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Parent Email—March 23, 2011

  • Guatemala Trip Report
  • Studying Students: Freshmen and Seniors
  • Financial Update
  • Safety Messages
  • Update on U's Strategic Positioning
  • Miscellaneous

Most years, when students return from spring break, we see a lot of tans, flip flops, and shorts. This year--not so much. Cold, rain, and snow put a damper on those bare toes and legs. The Northrop Mall webcam will keep you updated.

Guatemala Trip Report

During Spring Break, the University Parent Program, the U's Learning Abroad Center, and Common Hope, a community-based non-profit organization, sent the first-ever team of U of M students, parents, and siblings to Antigua, Guatemala, for a service learning experience. While in Antigua, the team built a house, visited families in their homes, taught in the schools, and learned first-hand about Guatemalan family life. Photos from the trip are posted on the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. Discussions are underway about service learning trips for students and families for next year.

Studying Students: Freshmen and Seniors

First-year students and seniors have been invited to participate in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The University is asking parents to contribute to the University's knowledge base by encouraging their first- and last-year students to take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Data from the NSSE and other surveys are used to help assess programs and academic policies, improve the student experience and campus climate, in external reports for accountability and accreditation, and in research to help determine factors related to student success on this campus. If students have lost their login id they can request another by clicking here.

Financial Update

Students who have an outstanding balance for tuition, fees, housing, and other University charges received their third billing by email on March 19. The final payment is due April 13. For details on payments, please see the billing and payment schedule.

This week's "tip of the week" from the Live Like a Student Now (so you don't have to later) campaign is "Check all the transactions listed in your monthly financial account activity. If you find a suspicious charge, dispute it with your financial institution immediately."

Safety Messages

A campus safety campaign will be running throughout the rest of the academic year, focusing on those moments where something just doesn't feel right. The campaign is directed at risky drinking, sexual violence and personal safety, and poster messages tend to be edgy and thought provoking. Students were involved with the development of messaging and provided insights on what would get students' attention and encourage action. The campaign kicked off this week with University Police sharing doughnuts and coffee with students.

Update on U's Strategic Positioning

The Provost's Office has released a report on the University's progress on its strategic plan since 2004. Some highlights of the report: undergraduate applications have more than doubled from 18,500 to 39,000; total financial aid to Twin Cities undergraduate students increased from $208 million in 2004–05 to $311 million in 2009–10; the U had 13 doctoral programs rank within the top 5, 19 programs within the top 10, and 45 programs within the top 25 in the country, according to a 2010 National Research Council assessment. For more information, download the full report (PDF).


I will be out of the office from March 24 to April 20 on a professional staff exchange with the Australian National University. Messages sent to will be answered while I'm gone.

Please respond to the Question of the Month for March.


Marjorie Savage
Parent Program Director
University of Minnesota