Student Transitions Office Structure

On June 29, 2004 Leon Book of Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) wrote to the list looking for information on establishing an office dedicated to student transitions, and the structure of such divisions. Margaret Puckett of North Central State College replied to this request with a brief description of how different transitions are handled by different offices. She also requested information on SEMO's orientation program, to which Leon replied with links both to his institution's orientation website and NODA's website. Joe Cuseo of Marymount College also replied to Leon's email, and included an announcement from Slippery Rock University that describes a Director f Student Transition Activities position. He also suggested that those interested in transitions subscribe to the Transfer Year Experience (TYE) listerv, and included directions for doing so.

Leon Book (read FYE post or send email)
Margaret Puckett (read FYE post or send email)
Leon Book (read FYE post or send email)
Joe Cuseo (read FYE post or send email)

June 29, 2004 12:27pm
Original Message: Transition Unit?

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Here at Southeast we have just started some preliminary conversations about beginning to explore the possibility of considering maybe (is that enough "weasel words" for you?) creating some kind of office to oversee the transitions students make in college. For the administrative part of my job here, I'm in charge of the first-year experience, directing our first-year seminar, a required 3-hour theme-based academic (not "success") course, and working with our orientation program (called "First STEP" locally). This query is prompted by the work of a "Strategic Enrollment Management" task force going about its work this spring and early summer during which the need for such an expanded office has emerged. Well, better said, the need to consider exploring the possibility of such an office has emerged anyway. We're beginning to think that we may need somebody to oversee and coordinate services such as:

  • the first-year experience
  • orientation (we have three: for new, transfer, and international students)
  • advising undeclared, undecided students
  • the sophomore transition (often overlooked, as you may know)
  • the melding of transfer students into the community, especially community
    college folks during the junior year
  • the big transition for seniors from academe to the world of work
  • the melding of international students into the community
  • experiential learning experiences
  • learning communities
  • who knows what else??????

Do you know of any institutions that have such an office? If so, what do these administrators call themselves? To whom do they report? What "units" or services do they supervise? What questions am I too naive to ask?

Any insights you can give us would be helpful. My contact information is given below in the "signature" portion of this correspondence. I look forward to hearing from you.


Dr. Leon C. Book
Director of First-Year Experience
School of Graduate & University Studies
Southeast Missouri State University
Mail Stop 4300
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701


Professor of Foreign Languages & Anthropology and of Middle & Secondary Education Department of Foreign Languages & Anthropology
Southeast Missouri State University
Mail Stop 4150
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

voice mail: (573) 651-2688
fax: (573) 651-2977 (Foreign Languages)
fax: (573) 651-5103 (First-Year Experience)
e-mail: (not case sensitive)

June 29, 2004 2:47pm
Re: Transition Unit?

North Central State College has one department that handles at-risk student advising (developmental and probationary) as well as FYE, admission testing Compass), and tutoring. School to work areas are handled by ??? department heads or divisional deans with some help from career services. Transitions to other schools are handled by our transfer department. I am not much help to you with your question; however, I am interested in what your institution does for its orientation. Our is useless and boring. It is in need of change, but when we suggested a change, the powers that be said that we need what we have. If you can let me know what is involved in your orientation and which offices handle what, that would be a big help. Thank you.

Margaret Puckett
FYE Course coordinator/instructor
North Central State College
2441 Kenwood Circle
PO Box 698
Mansfield, Ohio 44901-0698

June 29, 2004 4:21pm
Re: Transition Unit?


Thanks for the prompt response and the info. More helpful than you believe!

You can poke around in our orientation program website. I think you'll find both the website and the program both dynamic and helpful. We get excellent reviews from both students and parents/family members. My colleague Theresa Haug Belvin runs that program most capably. Technically, I am her supervisor, but I view us more as colleagues who work together. Here's the link:

I'm not sure that's an active link, and if not, just copy it and paste it into your browser.

I also refer you to the website of the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA). You can get assistance there, too:

Hope this is helpful. Best wishes, and thanks again,


June 29, 2004 3:50pm
Re: Transition Unit?

Leon (and others who may have interest in this issue):

Slippery Rock University (PA) recently created a transition position/unit, which appears to be in line with what you're planning to do at Southeast. Pasted below is the position description that was posted on the FYE List a short time ago.

You might also consider posting your request to the Transfer Year Experience (TYE) List. If you're not already on it, directions for subscribing to it are provided below.

Hope this helps.

- Joe -

To subscribe , over e-mail, to the TYE-LIST, address an e-mail to listserv@LISTSERV.SC.EDU and include in the text of the message the following command:
subscribe tye-list yourfirstname yourlastname
Check out our web based listserv at

Director of Student Transition Activities
The Director of Student Transition Activities is a full time, 12-month management position reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Student Development. This position provides leadership for the Department of Student Transition Activities which is responsible for assisting with new student transition, developing and coordinating a sophomore year initiative, developing and coordinating the senior year transition and developing and coordinating programs for transfer and adult students. In addition, this individual supervises the Coordinator of Student Activities who works to develop general activities for the student body as a whole. The Director of Student Transition Activities also coordinates the area of Family Connections and cultural programs. This position is an integral part of the Center for Student Leadership, which includes the offices of Student Transition Activities and Student Organizations and Leadership. The Director works collaboratively with the staff in Enrollment Services, Student Organizations and Leadership, Career Services and Alumni Services in planning and implementing a comprehensive program of student activities that are designed to assist students in their transition to college and enhance opportunities for student learning success.

REQUIREMENTS: Master's Degree required; doctorate preferred. Minimum 2-3 years professional experience in initiating, planning and implementing student activities and cultural programs, working with orientation and student transitional issues required. An understanding of enrollment management strategies as they relate to retaining students and strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills are critical; evidence of initiating new programs and successful experience in supervising staff required. Successful performance in an on campus interview required. Demonstrated commitment to diversity preferred. Start date is negotiable.
Send a letter of interest, resume, transcripts (official transcripts required before hiring), and the names, addresses and phone numbers of three references to:

Dr. Paula Olivero
Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Development
Slippery Rock University
1 Morrow Way
101A University Union
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Review of applications will begin on December 5 and continue until the position is filled. Slippery Rock University of PA is a member of the State System of Higher Education and is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Visit our web page at TTY# 724-738-4881. AA# 03-86 UP# 0061 Date Posted: 11/7/03