June 2019

In this Issue

We would love your feedback! Send us suggestions, member profile nominations and job postings. Please email us at [email protected].

President's Perspectives

Greetings AHEPPP family, friends and collaborators, 

As I write this, I’m thinking of those of you who are in the midst of orienting families to your campus and supporting families as they transition to their new role -- one that feels like a spectator to their student’s experience. If you are not in the throws of orientation, I’m certain you're planning for family weekends, editing newsletters and publications and, and, and… What I’m trying to say is that I see you and I know you all are working tirelessly to support families across the globe. What I hope for all of you is that during your busy summer, you take a moment to yourselves and reflect on the great work you are doing, while you daydream of Portland in November where you will be surrounded by colleagues who “get you.” This year’s conference is already shaping up to be stellar. The conference committee is in the process of creating the best conference yet. They are well on their way with a record number of program proposals submitted! I’m so grateful you all are ready and willing to share your great work with others in November and I can’t wait to learn and grow alongside you. 

I had my own moment of "being together" with the Board of Directors in February where I felt recharged by those who just “get us.” I use the word US because AHEPPP is all of us. The Board spent time together reframing AHEPPP priorities and we focused on the concept of “simplify and go” which is a phrase I’m stealing from our Portland Keynote Speaker from Nike, Greg Bui. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, we have an incredible foundation and are now moving forward with four pillars to anchor and focus on for the next 15 months. The board is dedicated to new growth in membership engagement, partnerships and supporting more regional opportunities. We plan to showcase this plan during the conference in November as well as create our first ever annual report to be shared with you. We are thrilled that all of US will be able to say that we had a hand in moving AHEPPP forward.

Some of the ways in which these pillars are taking shape:

  • To improve and maintain awareness of the AHEPPP brand as THE industry expert.
  • To increase the financial health of the association and ultimately provide more resources which would contribute to identification as “experts.”
  • Ensure AHEPPP becomes and remains the “first stop” for industry resources and services, thus ensuring retention of current members. 
  • To provide regional support and comprehensive regional events to support members at the regional level. Please continue to share your greatness and gifts with each other by attending the conference, asking or sharing an idea or a question in the Facebook group, or in an Insights blog

In closing, may I suggest checking in with one other. Our offices are often comprised of only a few individuals or maybe only yourself. During these times we should reach out to our AHEPPP colleagues and friends to help all of us feel re-energized!  I know I’ve received a few calls lately from some of you and I was reminded how important this work is when we are doing it together.


Humbled and honored,


Amy Swank
President, AHEPPP: Family Engagement in Higher Education 
Director, Parent and Family Relations - Gonzaga University 

2019 National Conference Update


Call for Awards

It is time to start nominating yourself, your colleagues, and your students for the 2019 AHEPPP Awards! You could WIN A FREE MEMBERSHIP or RENEWAL to AHEPPP: Family Engagement in Higher Education. alt

The AHEPPP National Conference provides our association with the opportunity to recognize some of the shining stars and promising practices in the profession. The Awards Selection Committee invites nominations for our annual awards. Nominate your institution, a deserving colleague, and/or yourself! This is not the time to be humble. We know all AHEPPP members do outstanding work that is worth recognition. Feel free to nominate yourself!

Award submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. EST, September 8, 2019.

Nominations submitted by August 1, 2019, will be placed into a drawing to win a year's membership to AHEPPP for your institution, which includes access for up to four professionals on your campus. If you have already renewed your membership for 2019 by the deadline, the credit will apply for 2020. The drawing will take place on August 2, 2019, and the winner will be notified via email. Board of Director member institutions are not eligible for the drawing.

Award Categories, past winners, and submission details available here

Register Today

Early Bird registration discounts end August 1! 

The conference begins the evening of Monday, November 4 with a Welcome Reception and concludes the evening of Wednesday, November 6 with an Awards Dinner. A tentative schedule of the event is available here

Located in the heart of Portland’s business and entertainment district and one block from the MAX Light Rail system, the Hilton Portland Downtown hotel offers easy access to top attractions and restaurants. Relax in one of their newly redesigned rooms featuring 65-inch HDTVs and spectacular views of downtown Portland. (Please note that rooms may not be equipped with a refrigerator.)

AHEPPP has reserved a limited block of rooms for conference attendees. Please reserve your room at your earliest convenience:


Apply to be the 2020 National Conference Chair


The AHEPPP 2020 Conference will take place in Orlando, Florida November 16-18.  Having a strong and dedicated Conference Chair is essential to the success of our conference. The Board of Directors invites AHEPPP members to apply for this position. Applications are due by July 30, 2019. 

Click here to apply.

Applications for other positions on the 2020 AHEPPP Conference Committee will be available directly after the 2019 Conference in Portland, OR.


Updated CAS Standards 

We all want to do the best job we can to serve students and their families. CAS provides standards of professional practice in Parent & Family Programing to guide our work to create programs and services that foster student learning, development, and success.To that end, CAS has recently released a collection of products anchored by the 10th edition of the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education. To address changes in higher education since the 9th edition, the 10th edition includes significant revisions to the CAS General Standards found in each set of functional area standards. Many functional area standards have been updated with the revised general standards. CAS is more than just standards. They also develop and disseminate a number of other resources to support the use of the standards and implement self-assessment. Additional CAS products include updated individual Self-Assessment Guides (SAGs), Cross-Functional Frameworks, the Multi-Functional Area Guide, Do-It-Yourself CAS Self-Studies.

For institutions interested in having the most current CAS resources, CAS has launched an annual subscription. The subscription includes: 

  • access to all SAGs and any new or revised sets of functional area standards for one year 
  • Cross-Functional Frameworks and any newly created frameworks during the year 
  • the Do-It-Yourself guide
  • the Multi-Functional Review guide
  •  Functional Area Resource Papers, as well as any additional resources published during the year.

Also available is a package that includes a complete set of the functional area standards self-assessment guides. Information and purchasing details for each of these products can be found at

Recently revised with help from our expert members, all AHEPPP members have access to the CAS Parent & Family Program Standards. Your AHEPPP login is required. 

AHEPPP Insights

AHEPPP Insights is a space to connect on all things related to parents & families of college students and how to best serve them as campus administrations, faculty and practitioners. Please enjoy this sampling from June 2019 by Shari Glaser of Western Michigan University. 

altI 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.

I worked tirelessly (as we all do) to build my program. As practitioners, we have two main avenues of reaching families and building lasting relationships – speaking to large groups (orientation, recruiting events, scholarship competitions, etc.) and working with individual families and students to address and resolve specific issues and concerns. The “big” events require that we work with other areas of the institution to include us in active roles, such as admissions and the orientation office. I spent much of my time in the early years building bridges with these and other offices so that Family Engagement (me) could present to and get in front of prospective and incoming families. In these encounters, I shared personal experiences with my own kids to build trust and authenticity, emphasizing the care and support that students and families would find at WMU and my approach resonated with our families. They appreciate my honesty and my commitment to serving them.

In my one-on-one communications with families, I learned to listen from the heart, asking probing questions, and showing compassion (with patience!) for each question, problem, or challenge presented…and I do my best to find an equitable resolution. I document each exchange in detail, so I have the information for any follow up that might be needed down the road.

I DO A GOOD JOB! These five words are incredibly difficult for me to say or write. They sound boastful and self-serving and that’s not who I am. For those of you in a one-person or small office, you likely understand my discomfort with singing one’s own praises. It is difficult to separate the person from the office or the office from the person, especially if you started the program from scratch. While I take much pride in the impact I have on the lives of our students and families, it doesn’t feel comfortable to talk about it.

I am retiring from my position this month and sadly, engaging with and supporting families has been assigned to a colleague who already has an overflowing plate of responsibilities. Family Engagement will no longer continue as a stand-alone office. This was a huge blow to the many years I have devoted to building a strong and solid program. Yet upon reflection, I bear much of the responsibility for this decision, because I was reluctant to share my successes and “shine my light” about my accomplishments.

Here’s my life lesson for the day: Let your colleagues and your leadership know what you are doing to serve your families and students. Share your successes widely and consistently. Whatever data you are collecting and documenting – questions of the month, surveys, individual communications, attendee feedback at your presentations – make sure others know what you are doing and how your work is impacting student recruitment and retention, as well as building affinity for the institution. Let others know how they can support you to be more effective and also find ways to intersect with other areas to support their efforts.

We know the value of our work with families. We live it every day. We also live in an environment of data-based decision making and budget reductions. Broadcast your successes widely and make sure everyone on your campus is well-informed so you can ensure the continuity of your legacy. Your families will thank you for it because they need you and the dedicated services you provide.

Job Postings

AHEPPP is happy to post job openings for all institutions regardless of membership. Positions will be posted on the website, posted in our members-only Facebook group and will emailed out to the AHEPPP membership. The cost is free and job information can be posted by emailing [email protected]. Positions will be posted for 60 days unless otherwise noted or requested.

Assistant Director of Center for Student Involvement (Orientation and Transition Programs), Otterbein University
Prospect Data Researcher, Alumni & Parent Relations, University of Portland
Associate Director, Parent and Family Engagement, American University 
Associate Director of Alumni Engagement, Hiatt Career Center, Brandeis University
Manager Parents Association, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stay In Touch

The AHEPPP: Family Engagement in Higher Education office has moved. As of July 1, mail should be sent to:

4409 Hoffner Avenue
# 324
Orlando, Florida 32812

Don't worry if you have your dues or conference payments already in the mail, it will be forwarded. 

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