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SU’s readySET wins top national accolades from three leading professional groups
SU’s readySET wins top national accolades from three leading professional groupsDecember 04, 2007SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
The readySET: Information for New Students at Syracuse University, SU’s system for communicating with new students during the summer before their arrival, has won three major national accolades and been recognized as a best practice in student affairs.
1. The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the largest professional organization for student affairs staff, faculty and graduate students, notified SU in late November that it will showcase the readySET as the Gold Award Recipient in the First Year, Orientation, Parents, and Other Programs category of the 2008 NASPA Excellence Awards Program.
2. The National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), the leading national professional group for college orientation and first-year experience programs, has honored the readySET as winner of the 2007 NODA Publications Showcase Award in the Outstanding General Handbook–three or more colors category for mid-sized institutions.
3. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education?s (CASE) District II–representing more than 700 learning institutions in New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia–has named the readySET a Silver winner in the Leadership in Communications category of its 2008 Accolades Awards.
4. The readySET was named Most Innovative Submission in “Best Practices in Staying Relevant to Students,” the November installment of the series of publications known as National Student Affairs Best Practices Reports.
These awards and accolades highlight the readySET’s success in helping Syracuse University’s new students make a successful transition from the summer before arrival to Syracuse Welcome, the University’s nationally recognized new-student orientation program. The readySET was launched in May 2007. Both Syracuse Welcome and the readySET are administered by the Division of Student Affairs.
“New first-year and transfer students at Syracuse University must focus their attention on several critical issues that determine the success of their first year,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “To ensure their primary success–that is, academic progress in the classroom–students must also attend to myriad details ranging from selecting a meal plan to understanding SU’s many access- and support-oriented programs and offices. Incoming students have a lot to do and know before they arrive, and the readySET’s national recognition shows that it is already accepted as a standard for helping them make the right choices during this critical time.”
The NASPA Excellence Award will be presented to SU at NASPA’s 2008 Annual Conference, to be held next March in Boston. In his letter notifying SU of the award, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs George S. McLellan writes, “The panel ? was unanimous in its opinion that the readySET program was the clear first choice” in the category, which recognizes programs’ transformative contribution to new students’, parents’ and other populations’ college experience.
This brings to five the number of NASPA Excellence Awards received by the Division of Student Affairs in the last three years. It is SU’s first Excellence Award at the Gold level and puts the readySET in the running for Grand Gold, Silver or Bronze honors, which recognize the three best student affairs programs of any kind. SU staff will be in Boston to accept the award, make a poster presentation and participate in a question-and-answer session for fellow student affairs professionals.
The NODA Publications Showcase Award was presented to Carol L. Kim, assistant director of communications for student affairs, at the 30th Annual NODA Conference in Dallas on Oct. 27; Kim conducted a poster session and answered questions for fellow student affairs professionals prior to the awards ceremony. The award recognizes the readySET for excellence in design, layout, content and effectiveness in reaching students. NODA has previously recognized the University’s New-Student Orientation Schedule and Guide, orientation website and Parents Handbook.
The CASE Accolades award for Communications Leadership measures the readySET not just against student affairs communications, but against CASE District II’s best work in the broad fields of alumni relations, fundraising and general institutional communications. Award criteria include innovation, overall excellence, communications effectiveness, creativity, effective promotion and organizational ability. The award will be presented during the District II Annual Conference, to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in January 2008.
The readySET is included in “Best Practices in Staying Relevant to Students,” based on an entry submitted by Kim for a non-competitive committee review process. The Most Innovative Submission tag marks the readySET as the most creative student affairs practice among the 29 practices profiled. The title is part of an ongoing series of publications designed to highlight emerging best practices for an audience of student affairs leaders and midlevel managers.
The readySET consists primarily of an organizing container and a series of folios containing topically related information. The folios, sent every two to four weeks during the summer, work with the organizing container to help students navigate and respond to information in a timely fashion. The intentionally timed release of information helps offices across the University adjust staffing patterns, maximizing support of students at critical moments.
The 2007 effort was focused on co-curricular and administrative content. Working with threeonefive design, a team of consultants made up of faculty and alumni of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the Division of Student Affairs is moving forward on a winter 2008 mailing for new transfer students; an improved readySET website that provides an equivalent online experience; and a summer 2008 mailing that will add expanded academic content to the readySET. A formal assessment project, led by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, is under way and will inform the implementation of the readySET starting in 2008.
“Any success the readySET may enjoy now or in the future is thanks wholly to the tremendous collaboration of our cross-campus advisory group, as well as the students, staff members and consultants who provide needed creativity, production support and logistical problem solving,” says Matthew R. Snyder, director of communications and media relations for the Office of Student Affairs. “Like me, they find the most rewarding feedback comes from our newest students who tell us that the readySET helped them get ready for the Syracuse University experience above and beyond their highest expectations.”
For more information, visit http://readyset.syr.edu