PECS: An Evidence-Based Orientation Event Framework for Enhancing Students' Sense of Belonging
In 2020, staff at Griffith University, Australia used a best practice and evidence-informed orientation event framework to create the University’s first series of fully online, university-wide orientation sessions. The PECS design framework was created to ensure that orientation events at Griffith focused on developing students’ sense of belonging at their institution. For the first time, this framework was used as the foundation of the new “Griffith Welcome Sessions”. This study uses established qualitative methods to analyse 572 student surveys about the Griffith Welcome Sessions. It finds that the use of a PECS orientation design framework improved students’ orientation experience and helped them to develop a sense of connection at university. This study also establishes that the PECS-based orientation sessions remained a key driver for many students’ continued sense of belonging five weeks after the sessions were delivered.