Orientation: A Team Approach
O-Team Vigorous Training to Help Incoming Students
The 2012 summer orientation season has come to close. Through numerous sessions along with the dedication of campus partners, university colleges and a 35-member student orientation staff, UCF’s orientation connected incoming students and their families to the UCF community. During the 2012 orientation season, this group helped to orient close to 6,150 FTIC students, 6,700 transfer students and nearly 8,050 family members.
One of the core components of the program is the orientation student team, or better known as the O-Team. These student leaders started their journey in fall 2011. They endured a group interview and two individual interviews to rise above the pool of 120 applicants. Once the team was selected, their training began with a course that focused on peer education skills needed to work with each other, incoming students and family members. Sixteen weeks covering topics of communication, diversity, student development theory, personality styles and leadership theory gave them an introduction to what it means to work with UCF’s incoming population.
The students developed a tight-knit team during the annual O-Team retreat, Southern Regional Orientation Workshop conference and dance practices. As the semester came to a close, the team transitioned into the Libra community and participated in a two-week training period in May. During that time, the O-Teamers communicated with campus departments and learned the logistics of working an orientation session, how to facilitate difficult conversations, field difficult questions and how to advise students from university colleges and the Office of First Year Advising and Exploration.
Once May training was completed the orientation sessions began. This year, FYE and campus partners facilitated 16 two-day FTIC orientation sessions and 11 one-day transfer orientations. During the FTIC orientations, O-Team members facilitated small groups with 20 students, assisted FYE with academic advising, introduced students to diversity and social responsibility, and started the conversations about academic and personal success. Also during these sessions, six to seven O-Team members worked with the incoming family population. The O-Team members hosted small groups and answered general questions about the presentations given by representatives from over 23 campus departments.
During orientations for transfer students, the O-Team member’s roles were smaller and their focus was to assist college advisors during academic advising and registration. The transfer sessions this year went through a few small changes to highlight the resources available for transfer student success. FYE worked with the Transfer and Transition Services office, which presents a 45-minute presentation on how to successfully transition into UCF and tips and tricks to navigate that transition. This year, the transfer orientations required all students to complete an online virtual component through Webcourses. This allowed transfer students to have an extra hour with their colleges during the mandatory on-campus session. FYE had also partnered with the Registrar’s Office and the Veteran Academic Resource Center to create a veteran specific presentation to ensure veterans and their dependents understood the benefits and services available to them. During the transfer orientation, family members were also treated to presentations from over 10 campus departments with the opportunity to meet with more during lunch.
Overall, the 2012 summer orientation was a success which derives from the dedication of the O-Team student staff, enthusiastic first-year and college advisors, and the support of SDES departments and UCF colleges. “Thank you to all who have been a part of this experience,” said Josh Wheeler, assistant director for FYE. “Orientation would not be a success without you.”
FYE is an office in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.