Parent Update

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spotlight on Access and Success Program by Shelly Bjick, LSW, Program Specialist, Access and Success

St. Kate's Access & Success, a program for Katies with Kids
National data indicates that almost one-fourth of students pursuing an undergraduate degree are actively parenting. The students at St. Kate's mirror this national trend. Students who are parenting face many additional barriers to completing their education, such as lack of financial resources, child care, and time. Because of these additional obstacles, fewer than 2 percent of mothers who had children before age 18 complete college by the age of 30. For those who are 20 or 21 when they have children, the numbers improve only slightly to 9 percent. This is where St. Kate's student parents separate from the national trend; they do complete their degrees! In fact, the average, one-year retention rate for all new student parents (79%) exceeds that of the general student population (76%)*.

It is clear that St. Kate's cares about its student parents. Nineteen years ago, the College of St. Catherine developed an innovative program, Access and Success, to support students who are parenting. Access and Success began on the Minneapolis campus for single mothers pursuing their Associate degree. Since then the program has evolved to include traditional day students, weekend college students, and graduate students; regardless of marital status, financial situation, or age of children.

Access and Success for Katie's with kids offers a wide range of services to help ease the additional stress parents experience when trying to complete their degree. Offices on both campuses are staffed by licensed social workers. Staff provide one-on-one support, advocacy, as well as referrals to resources on- and off-campus. The goal of Access and Success is to create a support network for student parents, through relationships with staff, mentor matching with volunteers, and connections among student parent peers. Connections are fostered through on-going free lunches for student parents to network with each other or to hear speakers. In addition, Access and Success offers opportunities for students to bring their families to campus for fun activities like a Trick or Treat evening, a holiday party, and a family fun night carnival.

Both campuses offer a child-friendly study space where students can work on the computer or meet with student groups while watching their child play in the adjacent playroom. In addition, each campus has a lactation room with quiet, private space that includes an electric breast pump and a refrigerator to store milk. Student can also borrow a laptop for up to one week to complete papers and assignments.

Access and Success is a unique and supportive program offering an innovative blend of practical support, peer connections, and fun. Check out the Access and Success website for more information.

National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (March 2010). Why It Matters: Teen Pregnancy, Poverty, and Income Disparity.
*Access & Success Annual Report 2010-11

Lifelong learning courses discount for parents

The Alumnae Relations Association is pleased to offer the Parent and Family Association membership one-half off registration to parents of current students for those courses which have limited enrollment. An array of very engaging courses make up this series including topics on Life's Transitions, Liberal Arts, Health and Wellness and Current Events. These program are offered by current faculty from various disciplines as well as outstanding alumnae. Note that on March 27, a mini TRW course will be offered by faculty member Shanan Custer. Shanan's presentation, The Reflective Women mini course will be offered in the Stillwater Public Library. (Deadline to register for this particular course is Thursday, 3/22. We apologize for the late notice.) Parents/family members who attended Parent Orientation in the fall may recall Shanan's informative and humorous presentation about launching a student off to college and the challenges that are associated. See a complete description of course offerings.

To register for any of these courses, contact Christine F Klejbuk,'71, Program Manager, Alumnae Relations; 651.690-8783;

Registration begins for fall 2012

It's that time of year when we'd like to remind parents of the registration process coming up and offer a few suggestions to share with your student.

Registration for fall 2012 begins April 16th.
An email from the Registrar's office will be sent during the last week of March to each student, providing details and instructions for registration. (Students interested in summer courses can register now by going to the Registrar's web site; the summer schedule has a great assortment of courses to choose from).

You may want to remind your student to: 1) Complete a Degree Evaluation to make sure she is aware of the courses required to complete her major. Students can access Degree Evaluation from the student tab on KateWay; 2) Meet with her academic advisor to discuss desired coureses; and 3)Check for and take care of any "holds" on her account. The Academic Advising staff are always available for back-up to the students Major Advisor and to ask any questions or obtain information about the registration process. Office of Academic Advising: 651.690-6803.

Mark your calendars......important end-of-year events

Honors and Awards
One of St. Catherine University's major year–end celebrations, the Honors and Awards Ceremony, will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in Rauenhorst Ballroom, Coeur de Catherine. The ceremony recognizes students and their academic and co–curricular achievements. A special part of ceremony is the announcement of recipients who've earned an All-University Student Leadership Award. The ceremony recognizes Associate, Baccalaureate and Graduate students. Parents and family members are invited to attend.


Three commencement ceremonies will take place over the weekend of May 19-20, 2012. On Saturday, May 19, the Associate degrees will be awarded following a hooding ceremony in the morning; Graduate degrees will be awarded in the afternoon. On Sunday, May 20, there will be two Baccalaureate Masses in the morning with the a commencement exercise in the afternoon. Parents and family members will be able to have access to detailed information after April 1st by going to the Commencement web site from the University's homepage,; students can access this web site thru KateWay. Information regarding tickets, times and specific instructions will be available from the Commencement web site.

PAFA Survey Results and winner of the drawing!

First of all, the Parent & Family Association (PAFA) Advisory Council would like to thank all 304 of you who completed the recent PAFA satisfaction survey. Your responses as well as suggestions and feedback provide us with a wealth of information and some wonderful ideas as to how we can be more responsive to our membership. Here are some highlights from the survey data collected as of today’s date:

  • We received a great sampling from respondents who are parents of first-year students (29%), sophomores (27%), juniors (21%), seniors (22%). Four percent of the parents in the Associate of Arts in Minneapolis program responded.
  • Parents indicated that they are well aware of services including our Parent UPDATE (both electronic and hard copy) the PAFA programming events and the PAFA Resource web site.
  • Regarding the Parent UPDATE, 97% of the respondents indicated that they read the Parent Update (“sometimes” or “always”); and, 93% of the respondents rated the Parent Update as “good” to “excellent” in terms of overall quality. Additionally, 96% of you told us that we publish the Parent UPDATE about the right amount of times per semester, although many of you commented that you would like to receive more issues. Ninety-six percent of you indicated that the Parent UPDATE offers timely information and 95% indicated that this publication is inclusive of different cultures.
  • Regarding the PAFA web site, 78% of you use this web site “sometimes” or “always” and, 94% indicated that the information provided is helpful to you as parents. Ninety-four percent of you told us that it was easy to navigate, 90% indicated that it is easy to find information and 92% indicated that its content is inclusive of your cultural experience.

Suggestions you made for improving the web site included highlighting achievements of faculty, staff and students, provide articles that would feature information on staff, how to access and become aware of the ACTC resources and consortium and, provide more information on scholarships.

  • Only 26% of you told us that you have attended the PAFA Speaker Series and only 8% have used the Podcasts of the speaker series. A number of you were unaware of the Podcasts on the PAFA web site that features our speaker series events, designed for out-state and out-of-state parents who are unable to attend live events. Many of you indicated that offering programs on a Saturday or Sunday would fit your schedule better than an evening during the week. Nevertheless, you told us that you are busy people with young children at home so weekends may be a better time to offer speaker series events. You also had great suggestions for expanding topics that would include arts, politics, how to prepare your student for life after college as well as supporting students with disabilities. These are wonderful suggestions that will inform our future programming.
  • For parents who have received a copy of the Resource Calendar (provided to parents of first year students only), 96% of you told us that the calendar is very helpful for you in learning about important services and programs. And 85% of you told that you use it to keep track of deadlines and referring your student to various programs. Many of you requested that this publication be provided to you as parents for subsequent years.
  • Other important feedback including some great ideas for Family Weekend programming that included involving more faculty and staff to provide interesting lectures, having more opportunities to engage with faculty and staff informally and, to provide more opportunities to visit with other families. You also asked us to keep you updated with current events taking place in the O’Shaughnessy as well as events planned by Student Activities, the Residence halls. (Links to these events are on the PAFA web site).

We want to thank you again. The Advisory Council will be reviewing the comprehensive data of all surveys in the next few weeks; you should expect to see some of your suggestions/ideas implemented in the coming year.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! And the winner is…..Jeff Salmonsen, father of Shelby Salmonsen, a first year, Business Administration student on the St. Paul campus. Jeff is the winner of the random drawing for completing the survey. Jeff will receive a Gift Basket from the St. Kate’s Bookstore. Again, thank you all who participated in this very helpful survey.