Orientation and Transition

Author - Ms Jen Leske, Flinders University, Australia

Jen holds the position of Coordinator, Transition to University, in the Transition Office at Flinders University. This role encompasses transition not only to university, and through the first year (main brief), but to different year levels, and to a lesser extent from university to employment. In consultation with various stakeholders across the university, Jen’s role focuses on the implementation of innovative initiatives and strategies designed to enhance student engagement and transition.

Jen holds degrees in Psychology and Gender Studies and, prior to her current position, was employed within the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services as a Student Attendance Counsellor – Retention. Within this role she worked across the state with at risk 15 year old students, their families and schools, towards reengagement with mainstream schooling, or assisting students to transition to alternative forms of educational engagement. Jen has also worked in an agency assisting people affected by depression and bipolar disorder. These prior experiences, combined with a strong background in social work, regularly influence her practice with university students. As she again became a student in 2008 (Postgraduate degree in Teaching), after a ten year gap, the experiences of ‘transitioning’ are very fresh!

Further information is available from the Flinders University ‘Get Connected’/Transition Office website.

First Year Curriculum Perspective

This commentary examines first year curriculum design and the case study exemplars from the perspective of student orientation and transition to tertiary learning (pdf 1.73MB). It suggests that orientation and transition should be conceived of as a process over time, beyond a focus on orientation week, and that, ideally, a transition pedagogy scaffolded into ‘class’ time would allow for a longer student induction to university life, including more activities and opportunities for students to adapt to the new environment. It is suggested that such enhanced opportunities to get to know other students and staff in the first few weeks of university studies, whilst building life and study skills, would also promote competency, support networks, self efficacy, confidence, and resilience.