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Welcome to the Center for Newcomer Onboarding at West Chester University. We are a group of faculty, staff, and students connected by an interest in newcomer experiences. Employers tend to refer to this as onboarding. Academia tends to refer to this as socialization (e.g., occupational socialization, organizational socialization, international socialization, etc.). Regardless of the labels, we enjoy coming together to support one another's research and teaching. We also promote the great research and teaching being done at other universities and professional associations.  
In addition, the Center is now consulting with organizations inside and outside of the university to improve their own onboarding processes.  
We hope that you will take some time getting to know us. Please click on the appropriate tabs to learn more about our current research projects, teaching modules, practice initiatives, and of course, the people who make up the Center. To learn more, reach out to any one of us - you'll find our email addresses on the "people" tab. And please follow our LinkedIn group! 

Johnna Capitano, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Management 
Director, Center for Newcomer Onboarding 

Johnna Capitano



Mission Statement

 We are devoted to facilitating newcomer onboarding experiences and outcomes through teaching, research and practice.  

 Shaking Hands




  • Lauren Anderson, Graduate Assistant for the CNO, recently surveyed small businesses in downtown West Chester on their strategies for marketing, particularly to new residents. She collected information on strategies and creative ideas, then circled back to the participants with a Best Practices report, including ways for the participants to collaborate on marketing to new customers.
  • New Members: Please join us in welcoming our newest members. Maxine Gesualdi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media, and can bring a lens of organizational communication to research and teaching about newcomer onboarding. Lauren Anderson is a new student in the Masters of Human Resources Management program, starting in January 2021. She will be the Graduate Assistant for the CNO, focusing mainly on the practice arm of our mission. Lauren is transitioning in her career from restaurant owner/manager to human resources management.
  • Best Practices in New Faculty Onboarding: On July 23, 2020, Johnna Capitano and Diane D’Arcangelo co-hosted a Zoom meeting with the new faculty orientation contacts in PASSHE schools. Each school shared how they onboard their employees prior to COVID-19 and additionally how they are onboarding this year (remotely). 
  • Collaborative Learning Research: In spring 2017, our member Jacqueline M. Zalewski began a research study on teamwork and collaborative learning in sociology and business informatics classes. She is collaborating with Dr. Susan Brudvig in the School of Business at Northern Kentucky University on this research.  The results of their survey research will improve the composition, purpose, pedagogy, and student learning outcomes of teamwork and collaborative learning in courses across disciplines. They have one paper in development and will be submitting it to Teaching Sociology for publishing consideration in fall 2020.  The working title of this paper is: “Giving ‘the Social’ (and Society) a Lift Using Collaborative Learning and Team Development Interventions.”




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