UO’s new-student orientation draws media spotlight

Team-bulding exercise during a UO orientation

College orientations used to be carried out over a weekend, with so much information shoved on the new students that not many could remember all of it, even if they paid attention the entire time.

But now many schools, including the UO, are beginning to have longer, more intensive orientations that stretch into the school year and include student-led sessions on preventing sexual assault.

Kerry Frazee, director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education at the UO, says having their peers lead the discussion helps new students connect with the material. “It’s important for me in my role to acknowledge when my voice isn’t the voice that should be carried,” she said.

The UO’s orientation is a six-week period called the “Starting Block,” which Keith Frazee, Kerry’s spouse and the assistant director of orientation programs at the UO, says consists of multiple programs covering similar topics to help students remember information and signal that it’s an important topic to the university.

“I assume not much is retained,” he said. “We recognize that we repeat ourselves many, many times. It’s necessary.”

For more, see “How to Make Orientation Stick” in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kerry Frazee began work as an academic advisor at the UO before becoming director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education in 2014. In her current position, she develops workshops, presentations and training on sexual violence prevention; works with campus and community partners to increase programming; coordinates awareness and poster campaigns; and anything else that could contribute to the safety and wellness of UO students.

Keith Frazee began his work at the UO in 2013 as well. His goal as assistant director of orientation programs is focused on increasing the retention rate from 87 percent to 90 percent for first-year to second-year students.