Below are descriptions for the programs offered by NovakTalks – All programs can be tailored to meet your community needs. Sessions can be combined to meet the needs of multiple contingencies over a period of consecutive days. Sessions can also be repeated for different audiences or a combined audience. Custom programs can also be developed. 

Organization and Chapter

Chapter Remediation Package

Objective: To support chapter leadership, alumni, and inter/national organization in the rehabilitation of chapters that have engaged in significant high-risk behaviors.

(2.0 - 2.5 hour) Chapter Leadership

This program focuses on meeting with chapter leadership to discuss past behaviors, decisions, events, and the standards they are expected to operate at as established by their inter/national organization and campus community. The program involves a problem analysis to identify barriers (individual, chapter, community) that will make the changes needed difficult. The problem analysis is accomplished via: data about chapter from inter/national organization, campus data, and student leadership insight. Students provide this insight throughout the program. The facilitator will lead the session and provide an environment for frank and open dialogue (which often means students only in the session) in order to get to the real issues. The facilitator will work with the leadership to develop an action plan to overcome barriers as well as identify additional resources necessary to lead chapter through needed change. The facilitation focuses on students leading the conversation to provide an opportunity for them to buy-in to these needed changes. Facilitators are trained at extracting the issues via dialogue with focus on balancing between details and true challenges facing the ability for the chapter to change.

(1.25 - 1.5 hour) Chapter

The meeting with the chapter issues the challenge of “change required of the organization cannot be the responsibility of the leadership team only” – specific behaviors, standards, and strategies are discussed and chapter members are provided the opportunity to contribute to the plan for change. Once again, students participate heavily in this discussion in order to create buy-in, however, the focus is on the desired outcomes as developed in the earlier leadership conversation should this happen prior to the all-membership meeting.

(40 minutes) New Member Class

The meeting with New Member class provides an opportunity to engage the new member class in chapter efforts. Focus is not on the “incident” or past behaviors, rather it’s on the importance of knowing what it means to be a member of the chapter and what their obligations are to the chapter and the grater fraternity.

Optional (1.0 hour) Chapter Advisor(s)

This meeting is with chapter advisor(s) to discuss their role in supporting the chapter or offer insight into supporting their effort to help the chapter.

Optional (2.0 hour) Campus Program

As part of the Chapter Rehabilitation Workshop the facilitator can provide a program for members’ campus community. This is not intended to sanction the entire community for the actions of one chapter, rather is to provide a chance for the organization to give back to their community. This program cannot be an “80% must attend” community session, but can be any one of the following:

  • Risk Management and Social Chair education session
  • New Member Education Officer education session
  • Targeted sessions for other officer positions or smaller session of students
  • New member education session (or new members of the community)
  • Staff development program on a variety of topics
  • Advisor education program on a variety of topics

*This session may be modified for non-fraternal student organizations.

Do the RIGHT Thing: Advancing Self-Governance

(1.5 -2.0 hour conversation offered to community leaders/emerging leaders)

 "If someone would have just said something..." is often the afterthought of leadership when an incident redefines the future of chapter. Join Kim Novak for a frank a discussion about the importance of doing the right thing whether it is calling 911, reporting a member to your organization judicial board, removing a friend from an event, or removing a member from the organization. Doing the right thing necessitates engaging the general membership of your organization in the reduction of high-risk behaviors and creating an environment where members, not just leadership, will take action or speak up.

Program content will include:

  • Importance of knowing the Standards and Policies from institution, Inter/national organizations and Councils
  • Shift from over emphasis on policy and liability to a focus on doing the right thing
  • Importance of student voices – how chapter leaders and members talk about and act upon acceptable standards of behavior informs how members will act
  • Care, safety and harm reduction are everyone in the chapter’s job
  • Key emphasis of risk reduction needs to be on safety and care not just compliance
  • How to act as a community of care and advance concept of safety

 Real Change

(1.5 - 2.0 hour session offered for organization leaders, this is a great option for judicial board training)

How many times in the past year have you been faced with the challenge as a student leader to address the behavior of an individual, change the behavior of a group, or engage in efforts to change the culture on your campus?

How many executive team meetings are spent talking about one chapter member’s behavior that never seems to change?

How many times do you leave those meetings feeling as if all that has been accomplished is a dialogue about the problem and a new project has been added to your plate?

Have you ever wondered if what you are doing has actually made a difference or positively influenced the problem?

Many student leaders have found themselves in these situations, and yet cannot simply ignore the need to address concerns within your organization. Participants can use a strategic problem–solving framework and leadership skills to find viable solutions and make real change.

Hazing Specific Session: This session can be modified to include a new member education with a focus on hazing prevention with simple but real life scenarios. Leadership can use this session to evaluate what they are really trying to accomplish with new member education, and strategically design a program that precludes hazing. There have been great success stories from this session where NovakTalks focuses on helping new member educators see how to better develop new members by addressing the real issues and understanding the older/active members are often the real problem.

For Behavior Specific Session: This session can be modified to include a dialogue on behavior problems related to alcohol, drug use, or hazing and the impact of environmental norms on this behavior. Simple but real life scenarios are used allowing leaders to evaluate what they are really trying to promote within the team or organization and where they may be missing the mark.

*This session may be modified for non-fraternal student organizations.

The Linear Equation for Leading Change

(1.25 - 1.5 hour workshop)

Organization leaders often find themselves struggling to implement change in operations. A key factor to consider when leading change whether in risk management practices, organization event participation, or new member education is the importance of using multiple entry points into the problem. The Linear Equation for Leading Change is an interactive dialogue where participants will practice a strategy of identifying multiple intervention opportunities for incrementally leading change within their organization. Using a simple linear problem analysis, organization, team, chapter and council leadership will learn how to dissect a problem and identify multiple strategies for bringing about change.

The Community Voice: An Introduction to the Realities of Bystander Behavior

(1.5 - 2.0 hours)

This presentation or workshop challenges participants to find their voice and not stand by when the values of their organization are not reflected in actions or voices of individuals, chapters or campus communities. Using the principles of Bystander Intervention as a foundation the facilitator empowers participants to find their voice by accepting their responsibility to act as positive members of their organization, community or chapter. Recognizing the real barriers as identified in Bystander research that prevent individuals or leadership from speaking up, participants develop the skills needed to act. This is a critical conversation to focus on creating a community of care.

This dynamic program will empower participants to:

  • Articulate the importance of moving through all the stages of intervention in order to bring about change. The participants focus on the final two stages of Bystander Intervention: Stage 3–Feel Responsible for Solving the Problem and Stage 4–Possessing the Necessary Skills to Act;
  • Challenge themselves and their community to feel responsible for acting when behaviors or incidents are not aligned with values; and
  • Learn about successful intervention strategies that will provide opportunities to respectfully and effectively intervene and provide the opportunity to de-escalate challenging situations.

Removing Barriers to Action: Bystander Intervention

(2.0 hour interactive workshop) Portions of this workshop can be added to any other workshop or extended program if the client desires.

This program examines how communities can use collective knowledge of why people choose to not intervene as well as strategies for empowering leadership, members and community members to act. Participants identify intentional efforts to remove the barriers to action based on practices which demonstrate that as a result, this will increase the probability that organizations will mitigate the impact of bystander behavior. This is a critical conversation to have as campuses and organizations set out to intervene in hazing and other high-risk behaviors on the college campus.

At NovakTalks we know it is not enough to tell individuals to not be bystanders. We must create environments that empower individuals to act. Faculty, staff, students and volunteers that work with organizations would be welcomed to join in this dynamic program that will empower participants to:

  • Utilize the identified barriers to take action to evaluate the organization environment in order to identify where barriers can be reduced and people can be empowered to ACT;
  • Design organization operations/systems as well as basic informational programs in such a way as to remove barriers to action;
  • Create initiatives to communicate what behaviors your organization/ community sees as a problem and wants individuals to take action against; and
  • Design strategically developed training to create an environment that empowers individuals to act.

Alcohol Skills Training Program (ASTP)

(2.0 hour interactive program)

ASTP is unlike most alcohol programs because it acknowledges that some college students drink, and rather than try to impose abstinence on college students, acknowledges that any steps toward reduced risk are steps in the right direction.

The goal of ASTP is to educate students about alcohol-related behavior while increasing their interest in critically examining their drinking patterns and eventually implementing the skills they learn. In doing so, participants can learn to recognize high-risk situations and to minimize the potential negative consequences through prevention action, reduced consumption, or abstinence.

Hazing in Today's World

 (1.5 - 2.0 hour workshop)

Recent incidents of hazing on college campuses and in military organizations have elevated attention paid to hazing as a high-risk issue that must be addressed. This program offers participants the ability to join a nationally recognized hazing prevention expert in a reality based conversation about hazing as a risk issue that students need to understand is not acceptable. Using current research the facilitator helps students better understand the unintended consequences of hazing, strategies for eliminating hazing practices, as well as sustaining, as a non-hazing organization and opportunities for the student voice to inform hazing prevention efforts on college campuses.

Let's Talk Values!

(1.5 – 2.0 hour workshop to Compliment Keynote or offered as a stand-alone program)

“Focus on your Values” is often a suggested solution for engaging members in improving chapter operations and yet for students leading chapters and councils this task can be more difficult than it seems. In this program (workshop or stand-alone program) the facilitator will provide an interactive session during which students will learn how to engage their chapter or community in meaningful dialogues about what values “look like” in action. This session allows participants to learn how focusing values conversations on what your chapter or community is supposed to look like instead of what it cannot look like will improve operations and increase involvement from membership. Strategies for getting the chapter or member’s voices into the room and actively engaged in advancing values-based experiences will be provided.

Empowerment not Fear: The Right Approach to Welcoming New Members into Your Community 

(1.25 - 1.5 hour session)

Research tells us Fraternity & Sorority Communities are the highest-risk populations on today’s college campuses. This program is designed to teach chapter leaders how to develop a community program that engages new members in a meaningful conversation about their rights and responsibilities in this high-risk environment. The facilitator will provide tips on how to use both national and available institutional data to challenge new members to embrace not only their rights as new members but also their responsibilities. 

Participants will learn how to provide a reality-based description of the current fraternity/sorority experience as well as what a healthy experience looks like for their new members. Participants will also learn how to empower new members to make choices that reduce personal risk while upholding the values of their perspective chapters. Content will be provided on the following issues: hazing, alcohol and other drugs as well as sexual assault.

This workshop can be utilized for new member educators, recruitment officers, council leaders or a specific chapter that is seeking to improve their new member education process.