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UT Professor Publishes Guide to Student Orientation in Higher Ed

Published: February 01, 2013

Aiming for higher student performance and greater faculty engagement in higher education, a University of Tampa professor has recently co-authored a book to help students get oriented to college, and for faculty and staff to help orient them.

Catherine Chastain-Elliott, professor of art history and associate dean of the baccalaureate experience, co-wrote “College Orientation” to provides students the information they need to adapt to college life and stay on track towards a degree–all the while learning behaviors that promote achievement after graduation. Topics include the university structure, academic integrity, benefits of extracurricular activities and the preparing for the job market or graduate school.

"Our overall premise is that most students have not been taught how to act within the college system. If clearly informed, students will perform at higher, and more productive, levels," Chastain-Elliott said. "Our goal is to increase the four-year graduation rate, help students save time and tuition money by finishing on time and help graduates make themselves attractive to employers and graduate programs."

The book also provides a roadmap for college staff and faculty offering orientation programs to facilitate behaviors that increase retention, improve four-year graduation rates, and ultimately, reduce student loan debt.

According to the publisher, Pearson Higher Ed, the book is written from an insider’s point of view and has a distinct focus on promoting appropriate college conduct. “It covers a multitude of topics that help students navigate the university system while learning how to adapt this information to their future workplace.”

As associate dean of the baccalaureate experience, Chastain-Elliott helps coordinate UT’s orientation. She also teaches the first-year student orientation class, Gateways.

The book’s other co-author is Karen Bendersky, an associate professor of psychology at Georgia College.

“College Orientation” is available at local and online booksellers.