New Student and Family Programs
OTR (Orientation, Transition and Retention) Central
December 2020 Issue

Students who intend to begin classes in January, have the opportunity to register for the following virtual orientation dates: December 11th and January 8th. We had held January 7th internally as a tentative date but have cancelled it as an additional session option.

Students who are absolutely not able to attend either of these upcoming dates or are admitted to the university after the end of business on January 7th may contact our office ( or 989-774-6629) to be scheduled for an orientation exception on Monday, January 11th. This option is not advertised publicly and is designed for special circumstances or those students who are being admitted close to the start of the semester.

As we continue to facilitate our orientation programs virtually, we are pleased to offer students multiple opportunities to engage with staff and other students as they begin their journey at Central. Students join our orientation staff for live sessions beginning at 9am on their orientation day. They are introduced to university staff and resources to help them establish their foundation for success as a new student at CMU. In “Mentor Tech Talks” our student mentors walk through CentralLink, Blackboard, and other online tools students will use both in and out of the classroom. All students are scheduled for an individual meeting with an academic advisor to discuss their academic program, transfer credit, course recommendations, and register for their first semester. We are proud of our continued efforts to offer students a welcoming, engaging orientation experience with opportunities for personalized connections with university staff.
As we close the chapter on 2020 over the coming weeks, planning and preparations for our 2021 orientation programs are underway. View the proposed orientation dates. Please note, we have changed the previously listed April 9th date to Thursday, April 8th, and continue to finalize these dates.

New students who intend to begin classes in summer and fall 2021 will have the opportunity to begin registering for these dates in January. At this time, we are preparing to host our orientation programs virtually throughout the 2021 season. If we are able to offer components of the orientation experience in person, we will communicate those details with students and our campus partners as soon as possible. We will continue to include updates in our monthly OTR newsletters.
We are excited to announce our 2021 Orientation Leadership Team! Together we will plan and facilitate training for our student mentors and orientation advisors and lead our team as we welcome our incoming students and their family members throughout the year. We look forward to shaping and executing our new student and family orientation programs and rolling out the maroon carpet to our new students and their families in 2021!

Orientation Leadership Team
Orientation Role
Mackenzie Harville
Family orientation program assistant (FOPA)
Chloe Ilacqua
Student orientation program assistant (SOPA)

Brandon McDonald
Training & transitions orientation program assistant (TOPA)
Corby Blem
Family team coordinator
Student Employment Services
Molly Schuneman
Student team coordinator Student Activities and Involvement
Megan Potts
Training and transitions coordinator
Academic Advising, College of the Arts and Media
Jamie Guigar Storey
Advising lead
Academic Advising, College of Education and Human Services
Betty Wagner
Assistant Director, Parent and Family Services
Office of Student Success
2021 Centralis Scholarship Competition
CMU’s Honors Scholarship, Centralis, offers high achieving high school seniors an opportunity to compete for full ride or full tuition scholarships. All high school seniors who have been admitted to CMU with a minimum of 3.7 GPA and an ACT score of 27 or higher (1260 SAT) are eligible to compete.

Besides being admitted to the University, students must also complete the Centralis Scholarship Application form which can be found on the Honors webpage. The scholarship application must be submitted to no later than January 1, 2021. Approximately 700 high school seniors participate each year.

For students who were unable to take standardized testing this year, there is still an opportunity to qualify for Centralis through alternate criteria. For more information, please reach out to Jill Irving ( or Blakelee Dunkelberg (

2021 Fire Up Fridays for Admitted Students
Save the Date!
Join us as we welcome our newest CMU students to the Chippewa family! Fire Up Fridays provide a direct focus on the needs of the student. This multi-faceted event introduces students to campus, assists them in building strong relationships with faculty and staff, and empowers the student with the skills and abilities to be successful on campus - and in life. Dates scheduled for 2021 include February 19, March 19, March 26, and April 9.

For more information, please contact Jill Irving ( or Blakelee Dunkelberg (
Collaborating with University Communications, Parent and Family Services produces the monthly e-newsletter, Our CMU Family Edition, for parents and families of CMU students. They also convene a University-wide team of campus leaders who serve as the moderators for the Facebook group for parents and supporters. The group has grown to over 3,000 members since it launched in fall 2019.

We gladly accept submissions for content suggestions which can be sent directly to We have a content calendar and are happy to promote your programs, services, and events to family members throughout the year.