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Basics to Build Your Racial Injustices PD

Across our personal conversations, social media feeds, and staff meetings, 2020 has loomed large. Between COVID, quarantining, and racial injustices, many days over the last year seemed relentless. For me, with this additional anxiety, I want to find places in my life that I can do something; how can I make this world I am living in slightly better?

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Reflections on my 1st year in Family Programs

Exactly a year ago, I took over the helm of Family Programming at my institution. Not even two weeks later we were sent home... and we haven’t returned to full in person operations since. My boxes remain unpacked under my desk after an entire year. These boxes are a metaphor for everything I had planned for my role and have yet to see come to fruition, or be able to unpack. 

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Revisioning the International Student Experience and Family Support

According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), in the 2018–19 academic year, over 1 million international students enrolled in institutions of higher education in the United States.  This number is double the 547,867 students who were enrolled 20 years prior in 2000–01.  It is estimated that international students add over $40 billion to the US economy each year.  Since World War II, the United States has been a top destination for international student enrollment.

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Ten Things to Consider When Pursuing a Ph.D. or Ed.D.

Our association is a community of family engagement experts, but did you know that we’re also a community of family engagement scholars? Many of our members have recently completed their Ph.D. or Ed.D. or are in the process of their doctoral work. Perhaps you’re deciding whether or not to “go back to school.” The following is a Top Ten Tips list to consider when deciding or preparing to pursue a doctorate.

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Groundhog Day at Home Edition

I hear the clock, it's 6am, I feel so far away from where I've been... I hear the clock, it's 6am, I feel so far away from where I've been...I hear the clock, it's 6am...

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Addressing Anti-racism with Families

Following the murder of George Floyd this summer, our Division of Student Affairs was charged with adding or enhancing anti-racisism work in every department.  For some, such as the Office of Housing and Residential Education, it was not a difficult task, as the department was already doing a marvelous job of comprehensive anti-racism programming and training with Resident Assistants and the on-campus population.

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Creating Lasting Community Partners & Sponsors

All of our universities exist within a community, from small and quaint to large and urban. Establishing bridges between the university and community can reap benefits for both entities, especially in parent programming.

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Active Minds: A Mental Health Resource for Students, Parents, Professionals, etc.

On our recent AHEPPP call, I was reminded of the importance of resources. Hopefully we have all been connecting with the resources on our campuses and those available remotely as well. One of the resources I was connected to early on by our Counseling and Psychological Services department in this crisis is the Active Minds website. There are not only articles that you can share, but there are also webinars that have been offered this week, including one today for "Young Adults, Parents, Remote Workers, Neighbors/Community Members" that might be of interest. You must sign up for the webinars, but they are free and you can sign up here.

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A Picture is Worth 1000 Words: Using Pictures to Get Your Message Out

If I had a dollar for every time a parent contacted our office saying, “This is the first time I’m hearing about this” or “Where was that information” or “I don’t think I ever received that email,” let’s just say I would be on the fast-track to retirement. In today’s busy world, campuses are continually challenged to find ways to get important information out to our student and parent/family populations in a timely, relevant and engaging fashion. As emails pile up and attention spans wane, enter the dynamic content options of social media. 

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Breathe Nolan

Five years ago, West Virginia University student Nolan Burch died due to alcohol-related hazing activities with a campus fraternity. His death shocked our campus and jump started conversations around Greek Life at WVU.

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Involving Parents in Sexual Assault Prevention

Involving families in the campus discussions about preventing sexual violence is necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s publication Preventing sexual violence on college campuses: Lessons from research and practice (2014) mentions as a principle of effective prevention, “Build on or support positive relationships: Prevention approaches that build on or foster positive relationships between students and their peers, families or communities may have better outcomes.”

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Parents, Ask Your Student These Questions

At Hofstra University, we have found that new college parents and family members are eager to hear and learn from our counseling professionals on appropriate parenting as their children transition to college. Dr. Merry McVey-Noble, assistant clinical director of Student Counseling Services at the Student Health and Counseling Center, Hofstra University explained to families in our workshop, How to Mentor Your Emerging Adult, that asking good questions is a great start. Here is some of her advice to parents:

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Making Inclusive Excellence a Priority in Parent and Family Programs: How We Started Our Journey at Clemson

We will start out by saying, creating a parent/ family program with inclusive excellence is a fluid and continuous process. We aren’t where we would like to be yet, but we have made significant improvements in the last few years.

To begin, here is a bit of context: Student Transitions and Family Programs at Clemson University took over retention programs for underrepresented students in 2014. At that time we had many conversations as a team on what this meant and how each and every staff member was going to need to critically examine what we were doing and what we could improve upon to strive for inclusive excellence.  We started to consistently look at what we were working on and would challenge ourselves to make it better. We were lucky to have experts in inclusive practices in our office space, and we utilized their thoughts and knowledge. At that time our unit consisted of underrepresented student retention, family programs, orientation, student leadership (for orientation and welcome week), and veteran and military programs. For the purpose of this post, we will focus on the overhauls we established within the parent and family programs unit. There were three major areas of focus: family publications, family events and our Parents’ Council (PC) (as you read through this post, you’ll notice this name changes).  

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Family Engagement During Welcome Week

As orientation season ends another begins, Welcome Week!  Many campuses are buzzing with fresh new faces of faculty, staff, and students.  Their optimistic attitudes about the possibilities of the fall semester, coupled with an eagerness to feel the spirit of campus pride, make this the most vibrant time of year! Welcome Week is a special time.  Welcome Week indicates that its the beginning of a new academic season.  It is also a time where colleges and universities typically have the attention of all its students.  Students often expect to be oriented at the beginning of the year through a host of events and activities that help remind them about the numerous resources and services available. 

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Sorority & Fraternity Life: Family Influence

I once had a friend, who is a police officer, joke that I must have made someone mad to have the responsibility of working with both parents and Greeks at Ohio State.  Though I had never really given that much thought, from an outside perspective, I can respect that opinion.  As we all know, many of our colleagues on campus have a skeptical view of family involvement in higher education.  When you couple that with the perception about sorority and fraternity communities and the reality of the major risk management issues these organizations have faced, I can understand the sentiment.  As you can guess from my story, I have the relatively unique position of working with both parent and family engagement and our sorority and fraternity community at Ohio State.  Though many family relations offices are in Student Affairs, I have not met many professionals who also directly work with student activities, especially sorority and fraternity life.  Though my role does have unique challenges (if your role doesn’t let me know if you’re hiring) it also offers unique opportunities to strategically engage families.

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A Mom's Approach to Move-In Day Poem

It’s that time of year…when parents are trying to navigate the mixed emotions that come along with launching their college students. Here’s a poem from AHEPPP Associate Member Kelly Radi that describes one mom’s approach to move-in day. She has generously offered to allow AHEPPP members to share it with your parents and families free of charge, as long as you cite Kelly Radi as the source, mention Out to Sea: A Parent’s Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage.

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Book Review: "They're Ready. Are You? A Parent's Guide to Surviving the College Transition" by Liz Yokubison

As a graduate student in Higher Education and a parent of three middle/high school students, Hanan offers her professional and personal view of this book.

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Book Review: The iConnected Parent Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up

For parents who don’t know how to stay involved with their college student, “The iConnected Parent” guides parents in building this connection by creating close communication and strong relationships. The authors—Abigail Sullivan Moore, a New York Times journalist, and Dr. Barbara K. Hofer, a researcher and psychology professor—provide information from a real data and professional research conducted at Middlebury College and University of Michigan. This book is a mixture of information and advice from professionals and parent experiences about how to stay connected while giving their children own space to grow up.  

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Getting Started in Partnering with your Development Office

Establishing a partnership with your campus development office can be key to providing resources to enhance your office and student success. Depending on your reporting structure and campus priorities, you may need to first determine where current partnerships exist. Check in with your supervisor to understand who in your division may already have existing relationships with development staff.

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Shine Your Light! The Importance of Our Work

I started the Office of Parent and Family Programs at Western Michigan University in 2006 and built it from the ground up. Prior to 2006, we had a dues-based Parents Association that had about 400 members. The current database of family members connected to the department is over 17,000 and it is now known as the Office of Family Engagement. I was a one-person office up until this past year when I was given a graduate assistant who works 20 hours per week. I am sharing this insight with you from the perspective of “lessons learned” in the hope that you can find a nugget of advice from my experience.

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