Title page for ETD etd-09142011-165624

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Roberts, Kimberly Dottolo
Author's Email Address kdrob5@lsu.edu
URN etd-09142011-165624
Title A Mixed Methodological Assessment of Personal Development of Undergraduate Orientation Leaders
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Machtmes, Krisanna Committee Chair
Fox, Janet Committee Member
Johnson, Earl Committee Member
Verma, Satish Committee Member
Bernerth, Jeremy Dean's Representative
  • experiential learning
  • Chickering's seven vector model
  • personal development
  • orientation programs
  • orientation leaders
  • Kolb's experiential learning model
Date of Defense 2011-08-30
Availability unrestricted
Orientation programs, while unique in their own design and implementation across campuses, offer incoming students the opportunity to become acquainted with the institutional environment. A particularly important element of orientation programs is the component of orientation leaders who serve as peer mentors and guides to incoming students. These students fulfill several responsibilities of the institution and develop a lasting rapport with incoming students. Orientation leaders have the opportunity to personally develop and gain valuable skills as a result of working the orientation program.

Kolb’s experiential learning model provides a framework that explains an orientation leader’s personal development. Kolb’s model consists of a spiral of four modes of learning – concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Individuals learn by cycling through each of the four phases. Throughout the summer orientation program, orientation leaders in this study had the opportunity to work seven sessions where they encountered a concrete experience, reflected on those experiences, conceptualized those experiences within group discussions, and actively experimented with new ideas and techniques.

In this study, the researcher found that working the orientation program had a significant impact on the personal development of orientation leaders. Themes that emerged corresponded with Chickering’s seven vector model of student development. During times in higher education when budgets are tight and funding is limited, it is important to know the lasting effects that orientation programs can have on the orientation leaders. Therefore, colleges and universities must continue to utilize and understand the role of orientation leaders in orientation programs.

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