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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Power and Place

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.


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. 


OTR Blogs

Leadership Team