Parent and Family Programs

Strategic Plan

MISSION STATEMENT

The Office of Parent and Family Programs serves as a resource for parents by providing information and communications which support student success and student retention, encourage an appropriate role for parents within the University community, and that generate a long term relationship between families and the University community. In doing so, parents understand the student experience, embrace efforts that support student learning, and that empower students to take responsibility for the choices they make both in and out of the classroom.

2012-13 DEPARTMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS

Parent and Family Programs participated in another very successful AARO with Parent Panels spotlighting campus resources including the LEC, CAPS, the Chaplain's Office, and the Health Center. During two-days of Move-In, the Mothers' and Dads' Clubs "warmly welcomed" new students and their families at three Thirst Aid Stations and two "rolling" stations dispensing cold drinks, maps to area restaurants and stores, and friendly advice from experienced parents. Mustang Cookout, the all-campus picnic at the end of Move-In, featured live music and a welcome by President Turner, and gave families an opportunity to meet other first year parents and students and to meet the Corral Leaders. Family Weekend 2012 featured a fun-filled luncheon sponsored by the Mothers’ Club highlighting life “Down on the Board Walk” while the Game Day barbecue, always with an over-flow crowd, was hosted by the SMU Dads’ Club. Cloudy skies and a constant deluge of rain didn’t dampen any Mustang spirits as the event was moved into Hughes-Trigg, but as someone said, “Sonny Bryan’s BBQ is good wherever you are!” Outreach and support to minority parents at individual events during Family Weekend was evident at the NPHC Fish Fry, the Mi Familia Luncheon, and Asian Council’s Dinner and Fashion Show. The Mothers' and Dads' Clubs successful gift campaign supported new initiatives in the Chaplain's Office, t-shirts for Mustang Corral, the Mustang Band at Pigskin Review, trophies for SMU Sing Song, a Student Emergency Fund administered through the Dean of Student Life Office, Real Conversations sponsored by Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Caswell Leadership Endowment. Departmental publications and communications (Parent Handbook, Parent Calendar, website, etc.) continue to reach out to parents and one-on-one phone calls and email communications provide advice and support to parents/families regarding their students both in and out of the classroom. This office continues to be at the forefront of campus departments reaching out to Hispanic students and their families with two Spanish translated publications. Efforts to diversify the Mothers' and Dads' Boards continue to be successful, and the Latin@ Parent Network is celebrating it's third year of operation. Attendance at national conventions included the second annual Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Program Professionals (AHEPPP) meeting in the Fall and two meetings of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Board Meetings as an Alternate Delegate and member of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Standards and Guidelines Revision Committee as well as the Orientation Standards and Guidelines Revision Committee. In addition, during the 2012-13 school year, there were significant positive steps toward building supportive relationships with SMU's undergraduate veterans, including three outreach efforts that lead to these students meeting important campus resources, building important networking opportunities with fellow students through box drives and an event at the flagpole for Valentine’s Day, and to the group completing the requirements to become an official SMU chartered student organization for military veterans.

DEPARTMENTAL CHALLENGES

  • Communicating with parents and families when email addresses are changed so often
  • Syncing SMU's Development database of parent information with Mothers' and Dads' Club membership information
  • Outreach to first generation families during AARO when they are very hesitant to self identify
  • Helping parents and families realize the importance of having tough conversations with their students before they come to college

DEPARTMENTAL GOALS

Student Success

Parent and Family Programs: (Ongoing with each new class of first year students)

  • Work with parents/families to help them understand the student experience, to support student learning both in and out of the classroom, and to empower students to take personal responsibility for their social and academic choices. In addition, serve as liaison with the SMU Mothers' and Dads' Clubs in programs and activities that support student success and enhance the campus experience for both students and their families.
  • Expand outreach efforts to the parents and families of first generation and other high-risk students as well as the parents and families of SMU's minority population.

Veteran Students:

  • Provide support and services to SMU's undergraduate military veterans, reservists and active-duty military as they make the transition from active duty military to college life.

Student Learning

Parent and Family Programs: (Ongoing with each new class of first year students)

  • Work with parents/families to understand the importance of students examining their personal values and learning about the beliefs and values of others and to understand the long-term benefits for students who seek out new experiences for both their personal and professional growth. Educate parents about support services available to students on campus and when to "step in" to help if necessary.

Veteran Students:

  • Support and assist the new student organization of military veterans with the creation of their group, the ongoing organization and application toward Chartered Organization status, and their maturation as a unique leadership and developmental opportunity for this special population.

Exemplary Division of Student Affairs

Parent and Family Programs:

  • Represent the Division of Student Affairs in welcoming parents/families to the University and serve as a resource for parents and families when questions or problems arise regarding their student's life both in and out of the classroom. Enhanced tracking of parent calls and emails will enable departments within the University to be more aware and, in turn, increasingly responsive to parental concerns and issues.

Veteran Students:

  • Serve as a liaison with other offices and departments on campus to ease the transition for student veterans coming to campus - making SMU known as a campus that is at all times veteran friendly!