Social Media comes to New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation (NSO) plans to use social media
to connect with incoming students and provide them a
forum to ask questions and gather useful information
before stepping on campus.
 A strategic plan has been developed to appropriately
implement the social media platforms based on Barr and
Keating (1985) model.
 McClellan and Stringer (2009) identified the strategic plan
model developed by Barr and Keating (1985) as a model
that works well with student affairs programming. Barr and
Keating (1985) introduced three essential elements in
planning and complementing any program:
› The context
› The goal
› The plan
“The goal of almost any social media campaign should ultimately be
to push people to the college’s website for more detailed information
and action” (Halligan, 2010, p. 32)
In the initial assessment of our strategic
plan, we have examined the context and
determined what resources are needed.
University Culture
New Student Orientation’s
New Student Orientation’s
Learning Objectives
Benefits of Proposed
Social Media Plan
Interested Constituencies
Required Human
Required Fiscal Resources
Timing of the
Development and
Implementation of Plan
NC State is a large research university located
in a metropolitan area in the southern United
NC State has population of 34,000 students and
all incoming undergraduates and transfer
students (about 6,300) can gather information
and participate in orientation activities through
the New Student Orientation (NC State).
Activities include:
› 17 overnight sessions for first-year students
› 2 one day sessions for transfer students
› 3 one day sessions for both first-year and transfer
› In addition supplemental programming is offered to
continually help students with their transition to NC
State (NC State).
“New Student Orientation coordinates NC
State University's collective efforts to
provide programs and services to newly
admitted first year and transfer
undergraduate students that will facilitate
their transition into NC State, prepare them
for the institution's educational
opportunities, and initiate their integration
into the institution's intellectual, cultural, and
social climate” (NC State)
 Check Out
Orientation is now considered a
comprehensive process rather than a
small program (Council, 2009).
 CAS encourages orientation programs to
not merely adjust to changes in student
population but to develop “new and
creative programs and methodologies”
in order to meet the needs of new and
transfer students (Council, 2009, p. 322)
Help transition students to the college
Communicate with students using a
medium they may be familiar with and use
Provide students information to make
orientation more valuable and meaningful
Give students a platform to ask questions
and interact with other incoming students
Support an environment that incoming
student can connect with on-campus
“Introduces students to information and
resources that prepare them for their first
semester at NC State” (NC State).
› Social Media can be used to enhance
students understanding of information and
resources presented at orientation through
having a place to ask questions, watch
informational videos, and read and respond
to current student blogs.
NSO “is a service department, responsible
for coordinating the collective efforts of the
university to introduce students to the
institution’s intellectual, cultural, and social
climate, and in particular the academic
environment and expectations of each
college at NC State” (NC State).
› Current students from a variety of backgrounds
will help monitor and provide up-to-date
information on the social media sites.
› Students will be able to answer questions about
classes, things to do on campus, and other
campus related information.
“Provides time-appropriate messages to
students, understanding the importance of
delivering messages to students when they
are most likely to be heard and impact
behavior” (NC State).
› Incoming students use social media outlets
several times a day. Many have access to social
media on their cell phones.
› Using social media to pass on information will
allow NC State to reach a vast number of
students who may not have access to their
university email yet.
“Organizes programs that serve as one of
the first of many steps in transitioning
students to their new environment,
recognizing the importance of additional
complementary programs and services
provided by academic and student support
units of the university” (NC State).
› Social Media can be a place to direct students
to other resources and information around
campus organizations and college departments.
› It can also be a place to advertise programs.
Current incoming students are from the
Millennial generation and they were born
between 1982 and 2000. These students will
continue to flood campuses for the next
several years.
 As we explored our target population, we
have identified the social media outlets
(i.e., Facebook and Twitter), Millennials use
to engage in two-way technology. They do
not simply view a website; they want to be
able to interact (Lindbeck & Fodrey, 2010).
Millennials are the first generation to grow
up using Facebook and tweeting as an
everyday occurrence, as opposed to
viewing them as new technology.
 Many studies in the past have focused on
the difference between Generation X and
Baby Boomers so that they can better
understand each other in the workplace;
similar studies are now being conducted to
show how best to understand Millennials
(Smola & Sutton, 2002).
Technology has been a huge part
of the Millennials’ every day life
and colleges and universities need to be
able to keep up with this trend (Thielfoldt &
Scheef, 2004).
 Lindbeck and Fodrey (2010) describe
Millennials as having a “constant need to
be connected to their social pipelines,
have access to digital information and
collaborate with their peers” and that they
are “ready to have its voice heard, share its
ideas and lead by actions” (p. 11).
A recent survey discovered that 88% of
prospective students would seriously think
about not attending a college based on
their website (Lindbeck & Fodrey, 2010).
 Millennial students tend to focus only on
information directly related to them and
they often do not reconsider information
that did not appear relevant the first time
(Lindbeck & Fodrey, 2010).
 Social
media outlets are already
being explored in higher education
› A survey done by the Babson Survey
Research Group of 1,000 faculty
members showed that 30% of them use
social media to connect with their
students (Blankenship, 2011).
› Colleges and universities need to get on
board with social media because it is not
going away (Blankenship, 2011).
Using social media in college leads to
successful integration into the work place
and encourages active citizenship.
› Having a blog and putting that on your resume
shows your employer that you are engaged
member of society (Blankenship, 2011).
› To prepare incoming students, orientation should
show them how social media can and will be
used throughout their college careers. Not only
will using social media prepare students for
college, social media is being used in interviews
for jobs as well (Blankeship, 2011).
Campus is always looking for ways to reduce
the use of paper products. By using social
media as an outlet for information, less
extensive mailings will be required
Pull information from all campus departments
Method of mass communication to all students
at minimal cost to the University
Keep competitive with schools already utilizing
such tools
With the undergraduate population growing,
NC State needs to look at new ways to recruit
and retain students (Lindbeck & Fodrey, 2010).
Astin’s Involvement (Engagement) Theory
› Theory Summary
 College outcomes are viewed as functions of three sets of
elements; inputs, environment, and outcomes. Theory
explains the dynamics of how students change or develop.
(Astin, 1984
 Defining of Elements
 Inputs - demographics, student background, previous
 Environment- range of experiences encountered during
 Outcomes - characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs,
values, etc. that exist after colleges
Theory has been the foundation for the study of
student involvement and engagement. As
involvement has now been considered
engagement, it represents the time and effort
students devote to activities that are empirically
linked to desired outcomes of college and what
institutions do to induce students to participate in
these activities (Kuh, 2009).
Theory of Involvement - Element
The demographic, student background, and experiences show
a knowledge of social media tools. As such, there is a
precedent of familiarity and engagement already with
Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets.
Colleges and universities across the country have adopted the
use of such tools and have engaged students through internet
tools in their recruitment and application processes.
Furthermore, the University has embraced and changed how
they function to show an importance of online communication.
The University continues to enhance its technology
environment to support such interactions.
If the University continues to meet students where they are, in
this case with a current knowledge and use of social media
tools, we can expect them to continue to use such tools during
and after their matriculation to stay connected to the
University. The more we utilize an environment that students are
familiar the easier to disseminate information and receive their
immediate feedback.
Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles
› In the March 1987 AAHE Bulletin, Chickering and Gamson
presented the Seven Good Principles for Good Practice in
Undergraduate Education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987).
› Purpose was to focus on improving the teaching and learning of
students. The principles established were:
1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
3. Encourages active learning
4. Gives prompt feedback
5. Emphasizes time on task
6. Communicates high expectations
7. Respect Diverse talents and ways of learning
An environment must created among faculty,
staff, students, administrators, and external
groups that can support these principles as
well as the respective desired outcomes of the
education of the particular institution.
In 1996, the principles were revisited by
Chickering and Ehrmann to leverage the use
of technology against application of the
principles, which suggests that the higher
education understands the importance of
using technology to improve learning and
teaching in the environment.
Seven Principles
Faculty/Student Contact
The utilization of social media outlets will allow for the dissemination of
information to students as it relates to academic advising, transitional
support, and other important “to-dos” to prepare for the transition to a
college student.
Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation
Students have a created avenue to communicate with faculty, staff, and
administration. This developed platform for communication will allow for
students to act upon items sent from the university and vice-versa.
Active Learning
The use of new tools calls for active learning. Faculty, staff, and
administrators will be learning new technologies and this offers the
opportunity to learn from students that are most familiar with the
technologies. The sides will also be able to consider methods to enhance
how the University utilizes such tools.
Prompt Feedback
The ability to send inquiries to a mass audience and solicit responses in the
form of blogs or the media outlet used, will allow the University to gain real
time and truthful feedback to better the student experience and allow
students to feel engaged in decision making processes.
Emphasize Time on Task
As technology presents a faster mode of communication, time is freed to
commit to other tasks.
Communicate High Expectations
In new student orientation, we will be able to communicate the
expectations of our students during their transition as well as when they
arrive on campus. They will have a plethora of mediums to obtain these
expectations real-time and appropriately respond as to how they have met
them (i.e. residence hall registration, summer reading, etc.)
Respect Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
By offering social media outlets as a medium for communication, we are
openly respecting the diverse ways of obtaining knowledge that our
future/current students require.
This program would serve new students
and transfer students along with any
department or organization on campus
that wanted to provide information for
the social media sites.
For Example: University Housing,
Carmichael Complex, Student Health
Center, Multicultural Center, Alumni
The NC State Alumni Association already
has an established Facebook account;
so by engaging students in social media
as freshmen, through the NSO Social
Media Plan, they will learn to expect it
and NC State can continue the usage
as they become alumni (Halligan, 2010).
Goal Statement: NSO hopes that using
social media will build students'
confidence in involving themselves in
campus activities that they find out
through such sites. It has been observed
that current students and incoming
students use social media to gather
information and engage in community
Human: A
student to
oversee and
create all social
media sites.
volunteers to
answer questions
and keep “Life at
NC State” blogs.
Fiscal: Graduate
student stipend, a
computer, initial
mailings, and
advertising of the
new program
March/February to
ensure all policies
and procedures
are in place
With an approved plan, new policies,
procedures, and job descriptions will be
 Hire a graduate assistant (GA) in
February at the Higher Education
Administration Recruitment Weekend
 Begin training of GA on June 1
 Train student interns by June 15
 Make space in NSO office
Hire a GA and pay them a stipend
Purchase a laptop for the GA’s use while
they are employed by NSO
NSO’s original marketing materials will be
edited to include the new social media site
Create new marketing materials, including
postcards for the program
Create t-shirts advertising the program for
Orientation staff and as giveaways that will
say “Follow Us” and “Be Our Friend”
Social media has the
opportunity to save
colleges money; once
they are established,
mailing and newsletters
can be sent electronically
(Halligan, 2010).
 This will save on postage
and labor fees when
printing and stuffing
envelopes (Halligan,
Proposed Budget:
Laptop Computer = $700.00
Graduate Student stipend = $12,000
Postcards – printed & mailed = $1,250.00
T-Shirts = $500.00
Miscellaneous = $550.00
Total = $15,000
Protecting the
privacy of students
and the University
Controlling the
social media
Targeting nontraditional
Creating a policy
about the
appropriateness of
messages and
information posted
Since Facebook and Twitter
are external sites, policy
needs to be developed on
how to handle information
learned on these sites.
Students may not want their
schools involved in what they see
as their social avenue. A balance
between social media usage and
appropriateness is necessary
(Lindbeck & Fodrey, 2010).
The implementation
of this program will
begin in the Spring
of 2011 and while
assessment can
begin at the end of
the year, the
program should be
maintained a
minimum of two
years to achieve
valuable feedback.
Organization Chart
As recommended by the CAS Standards, selfevaluation will take place following orientation
Questions will be added to the NSO evaluation
to not only get feedback from staff members
but students as well.
These internal and external evaluations of
expectations must measure “to what degree
the stated mission, goals, and student learning
and development outcomes are being met”
(Council, 2009, p. 329).
Results will be used to enhance the program.
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Chickering, A. & Ehrmann, S.C. (1996). Implementing the Seven Principles:
Technology as Lever. AAHE Bulletin, 3-6.
Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. (2009).
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Halligan, T. (2010). The social media evolution: Online tools drive
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Journal, 80(4), 30-33.
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