New Student Onboarding

The New Student Onboarding Committee was created in December, 2016 by Senior Vice Presidents Jonathan Wickert and Martino Harmon.  The group was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of onboarding processes for all students at Iowa State University and recommending changes to improve student learning and student success. 

The overarching goal of this initiative is to make new student onboarding a distinctive part of the Cyclone experience. Specifically, an intentional new student onboarding program will ensure students are familiar with important information that provides a foundation for academic success, such as familiarity with campus resources including campus safety, Title IX response, and mental health services. Further, a well-coordinated onboarding program will also ensure students have a stronger sense of community, sense of belonging, and connection to people and resources, which we know leads to increased academic success and retention. 

The first phase of the committee’s work was completed during the 2017 spring semester. Five sub-committees were formed and reviewed the current state of onboarding activities; each focusing a specific student type: 1) new direct from high school, 2) undergraduate transfer, 3) graduate students, 4) professional students, and 5) non-degree and online students.  

The information collected through these environmental scans was synthesized at a series of two workshops using Value Stream Mapping and lean process engineering strategies. Value Stream Mapping exercises created consensus on focus areas where change could yield the most impact and resulted in the formation of four project teams, one for each focus area. These teams convened monthly from November 2017–June 2018.  Each team identified strategies for creating change and developed recommendations to improve the new student onboarding processes.

Through the work of the four project teams, the New Student Onboarding leadership team ratified four key New Student Onboarding outcomes: 

  1. Ensure all students have the knowledge and ability to navigate the university
  2. Integrate all new students into the ISU community and culture
  3. Increase awareness of ISU experiences that promote academic success and integration 
  4. Ensure compliance requirements are met.

Collectively, these outcomes establish the foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities all students need to be successful at Iowa State University- what we refer to as the Cyclone Core Competencies

This AY18-19 executive summary includes more details about the Cyclone Core Competencies and priorities for AY18-19.  

Committee Co-Chairs: Keith Robinder and Ann Marie VanDerZanden

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