First Year Experience Graduate Assistant Jordan Frederking traveled on behalf of Newman University to Dallas, Texas, where she participated in the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) Regional Conference March 3-5.
NODA hosted graduate and undergraduate students from institutions throughout Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. The conference was designed to focus on retention, transitions, and orientation among college campuses by not only hosting educational workshops and lectures, but also by allowing professionals from these institutions to share their experiences with one another. Frederking described her experience as "a great opportunity to see what type programming other institutions are doing, how they structure their leadership teams, and to learn about ways to engage our first year students in a more meaningful way."
During Frederking's three days at the conference, her hours were packed with educational block sessions and professional workshops, though she says there were some fun activities thrown into the mix as well. She said the majority of the sessions she attended were primarily geared toward helping improve orientation and first year experiences.
As a part of her role as first year experience graduate assistant, Frederking is working to implement a new orientation leader program at Newman and says that her time spent at the NODA conference allowed her the opportunity to reach out to other universities to see how they have put into practice similar programs. The new program is designed to help transform the role of an orientation leader into one that is much more meaningful for new students. Frederking said she really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to people from other universities speak about projects that worked well and what caused other projects to perform poorly. She has used similar programs to help her model Newman's program. Frederking said she is still working to make the program unique to Newman.
"I want it to be congruent with the Newman experience and make sure it aligns with what our university values," said Frederking.