Orientation, Transition and Retention

Orientation, Transition and Retention

The Orientation, Transition and Retention Knowledge Community (OTRKC) is  a conduit for student affairs professionals with a vested interest in orientation, transition and retention programming, research, and services. The OTRKC will provide opportunities to share resources, knowledge, and research to enhance the field and attain best practices in orientation, transition and retention programming. 

Message from the Co-Chairs

Welcome to the Orientation, Transition and Retention Knowledge Community (OTRKC)! Through this community, we strive to create a collaborative environment for student affairs professionals to share resources, network and discuss ideas centered on new and emerging trends in orientation, transition and retention in higher education.


As a community of professionals vested in the Orientation, Transition, and Retention (OTR) functional area, the Knowledge Community will provide opportunities for NASPA members to network, share knowledge and research, and discuss new and emerging trends for the enhancement of OTR.

Vision: The Orientation, Transition, and Retention Knowledge Community (OTR KC) strives to be recognized as the national resource for NASPA members to understand our collective roles and responsibilities in supporting students as they transition into, through, and out of college. 

 The OTR KC values:

  •   Education and Knowledge
  •   Inclusion and Community 
  •   Collaboration and Support

 Definition of Terms:

  • Orientation: is a collection of events, programs, experiences, and services designed to support new students as they acclimate to higher education. 
  • Transition: is any event or non-event that results in change throughout a student’s collegiate journey beginning with pre-college preparation in high school through degree completion, and pursuit of advanced degrees.
  • Retention: is the collective effort of both the student and institution to ensure continued persistence to graduation/degree completion.

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Professional Learning Series

One of the best resources available to you is the wide range of professional development opportunities. This list contains both our “Hosted Events,” workshops and webinars that we plan and manage, and some “Related Events,” hosted by the NASPA Central Office or other NASPA Constituent Groups. To see a full listing of NASPA events, please see the Events page.

Regional Roundtables

We invite our members to join us for the upcoming Regional Roundtables. Hosted by our OTR KC Regional Representatives and Global Initiatives Coordinator, these roundtables allow you to discuss OTR initiatives on your campus, share best practices, and network with fellow colleagues.   Please join us for a discussion in your region.  You can register for the Regional Roundtables through our online form.

Region II

  • Wednesday, November 18 @ 1-2pm ET

Region III

  • Monday, October 26 @ 4-5pm ET
  • Monday, November 23 @ 4-5pm ET

Region IV-E

  • Thursday, October 22 @ 11am-12pm CT
  • Thursday, November 19 @ 11am-12pm CT

Region IV-W 

  • Wednesday, November 11 @ 11am-12pm CT

Region V & VI

  • Thursday, October 1 @ 4-5pm MT

International Regions

  • Thursday, November 5 @ 7-8pm AST (Arabia Standard Time)

Registration: https://forms.gle/BYB1uSWQhEu5KYmi9

Seeking Submissions: New Policy Series

Over the last decade, new student welcome programs have started to include sessions focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The growing concern about student support coupled with a more diverse student population, has motivated institutions to focus on building communities where students feel seen and safe. The racial justice movement has continued to grow and reached a tipping point during the Spring of 2020.  New Student Orientation programs have had to find a way to build community during a global health pandemic while also talking about the racial pandemic Black, Indigenous and People of Color face daily in the United States.

Our spring policy series will focus on highlighting the work our community has done to incoporate diversity, equity and inclusion, hosting a series of "teach-backs" over the course of the semester. During these "teach-backs", you and a member of your team will have the chance to share with our OTR community the ways in which you have led discussions of identity, community and specifically anti-Black racism with new students. This is an opportunity to highlight the stories, data, outcomes, and best practices from your campus. 

If you would like to participate, please complete this form and let us know about your program. 

Get Involved

NASPA Foundation Spring Collaboration Grant: Orientation, Transition and Retention Community College Educational Series

As community college student affairs professionals, we are at a crossroads of unique challenges. COVID-19 has forced our institutions to adapt to online learning, which has presented barriers for our populations. The nationwide protests against police brutality have magnified systemic racism through which our students have persevered for decades. Now, more than ever, the retention and ultimate success of community college students require our attention. You can help us elevate these issues within the broader NASPA community.

The upcoming Orientation, Transition, and Retention (OTR) Community College Education Series (“Series”) will serve as a catalyst for community college professionals to engage in conversation, access resources, develop skills, and acquire knowledge to accelerate OTR efforts on our campuses. It is imperative that our institutions take bold, evidence-based, and equity-minded action to accelerate the success of students from whom failure is not an option.

A collaboration between the Community College Division (CCD) and the OTR Knowledge Community, the Series will provide multidimensional educational programming to support the professional development of community college OTR professionals. Participants will have the opportunity to explore three themes:

  • Data & Analysis: explore the effectiveness of OTR programs focusing on the skills necessary to conduct assessments and gather data related to OTR efforts.
  • Emerging Practice: highlights the scale and scope of OTR practices nationwide through engaged discussions spanning multiple approaches to programming initiatives.
  • Program Design: considers the “ideal” orientation and transition approach for community college student populations and demographics, considering how one determines needs and creates a strategy that meets multiple levels of goals (institutional, departmental, and division).

This is where you come in! We are looking for passionate community college professionals to serve on our implementation team by contributing blog posts, facilitating discussions/webinars, and/or providing input about how we broaden the scope of OTR efforts at community colleges across the country. We are recruiting a group of talented and diverse professionals to co-construct the Series’ vision and impact. We know that community college professionals often oversee, manage, and facilitate OTR programs on their campus, but these professionals have little to no opportunity for sharing, applying, and creating knowledge. We want to change that. Join the Series Implementation Team!

We would like to give a special thanks to the NASPA Foundation for offering this amazing grant opportunity. The NASPA Foundation supports student affairs professionals by conferring and financially supporting scholarships, Innovation Grants, research grants, and recognition awards. Learn more about the NASPA Foundation!


OTR Blogs

Leadership Team