A lively group of students, staff and faculty gathered last week to create a new vision for orientation for OCAD University. We tried, as much as possible, to empty our minds of what orientation has looked like in the past, and create a shared vision for how we could welcome the incoming class of 2011. We asked ourselves:
Brent Everett James summarized the results:
The group acknowledged the orientation starts well before the traditional welcome days just before the start of class but that capital “O” orientation should:
- engage and inform
- connect the students to their first-year faculty
- introduce the students to our entire campus CORRIDOR (gateway to a bright future), facilities and neighbouring community
- reinforce their decision to come to OCAD U
- and importantly, create tradition and pride!
It was loud and clear that the following are important and necessary:
- we are NOT U of T or Ryerson. We are unique!
- continued collaboration with OCADSU; merged/integrated activities over separate enhance OCAD U uniqueness
- online event promotion and professional branding
- safe open and accessible
- welcome art AND design students TOGETHER; they get divided far too quickly
- recognize diversity
- resources promotion and a willingness to help our students succeed
- keep them shiny, emphasizing the personal… not a number
- engaging opening welcome activity that recognizes that not all new students are joiners… they can be shy/awkward but we should empower them, allowing them to connect, meet and get excited
- students are not alone but in this together
- all departments/staff should wear ‘Welcome!’ buttons and participate in the welcome
- NO SILOS! Come out of their offices to help us welcome! Perhaps a ‘tunnel’ of whooping, hooting OCAD U community: student leaders, staff, faculty, Deans, VPs, Prez that the new students pass through
- FREE food!
- Sponsorship and $$$ support
- OCAD U is part of the city!
- Invite neighbours/community to participate (including a continued relationship with Aboveground Art Supplies who have always been very supportive)
- Take advantage of existing OCAD U connections/relationships within the city
- Continue to involve Student Groups but they need to be more obvious
- Student-, faculty- and alumni-run workshops
- Creativity is serious work, is valuable and is professional… fun day but SERIOUS messaging needed too
Now comes the work: we’ll be teaming up with our partners across campus to turn these goals and ideas in to tangible events and activities in time for Orientation 2011.