February 2017

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 alt

It was great to see many of you in Boulder last November for the annual AHEPPP conference. I learned so much from you! I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you as your new AHEPPP President. As a parent and family programs professional and long-time AHEPPP member, I cannot think of a higher honor than to lead the premier association for our field. Moreover, I cannot think of a better group of professionals with whom I would want to collaborate and grow. A special thank you to Brian Watkins, our immediate Past President, for providing our association with a clear path forward by forging our strategic plan and other great initiatives! 

My priorities as President are:

  1. To listen to you, AHEPPP members.
  2. To further the goals of the strategic plan AHEPPP2020. Come, join one of its great teams: Research & Assessment, Membership & Outreach, Education, and Partnerships.
  3. To develop well-documented Promising Practices in parent and family relations and publish them on our site. Currently, our Promising Practices team is asking you to submit your examples of good practices on the following topics: webinars, social media and websites; student wellbeing and alcohol; engaging families in sexual violence prevention; serving families of students with disabilities; collaboration of the career services and family programs; first generation families; transition to college; family orientation; and serving transfer students and families. Please submit your good programs, policies, and publications at our Promising Practices page (details below) or email me.

I welcome you to email me at [email protected] or call me at 516-463-7055 to ask a question, give a suggestion, or just to chat.

As we begin 2017, we are excited for what this year holds! Please save the date for our national conference in Dallas, Texas, taking place on November 13-15, 2017 and consider submitting an educational program. The call for programs will go out soon! Thank you, Kerri Fowler, of NC State University for leading an amazing group of professionals on the Conference Committee!

Best wishes for a great spring semester,

Branka Kristic
President, Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Programs Professionals (AHEPPP)
Director, Parent and Family Programs, Hofstra University

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 AHEPPP Promising Practices

Why go it alone when so many Parent and Family Programs professionals have already implemented your next initiative? AHEPPP is here to support you in making your program the best it can be. To that end, a team of your AHEPPP colleagues is working on a comprehensive library of research-based and proven Parent and Family Programs Promising Practices that will be available to all AHEPPP members. This online library will include topics such as: 

Parent and Family Websites
Family Weekend
First Generation Students and Families
Parent and Family Orientation/Transition to College
Parent Councils/Advisory Boards
International Families
Move-in Events for Families
Parent Fundraising
Involving Families in Sexual Violence Prevention Efforts
Social Media and Families
Career Education and Families
Serving Families of Students with Disabilities
Loss of Life Protocol

Each topic will include an executive summary with links to more in-depth information, a literature review of relevant research, recommended practices for implementation, and a resource list. A standard template for Promising Practices submission is posted on the AHEPPP website. Promising Practice topics will be added as they are reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors.

We welcome your Promising Practice submissions, suggestions for additional topics and your active involvement if you are interested in serving on the Promising Practices review team. Contact Branka Kristic ([email protected]) or Shari Glaser ([email protected]) for more information.

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 2016 AHEPPP National Conference Recap alt

The 5th national conference of the Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Program Professionals (AHEPPP) was held on November 14-16, 2016 in Boulder, CO. This was the second annual conference of AHEPPP as the organization shifted from a biennial to an annual model two years ago. This was the third time the conference has been held in Boulder and marked a return to the St Julien Hotel & Spa, the site of the first national conference. This year AHEPPP experienced both a record number of conference attendees and institutional members. Over 200 people attended the conference and our membership rose to 180 colleges and universities (which includes almost 400 campus-based professionals). We offered our highest number of educational programs to date and are pleased to report conference satisfaction ratings are on the rise.

Did you know? You can access the 2016 Conference Educational Programs online!

2017 Award Winners

A highlight of the AHEPPP experience is learning from peer institutions and colleagues. As the premier association for Parent/Family Program Professionals, AHEPPP is pleased to recognize outstanding programs and service at our Annual Conference. Congratulations to our 2016 winners who truly are Elevating Engagement with Parents & Families. Application information for the 2017 will be available this summer.

Best Institutional Initiative

Best Institutional Initiative, Large 
Virginia Commonwealth University – Beyond Orientation: Partnering for Success in Today’s University

Best Institutional Initiative, Medium
Wake Forest University  The Daily Deac 

Best Institutional Initiative, Small 
Gonzaga University – 21st Birthday Program

Excellence in Publication Awards

Excellence in Publication, Handbook/Calendar  Parent & Family Guide - Auburn University 

Excellence in Publication, Magazine  JWU Family Connection - Johnson and Wales University 

Excellence in Publication, Newsletter  The BULLetin - University of South Florida

Excellence in Publication, Video  Sam Houston State University 

Powerful Partnership Award
Sam Houston State University for the creation of the SHSU Parents’ Association 
(a partnership between Parent Relations Office and Alumni Relations Office)

Outstanding Contribution to Research and/or Literature
Parent and Family Engagement in Higher Education (2015)Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, Dr. Casandra Harper, Delma Ramos, David Aguayo, Laura Page and Kathy Adams Riester, University of Arizona

Outstanding Undergraduate/Graduate Student
Haydee Reyes, Ft Hayes State University

Outstanding New Professional
Anthonia Edgren, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo

Outstanding Professional
Sharon Brownlow, Kennesaw State University 

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Congratulations to the 2017 Conference Committee!

The 2017 Conference Planning Committee has been selected from a very qualified pool of applicants. Thank you to all who applied for your commitment to AHEPPP and Parent/Family Programs! 

Conference Chair     
Kerri Fowler - Assistant Director, Parents & Families Services, NC State University

Awards Selection      
Nicki Jenkins - Assistant Director of New Student & Family Programs/Coordinator of the PFA, University of Kentucky

Conference City Representative     
Libby Daggers - Associate Coordinator, New Student & Family Programs, Texas A&M University

Conference Assessment      
Allison Dodson - Director of Parent & Family Services, Appalachian State University

Educational Programming Co- Chairs 
Alex Brown - Senior Director, Parent and Family Programs, University of California, Los Angeles
Lynanne Yndestad - Director of New Student and Family Programs, Virginia Commonwealth University

Hospitality Co-Chairs           
Tess Gibson - Coordinator, Parent & Family Programs, Auburn University
Sabrina Cave - Assistant Vice President, Parent Program, West Virginia University

Marketing & Social Media   
Christine Self - Associate Director, Parent & Family Relations, Texas Tech University

Pre-Conference Co-Chairs  
Heather Levesque - Director of New Student & Family Programs, East Tennessee State University
Cyndy Hill - Director, Penn State Parents Program, Pennsylvania State University

Strategic Partnership Co-Chairs     
Arie Gee - Assistant Director for Family Programs and Engagement, University of Florida
Fritzie Charne-Merriweather - Special Assistant to the VP for Student Affairs, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Volunteers & Recognition    Paige Kegley - Associate Director of New Student and Family Programs, Clemson University



Mark your calendars for November 13-15, 2017, when AHEPPP takes on Dallas! The Conference will take place at the historic and newly renovated Adolphus Hotel



 Membership Spotlight

AHEPPP has a geographically diverse membership of more than 180 institutional members. In each newsletter one or two members or a board member will be featured. This month get to know our newest Board of Director member, Chelsea Petree.

altName: Chelsea Petree
 St. Paul, MN
Hobbies: travel; cooking; reading; crocheting; spoiling my nieces

Current Institution: Rochester Institute of Technology
AHEPPP Involvement: Member since 2010; Journal editor; 2016 Conference Planning Committee; Research & Assessment Committee

Q: Tell us how you first started working in the field of parent relations.
A: I was working on my PhD in the Family Social Science field (expecting to go the faculty route) when thanks to a good connection, I stumbled upon a Research Assistant role with Marj Savage and the Parent Program at Minnesota. Before I knew it, my career path had changed and here I am!

Q: What do you love about the field of parent/family relations?
A: I love that I get to do such a wide variety of things in my job. Communications, events, research, discovering new ways to engage parents—every day is new and interesting.

Q: What has surprised you most about working with parents and family members?
A: How different parental involvement is since I was a college student myself in the early 2000s. It’s interesting how quickly the field has grown to what it is now.  

Q: What advice do you have for new professionals in this field?
A: Get connected—both across your campus and with your colleagues nationally and regionally. Get in front of as many of your campus partners as you can to explain your work and your goals; build partnerships from day one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of more seasoned parent/family program professionals—we love to share ideas.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working with parents and families of students?
A: Reframing norms and long-standing beliefs about parent involvement on campus and in the community. Continuously defending and defining my role when people don’t understand. (One of the best parts, though, is overcoming this challenge and helping colleagues better understand the important role families play in our students’ lives!)

Q: What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about current parents and families of college students?
A: Parents are our partners. We all have the same goal, and parents help us deliver our messages. When a parent is “difficult,” they are likely just concerned about their student. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen. Sometimes parents need to hear that they are doing a good job. 

Q: What changes do you think we will see in the field of parent/family relations in the next 5 years?
A:  Good question! I think we will have to make new adjustments with our work as a new generation of parents—with different values surrounding parent involvement—begin to send students to college.

Q: What excites you most about AHEPPP in 2017?
A: I am very excited about being the newest member of the AHEPPP Board and contributing to our field and supporting my colleagues.     

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Upcoming Conferences/ Events

FREE Webinar - Engaging Families of College Students with Disabilities
Webinar co-presented by AHEPPP and Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 2 p.m. EST
The webinar will discuss the challenges of navigating through the transition from entitlement services to access resources as the students with disabilities progress to postsecondary education. The focus will be on effective partnering with parents and families to help their students succeed. The presenters will discuss promising practices at the institutions of higher education, especially those programs that enable family members to empower their students with disabilities to become better self-advocates and to develop life management skills. Register here

AHEPPP at NASPA Sunday March 12, 2017 | San Antonio, Texas
Parent and Family PreConference, 9 a.m.-12p.m. 
Please join AHEPPP President Branka Kristic and Past-President Brian Watkins for a sponsored session on Proactive and Responsive Communication with Parents and Families

AHEPPP at ACPA Convention March 26 – 29, 2017 | Columbus, Ohio
Please join Dr. Jamie Patton, AHEPPP Board of Directors member, as he discusses Engaging Parents & Families as Participants in Student Retention of Underrepresented Populations

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In the News: What You May Have Missed

As a busy professional, you may not always make the time to read every article about parents or catch every new resource available to families, so we've included a few that we think are worth reading.

Why So Many College Students Decide to Transfer
Business is the Most Popular College Major, but...
Ask Amy: College Student Resents Parental Interference
Ten Ways for Parents Not to Behave in the College Admissions Process

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Stay In Touch

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Does your campus have a fun and innovative way to keep families connected? Share it with us by emailing [email protected]