Partnering with parents

The Student Life Office has established new opportunities for parents to get more involved and connect with their students and campus

New programs aim to get parents involved

There are new ways for parents and guardians of UWL students to get more involved on campus.

Sarah Joslyn

The Student Life Office has established three opportunities for parents to get more involved. Office staff are also planning activities to help parents connect more with their students and campus. Sarah Joslyn, First Year Experience Coordinator, has worked to expand connections with parents to be more than monthly email messages.

“It’s important for us to understand what they need and expect from us,” Joslyn explains. “It’s a way to enhance our interaction with parents. We’re partnering with them to make college a great experience for them and their student.”

For the first time, parents and guardians of all students have been invited to become involved in three engagement opportunities.

First, all parents are automatically in the university’s Parent Association. Joslyn hopes this open invitation will help them feel comfortable and welcome.

“We want your opinions,” she tells parents. “We want you to feel that this is your home as well.”

“It’s important for us to understand what they need and expect from us,” Joslyn explains. “It’s a way to enhance our interaction with parents. We’re partnering with them to make college a great experience for them and their student.”

Joslyn also invites them to serve on the Parent Advisory Board, which will meet twice annually with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. They will also be asked to encourage and support parental involvement in campus activities. “Along with sharing their own opinions, we hope they will reach out to other parents as well,” she explains.

Parents will also have an option to become Parent Ambassadors, where they will volunteer at UWL gatherings and advocate for UWL back in their home areas. “We hope they will be able to assist with some of our events too,” she notes.

Joslyn says parents are excited about the new opportunities. “We’ve had a number of applications come in already,” she says just days after the initial invitation was sent.

Feedback from parents has been positive and aligns with reasons the Student Life Office started the parental options, says Joslyn. “It really showcases why we wanted to do this,” she says.

Joslyn worked with graduate student intern Leanne Kruse earlier this year to gather best practices and ideas for programs and initiatives that support parent engagement. They pulled together those that lined up with UWL initiatives.

“We’ve created our parent programs around best practices and what we want families to get out of their experience,” she says.

Parents interested in taking part in the groups can find more information online.

Parents and others are encouraged to attend Family Weekend, Oct. 12-14. Get complete details online.