Parent Update

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Greetings to our Parent and Family Association membership!

We hope you and your family are enjoying these beautiful summer days.

We would like to welcome you if you are receiving the Parent Update e-newsletter for the very first time and, if you are a continuing subscriber, you will note some differences in our format.

We are launching a new blog-style format to improve the ease of access and also as a way for our readers to comment or ask questions. Our new format will also enable us to quickly communicate information we believe parents and family members need to know outside our regular publications.

You can expect to receive Parent Update three or four times throughout the year; we hope you enjoy reading about events and information about the University ... and feel free to comment or ask questions.

Have a great summer and we'll see you in the fall!

Registration events a success

In May and June we welcomed over 375 new families to campus to kick off the beginning of their student’s college career. This year’s Inside St. Kate’s new student registration events were filled with people, questions, answers and great positive energy.

During the day-long events, students and parents had an opportunity to:

  • Connect with departments, programs and services

  • Gather information about the registration process and select classes for fall term

  • Understand the next steps in the financial aid process

  • Take a tour of residence halls and other campus buildings

Registration events are coordinated by many different offices on campus, including Admissions, Academic Advising and Student Center & Activities.

We are looking forward to welcoming all students and parents back to campus when Orientation begins Sept. 6. Have a great summer!

Parent and Family Orientation: "Prepare to Launch" Sept. 6

Save this date! As your daughter enters the University, join us for a lively, engaging and witty program that will make you laugh and touch heart. Shanan Wexler, an accomplished actress in the Twin Cities, member of the St. Kate’s faculty and a St. Catherine alumna, will lead this unique program, Prepare to Launch, designed to provide parents with helpful resources for supporting and encouraging your daughter during her transition to University life.

The parent and family program will take place from 3–4:30 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium. It will be followed by an official student send-off in Our Lady of Victory Chapel for your entire family. Plan to spend the day with us!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (Ellen Richter-Norgel, director of student retention and co-chair of the Parent and Family Association - or (651) 690-8730).

Survey results: You asked, we told

This past spring, the Parent and Family Association conducted an online survey to assess the ways in which the association was serving its members. Eighty-two families responded to our survey. They represented parents from first-year, sophomore, junior and senior students. Five percent of the respondents had students who were attending classes on the Minneapolis campus.

Methods of communication
Parents told us that they most appreciated receiving the Parent Update newsletter, that the Parent and Family Association website was heavily utilized and that the website easily connected them to other information about the University. In fact, 92 percent of the respondents indicated that the overall quality of the website was “excellent” to “good.”

Parent Speaker Series
Sixty-eight percent of the respondents knew about our year-long speaker series. However, only 15 percent of the respondents were able to access these events. When asked about the best time to offer our speaker events, half of the respondents indicated that they would like the events to take place on weekends, with a Saturday morning time slot noted as a great possibility. Suggested speaker event topics included:

  • Spiritual development of college students
  • Reflective Women primer
  • Networking opportunities for parents,
  • Helicopter parents - what is the appropriate amount of involvement to have with your student
  • Adjustment to college
  • Benefits of living on-campus

A number of families were not aware that our speaker series could also be viewed on the Web via the University’s media site.

Additional suggestions
Other suggestions from parents included providing more information about J-term course availability, spotlighting international students, explaining the role of academic advising and reaching out to the families who live out of state as well as out of the country. We will do our best to do this.

Several parents indicated that they would be willing to serve as an internship site, serve as a resource for informational interviews, volunteer to assist with Parent and Family Association events and programs, as well as post jobs or internships with our Career Development office. We will take you up on those offers.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this survey. And, congratulations to the lucky winner of our parent gift basket, Brenda Gledert, mother of Katlyn.

Hmong Family Appreciation Day

On Saturday, May 9, approximately 80 students and their families attended St. Kate’s first Hmong Family Appreciation Day. Students in the Hmong Language and Culture course invited their families to campus to share how their family's support and sacrifices have helped their success in college. The day, conducted in the Hmong language, gave the students a rare opportunity to use their native language to express their love for their family.

The day, filled with student-led dances, songs and speeches, opened with a warm welcome from President Andrea J. Lee, IHM. The keynote speaker was Bao Vang ('94), who shared her life story and encouraged the young women in the room to never stop or give up on their dreams despite the many barriers that will appear in their lives.

During the potluck lunch hour, students and families shared homemade dishes they made earlier that morning. They were also able to meet with representatives from various key offices on campus.

As the day closed, families had an opportunity to comment and share words of wisdom and support with the students. Parent and family members got up on stage, one by one, and spoke of the pride they had for the students for understanding and preserving their cultural roots.

The students and their families felt and saw great value in holding an event that was intentional in building community and expressing gratitude. "We (the parents) are like the flowers and grass just waiting for you to rain on us so that we can grow and prosper,” said one mother.

Students organized and coordinated the day-long program. The following organizations at St. Kate’s sponsored the event: Abigail McCarthy Center for Women, Multicultural & International Programs and Services (MIPS), Office of Retention and the Parent & Family Association.

Wildcats have another strong recruiting year

The last few years have shown impressive improvement in the St. Kate’s athletic department with over 44 records being set in just the last two years. We expect that trend to continue as the coaching staff brings in a very strong recruiting class to starting this fall.

In all, the coaches recruited over 60 new student-athletes for 10 varsity sports. Most of the incoming athletes were the top performers on their high school teams and earned all-conference honors.

The class also includes high school athletes who finished in the top five in the state in their sports and numerous athletes who received all-state honors. This is the largest athletic recruiting class in St. Kate’s history, as well as one of the strongest. The number and ability level of the incoming athletes bodes well for the future of the varsity teams and should help St. Kate’s continue its rise up the conference standings.