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

Award Nominations

Award Nominations are now being accepted. The deadline for submission has been EXTENDED to October 16.  Nominations will be accepted for the following three categories:

Excellence in Research

This award recognizes excellent completed research in the field of Orientation, Transition, and Retention (OTR). In addition to the recognition, the awardee will be able to collaborate with the OTR Knowledge Community to disseminate the research findings more broadly through print publications, web-based publications, conference presentations, and/or webinars.

Eligibility: Any current NASPA member

Required Criteria: Research must have been completed during the preceding 12 months to the awarding.



This award recognizes an exemplary partnership across the institution(s) and/or externally. The successful recipient(s) will demonstrate through the use of cross-functional collaboration, the ability to address a problem/issue, increase efficiencies, and/or inspire innovation to provide unique support for orientation, transition and/or retention efforts.  The nomination should include evidence-based decision-making that informed the collaboration and assessment findings that highlight the impact of the partnership.

Eligibility: Any current NASPA member or institution

Required Criteria: Collaboration must have been established and/or operationalized during the preceding 12 months to the awarding.


Research Grant

This award recognizes new and ongoing research in the field of Orientation, Transition, and Retention (OTR). The recipient will receive $500 to support their research. In addition to the support, the awardee will be able to collaborate with the OTR Knowledge Community to disseminate the research findings more broadly through print publications, web-based publications, conference presentations, and/or webinars.

Eligibility: Any current NASPA member

Required Criteria: Research activities must be conducted during the 12 months following the awarding of the grant.

Prize: $500 grant


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