Parent Update

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Welcome, new and returning families

Move-in is over, and a new year begins

Students and their families received lots of help during the move-in process from a wonderful group of orientation leaders, resident assistants, faculty, staff and students who carried boxes, refrigerators, printers and more. Overall all, the University welcomed approximately 1,600 new students on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses into our associate, baccalaureate, graduate and Evening/Weekend/Online programs.

Total enrollment at St. Kate's this fall is a robust 5,100 students. The campus community celebrated the new academic year on Wednesday, Sept. 5, with an all-University convocation. The focus was Collaborative Learning: Our Strength, Our Future, which showcased various types of collaborative learning. Students from the Assistantship Mentoring Program discussed how they help students navigate personal and academic challenges; staff nurses and students from the North Memorial Clinical Scholars Program shared their work together in patient care. Additionally, students and clinicians from the Integrated Clinical Education program in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program shared how they collaborated on individual patient cases, and students and a biology professor shared their experience after returning from Iceland studying river ecosystems with an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the United States, Iceland and Great Britain.


Welcome from Dean Curt Galloway

Dear Parents and Friends of our St. Catherine University students:  

It is hard to believe that we have already completed two full weeks of the Fall 2012 semester! The year began with a flurry of opening celebrations and activities, including the welcoming of approximately 5,100 new and returning St. Kate’s students. This fall our student body includes some 2,100 undergraduate Day students, 670 students in our newly formatted Evening/Weekend/Online program, 940 students in our associate degree and two-year programs, and approximately 1,400 graduate students in our master's and clinical doctorate programs.

We have a full and enriching semester ahead of us. As the national elections approach on Nov. 6 elections, we are excited to prepare our students to exercise their right to vote. St. Kate's will offer voter registration activities and a slate of programs designed to inform and engage the community in discussions about candidates and election issues.

We will also continue the important work of further developing and defining the next phase of our University’s strategic plan. Our plan is titled 2020 Vision and is available for your review at And the entire campus will be fully engaged in completing our University-wide re-accreditation process through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), culminating with the submission of our two-year self-study in December and a three-day site visit by HLC representatives in February 2013.

We'll tell you more about each of these important projects in future issues of Parent Update. Meanwhile, should you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Send an email to or call us at the Student Affairs Office at 651.690.6778.

Curt Galloway
Dean of Student Affairs
St. Catherine University

Tips on dealing with homesickness

Tips for helping your student deal with homesickness issues.
By Heide Malat, Psy. D., L. P.
Director, Counseling Center

Dear Parents,
Now that we’re into the new academic year, your daughter has begun to create her niche at St. Kate’s. She is meeting a lot of new people and encountering new ideas and activities in an unfamiliar environment. I hope that things are going smoothly, although new students almost always encounter a few bumps in the road. College can seem like an exciting adventure or a scary challenge – or both, depending upon the day, or the hour.

How you and your daughter respond to the first year of college will depend on your temperaments and life histories. For your daughter, it may help to know that some of the difficulties she will experience are part of a normal developmental process and have been survived by many before her.

Homesickness is common during the first year of college, though it may look different and show up at different times, depending upon the individual student. I describe it as a longing to be in a familiar, safe, secure place without having to face change and challenges that you aren’t sure you can manage.

Homesickness may show up right away or after the excitement of a new beginning wears off, or when tests loom and life "gets real." It may manifest itself as tears and sadness, or as irritability and anger. The very name “homesick” has been used to belittle or minimize a feeling that is a very real part of an important developmental process as young adults learn to trust themselves and cope with change. From the time they are born, children work to develop their own sense of identity, to discover who they are and what they can do in the world.

Over the years, parents gradually evolve from being totally in charge and central in the life of a newborn or a school-aged child to stepping back and holding students with “open hands." Separating while staying connected is a theme of the first year of college and may help parents learn how to react to homesickness that can be managed without professional intervention.

Ups and downs are part of the ride of a new experience. If you have any questions or concerns about what your daughter is experiencing, please call the counseling center (651.690.6805 in St. Paul or 651.690.7830 in Minneapolis) to consult with one of our psychologists. We may have suggestions for handling a particular situation or be able to guide you to other resources.

Adjustment issues for first-year students

Here are some common month-to-month adjustments for first-year college students adapted from: Helping your First-Year College Student Succeed, by Richard Mullendore and Cathie Hatch, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

  • Feelings of excitement
  • Experimenting with newfound freedoms
  • Frequent calls and visits home
  • Becoming familiar with campus
  • Homesickness and loneliness
  • Anxiety about classes, professors, roommates
  • Students ask, “Do I fit in here?”
  • First assignments/test grades returned
  • Romantic relationships from home often remain strong
  • Experiencing the consequences of decision-making
  • Roommate problems may arise
  • First midterm exams at the end of October.

Family Weekend: Please join us!

Family Weekend is a St. Kate’s tradition filled with activities for the entire family. Each year's weekend promises to be exciting and entertaining. Save the date: Oct. 12-14, 2012.

Here are some highlights of the weekend:
Friday, October 12: The fun begins with a reception in The O'Shaughnessy. Enjoy refreshments while socializing with students, families and "The Reflective Woman" (TRW) instructors before The Second City Performance at 7:30 p.m. This improv-based comedy production company has launched the careers of nationally known comedians Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, John Belushi and John Candy. Be ready for a great time!

Saturday, October 13: The Parent and Family Association (PAFA) together with St. Kate's Money Management program will sponsor speaker Charlie Bolognino, a Certified Financial Counselor who will present "It's a Jungle Out There: Financial Survival Skills for Life (and after) College." Charlie has a message that's important for both students and family members. The program will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and will allow plenty of time for questions. This is the first of three PAFA speaker events.

A picnic and pumpkin-painting contest will follow at 11:30 a.m. and will be fun for all family members, especially younger siblings.

The Wildcats Soccer Team will be competing against St. Mary's University at 1 p.m. on the athletic fields. Come to cheer on our amazing team! Additional activities include an architecture tour and movie night.

Sunday, Oct 14
: Families are welcome to attend Mass at 10:30 a.m. in Our Lady of Victory Chapel followed by bunch and music from the St. Catherine Women's Choir.

We're eager to share this wonderful weekend of events with parents and all family members. Some events require tickets. A postcard mailing went out to all families with more details; please contact the Student Center and Activities office with any questions, 651.690.6210.

Weekends are full of campus fun

Enjoy your weekend!
Activities don't stop just because classes do. St. Kate's offers a variety of engaging activities for your student on weekends that will keep homesickness at bay and provide opportunities for new friendships, fun and campus engagement.

Please see the links below for a list of activities taking place on campus over the next two months. If your student calls home and says, "Nothing is going on," don't believe it! Encourage her to find a complete and up-to-date list at the Student Center and Activities website through Kateway.

September calendar
October calendar

Test Anxiety Program to be offered

Parents, please know that the annual Test Anxiety Program (TAP) will be offered this fall semester, free to any students who experiences incapacitating test anxiety.  Students will learn techniques to calm their body, mind and spirit as they approach test taking. This workshop series has had overwhelming success in addressing this issue. Two, 5-week TAP series are offered on the St. Paul campus. Sessions meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays, beginning Oct 10 and 11. To register, students just need to contact Katherine Goldenstein, in the O'Neill Learning Center at or call 651.690-6563.  Sponsored by the O'Neill Learning Center and Counseling.