission or taking a leave of absence.
  5. Communicate clearly with parents of students, helping them understand available resources and services.
  6. Coordinate transition programs such as Aggie Passport, peer mentoring, and Homegrown Aggies to help incoming students integrate into the intellectual, cultural, and social atmosphere of Utah State University.
  7. Maintain high customer service standards via a thoroughly trained workforce of current students, (A-Team and Peer Mentors).

Foundational Documents

Student Orientation and Transition Services uses the CAS standards and NODA professional competencies to guide programming and assessment.

  1. Council for Academic Standards (CAS): Standards for Orientation Programs and Standards for Parent and Family Programs.
  2. Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA) Core Competencies.

As a department within the Division of Student Affairs, SOTS abides by the professional competencies established by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

Plan/Matrix

Program/Goal Assessment Tool (Criteria) Data Source Documentation Timeline Responsible Persons
New Student Orientation
Work with other departments to refine orientation processes for students beginning at USU-Eastern, Statewide Campuses, and online.
Program data Orientation reporting tool, Argos Fall 2018 Jake V.
New Student Orientation
Increase student comprehension by refining orientation pages according to 2017 survey data.
Student survey Orientation survey Summer 2018 Jake V.
New Student Orientation
Increase the number of students who complete module 5 by 50%.
Program data Orientation reporting tool Fall 2018 Jake V.
New Student Orientation
Assess international student arrival and orientation.
Student survey Orientation survey Fall 2018 Kylee H.
USU 1010 Connections
Grow Connections enrollment to 64% of the freshman class.
Course enrollment data Argos Fall 2018 Lisa H.
Leave of Absence/Deferral
Assess and update leave of absence and deferral processes.
Student data Argos Fall 2018 Nate J.
Aggie Passport
Assess retention of Aggie Passport participants.
Civitas Card swipes at events Fall 2018 Nate J.
A-Team and Connections Peer Mentors
Assess new customer service training.
Survey A-Team and Mentors Fall 2018 Lisa H.

2016-2017

Program/Goal Assessment Tool (Criteria) Data Source Documentation Timeline Responsible Persons
New Student Orientation
Implement new phased, 5-module orientation.
Program data Orientation reporting tool, Argos Fall 2017 Jake V.
New Student Orientation
Rework orientation process to separate orientation functions from registration functions, eliminating use of the course cluster website.
Registration data, student survey Student survey, Argos Summer 2017 Jake V.
USU 1010 Connections
Add new one-word response questions to course survey to gauge student satisfaction.
AAA Course Survey Course Survey, Tableau Annually in the winter Lisa H.
USU 1010 Connections
Increase visibility of the Connections Luminary among community members.
Social media stats Facebook and Instagram Fall 2017 Kylee H.
Parent Programs
Assess new parent handbook
Survey Parent orientation survey Fall 2017 Nate J.
Aggie Passport
Grow participation in the program by at least 100% by implementing a card swiping system rather than a physical stamping system.
Stamping data Card swipes at events Fall 2017 Nate J.

Results

Due to assessment results, the following changes were implemented for 2017 and 2018:

  • Changed the Aggie Passport program so students can swipe their ID card for credit rather than having to remember to take their passport booklet.
  • Modified the on-campus orientation program to be a phased, five-module orientation that addresses registration and orientation items separately.
  • Modified the Connections evaluation to better assess student satisfaction.
  • Implemented a new customer service training for the 2018 A-Team training class.
  • Modified the international student orientation arrival process and assigned specific A-Team members to the international team.
  • Adjusted parent orientation presentations and moved the orientation to a location with round tables to facilitate discussion.
  • Implemented several additional facebook live sessions for registration for spring 2018 students.
  • Updated the assessment tool for 2018 international orientation.
  • Updating the 2018 leave of absence and deferral website to better inform students of the leave process.
  • Centralizing some presentation in Aggie Orientation, covering them as a group rather than in small groups with A-Team members.
  • Modifying the 2018 A-Team training class curriculum.

Outcomes Data

Connections attendance dipped in 2017, likely because of the new registration system where students register on their own as opposed to registering at a computer with an A-team or advisor present. As a result, we are implementing some new methods to increase registration for 2018.

connections attendance from 2010 to 2017 for Spring semesters
connections attendance from 2010 to 2017 for Fall semesters

Parent Orientation attendance continues to rise on the whole. Parent satisfaction with the overall orientation program remains high, as indicated in the Parent Orientation Survey Report.

parent orientation attendance from 2010 to 2017 for Spring semesters
parent orientation attendance from 2010 to 2017 for Fall semesters

In evaluating what topics students were still concerned about after SOAR and Aggie Orientation, we determined that on the whole, Aggie Orientation and the accompanying online modules were better at alleviating student concerns. Additional attention will be given to financial aid, scholarships, and textbooks in 2018.

percentage of students concerned with topics comparison 2016 and 2017

Registration changes for first-year students on the Logan campus did not have much of an impact on the number of overall credits first-year students took during their first semester. This alleviates a fear we had that students would not take a full credit load when registering by themselves.

logan first-year student average credit hours

Fewer students completed all five modules in 2017 than we anticipated. As a result, we retooled our communication plan for 2018. We anticipated that most parents were completing modules 1 and 2 in order to help their students register (largely for students on leave), and the small number completing all five modules verifies this.

orientation module completion by logan first-year students summer and fall 2017
orientation module completion by logan transfer students summer and fall 2017
orientation module completion by parents summer and fall 2017

The videos for the 2017 Luminary reached a combined 79,000 views on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Due to the success of the videos, particularly the full version, we plan on using video as a method of promotion in 2018.

Luminary 2017 Teaser Video on Social Media
Interaction Facebook Twitter
Views 15906 1184
Likes 1040 41
Shares/Retweets 146 7
Comments 201 1

Participation in the Aggie Passport had decreased in the past few years, so we switched to a new method of advertising events and verifying attendance. This resulted in a dramatic increase in students receiving awards.

parent orientation attendance from 2010 to 2017 for Spring semesters

International Orientation assessment for 2016 and 2017 shows an improvement in 2017, with marked improvements in overall satisfaction with the arrival and orientation process.