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National center recognizes Orientation’s Rode as ‘outstanding advocate for first-year students’

January 19, 2011
Denise L. Rode

Denise L. Rode

The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition and Cengage Learning have named NIU’s Denise L. Rode among 10 recipients of this year’s “Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates.”

Rode, director of Orienation & First-Year Experience at NIU, was chosen from a group of 128 educators whose efforts on their own campuses made the review and selection process “a difficult but exciting task.” 

College and university presidents or their appointed representatives are invited each year to nominate individuals who are enhancing the first year on their respective campuses. Nominators must prepare and submit narrative descriptions of the nominees’ activities and must provide evidence that those activities have had an impact on first-year students and the institutions.

This year’s advocates will be honored Sunday, Feb. 6, and Monday, Feb. 7, at the 30th Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience in Atlanta.

Winners also are recognized in The Chronicle of Higher Education, in the center’s online E-Source for College Transitions newsletter and on the center’s webpage.

Rode helped to lead NIU’s Foundations of Excellence Task Force, which has worked to improve the first year for NIU students.

Her office also is home to First-Year Connections, which seeks to help all first-year students by engaging them in the university, empowering them as students and helping them evolve toward becoming NIU graduates, responsible citizens and civic leaders.