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George Thompson Finds Orientation Programs May Help Retain New Student Affairs Employees; Research Cited in College Student Affairs Journal


George Thompson Finds Orientation Programs May Help Retain New Student Affairs Employees; Research Cited in College Student Affairs Journal

Research by Assistant Dean of the McCallum Graduate School George Thompson was recently published in the College Student Affairs Journal (Volume 29, No. 2). The study, “Efficacy of Orientation for New Student Affairs Professionals,” explores the critical role of workplace orientation in the retention of new employees in the field of higher education and student affairs.

According to Thompson, retention beyond the third year of work for new student affairs professionals plagues the field of higher education. In the study, new student affairs professionals were surveyed to determine their perceptions about the content and efficacy of their orientation experiences. 

“Despite literature encouraging intentionally structured orientation programs, we found that most employers continue to use informal strategies for orienting new professionals,” Thompson notes.

The researchers found that the most effective pieces of orientation programs are those designed to focus specifically on job task with direct supervisors. In contrast, large group interactions were deemed effective only in providing a social connection with new colleagues. 

“Practical application of our findings supports small, intentionally structured experiences focused on building a relationship with a new supervisor and larger experiences emphasizing human connection,” Thompson observes. “Attrition in any work setting bears a cost that can be diminished by understanding the human component of needs in the workplace.”

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit


by Bentley University November 11, 2014

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