GVFaces: Ben Rhodes

October 17, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 4)
Article by Michele Coffill

Ben Rhodes seated on a chair on a deck

Ben Rhodes, associate director of Admissions and Recruitment, oversees orientation for new first-year and transfer students.

Ben Rhodes has assumed a new role that comes with the responsibility of setting the stage for nearly 5,000 students to be successful at Grand Valley.

Rhodes, associate director of Admissions and Recruitment, oversees orientation for new first-year and transfer students. He brings 15 years of experience in Grand Valley's Admissions and Financial Aid departments, plus experience at another higher education institution to the role.

"Orientation sets the stage for a student to become a Laker and to become successful at Grand Valley," Rhodes said. "It's their transition to becoming a Laker."

Orientation sessions begin in May but Rhodes said his work starts now by meeting with staff from various departments around campus involved in orientation to plan for the spring and summer events.

"I'm excited about adding the orientation program on my plate," he said. "For many years, GVSU has had a registration-focused model, but we are learning that truly orienting students to campus means focusing on building connections to the university during their orientation visit. 

"I will be attending the National Orientation Conference. As I learn more about how other colleges reach national standard learning outcomes, I will begin offering suggestions and making changes that lead us into a more successful model."

Rhodes said he hopes to give new students a "pathway to a sense of belonging" when they arrive for orientation.

He also said working in Financial Aid for so many years has given him a passion to advocate for students and their success. In his last role, Rhodes served as an associate director, overseeing customer service and office operations. 

"I have a renewed excitement for Grand Valley as I approach this position," he said. "Any change can be a massive undertaking, as there are so many departments involved in orientation. The key is that everyone is centered on making sure students will know their support structures and resources on campus and begin to feel like a Laker when they leave."

 

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This article was last edited on October 17, 2023 at 3:26 p.m.

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