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Parent Email–September 25, 2013

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

September 25, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Messages from President Kaler and Provost Hanson
  • Parents Weekend: Register by October 1
  • Info Session on Winter Break Study Abroad
  • Health Careers Week & Health Careers Fair
  • Financial Update
  • Concerts on the Mall
  • Parents' Role in Student Success
  • University of Minnesota Police Department
  • Miscellaneous

It's Homecoming Week, and there are activities and events popping up all around campus. To get a glimpse of what's happening on campus, check the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. And while we're talking about social media, let's also mention the University of Minnesota Parent Program Pinterest site.

Messages from President Kaler and Provost Hanson

Although the University of Minnesota is often considered large and decentralized, staff, faculty, and students are working together to implement dramatic changes and to address concerns across the University. President Eric Kaler and Provost Karen Hanson recently launched an aggressive Strategic Planning process with hopes for bold and timely outcomes. A campus-wide workgroup has been named to develop the vision, mission, values, goals, and strategies for the next strategic plan, and a Strategic Planning page has been established to follow the process as it unfolds. There, you'll find the President's recent presentation to the Board of Regents about his vision for the University over the next five to 10 years.

As evidence of what the University can do through campus collaborations, the U of M has been chosen as one of two finalists for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' (APLU) first-ever Most Visible Progress National Degree Completion Trailblazer Award. The APLU designed this award to recognize universities that are, through conscientious attention and concerted educational efforts, successfully retaining and graduating students. We wanted to share the video that the University was asked to produce for the November APLU award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Parents Weekend: Register by October 1

The registration deadline for Parents Weekend is October 1. Parents Weekend will include activities to help you understand your student's experience at the U of M and to give you more information about the University's support services for students. You will be able to participate in

  • tours of the SMART Learning Commons and of the new Recreation and Wellness Center;
  • workshops on the U's career planning services, the use of Strengths in supporting student success, and student wellness promotion on campus;
  • open houses sponsored by the colleges, to help parents better understand college support systems;
  • and a workshop on Learning Abroad.

We also will feature a program presented by the College of Liberal Arts designed to teach parents and students how to investigate the world from new perspectives. A new component of Parents Weekend this year is a Housing workshop to help with the decision on where students will live next year--on campus or off. We will have concurrent sessions to address questions that arise for students currently living off  campus and for families of commuter students.

For fun—and for great prizes—the Parents Weekend Carnival will showcase student groups, local businesses, and University services. Among the prizes that will be given away during the Parents Weekend Carnival:

  • One-night stay at the Commons Hotel,
  • one-night stay at the Days Hotel,
  • four tickets in the President's seats to a Gopher men's basketball game,
  • $50 gift card to the University of Minnesota Bookstore,
  • one free pizza a week for a year from Papa John's,
  • tickets to the Science Museum of Minnesota,
  • one month of unlimited yoga from Coreyoga.

In addition, we will give away gift cards to several local businesses such as: Qdoba, Kafe 421, Raising Cane's, Al's Breakfast, Bordertown Coffee, Chilly Billy's, The Tea Garden, and Noodles and Company.

So be sure to register!

Info Session on Winter Break Study Abroad

Students can spend three weeks during winter break learning and traveling in New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, or Qatar. The courses will examine an interdisciplinary theme, students will travel with other U of M students, and they will earn 3 credits. Find out more at an information session on Friday, September 27, from 3-4 p.m. in STSS Room 117. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities will also be discussed.

Health Careers Week & Health Careers Fair

Students considering a major in a health career field can explore a wide variety of health career options and talk to admissions staff and current students. Health Careers Week runs September 30 through October 4 with events every day. The 11th annual Heath Careers Fair is Wednesday, October 9, from 1-4 p.m. in the Great Hall at Coffman Union.

Financial Update

The first bill for fall semester 2013 was sent to students through their University email account on September 7 and will be due October 2. Find information on how to Pay the University, as well as future billing dates and deadlines.

Concerts on the Mall

Northrop will present a free outdoor concert series on select afternoons and evenings in September and October. Music on the Plaza will include free food, beverages, and prize drawings from various local vendors. For a full schedule, see Northrop.

Parents' Role in Student Success

In our recent parent emails, we have been discussing the University of Minnesota's Parent/Family Outcomes, which are intended to facilitate discussion about appropriate and successful family involvement during the college years. The University of Minnesota believes that family members play a significant role in student success.

For several years, the media has been creating unfortunate labels for parents of college students. Parents are called names ranging from helicopters, who are said to hover over their children, to lawnmower parents who mow down anything in their student's path; submarine parents who lurk under the surface, pop up to attack, then disappear again; stealth bomber parents who destroy anything interfering with their student's life; and most recently Tiger Moms, who fiercely protect and train their children.

We want you to know that we see very few U of M parents who could be described as overly involved in their student's life. In fact, in recent years, we've been more concerned about parents who are becoming so cautious of being labelled as a helicopter that, in some cases, they are avoiding involvement when their student might truly need their help.

That line between being too involved and not involved enough can be difficult for families to walk. If you're wondering whether to step back or step in, consider the following questions:

  • Can your student learn something by handling this situation independently? (If yes, leave it up to your student.)
  • Is this something that most college-aged students could handle? (If yes, leave it up to your student.)
  •  Does your student have a mental or physical health condition that prevents him/her from being able to handle the situation? (If no, leave it up to your student.)
  • Did your student ask you to be involved? (If no, leave it up to your student.)

Parents help when they listen to their student's concerns, then encourage their son or daughter to independently contact the appropriate resources, set priorities, and take action.

University of Minnesota Police Department

The University has its own professional police department, which is part of a larger Department of Public Safety for the campus. Public Safety also includes the departments of Emergency Management, Central Security, and Public Safety Emergency Communications 911 Center. UMPD recently released an annual report that describes the department and highlights divisions within the department.


As a land grant, research university, the U of M conducts research and develops new knowledge to address complex problems that affect people and resources around the world. As an example of the work the University is doing, this interactive map provides a sample of the projects just one college within the U—the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences—conducted throughout the world in summer 2013.

It wouldn't be a University Parent email without providing a link to the Northrop Mall webcam (thanks to College of Science and Engineering). Click on the link to find out what's happening on central campus right now.

And we want to remind you to respond to the September Parent Question of the Month.