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Family Engagement

a site for Wake Forest parents and families

Betsy Chapman

Washington Post Article of Note

I am en route to a New Student Reception today, so I am passing along an article from the Washington Post that a colleague sent me earlier in the week.  This is a good and worthy read, Deac families.

One of the issues of this article is the struggle that parents face: what role am I supposed to play for my student once he/she goes to college?

I am currently enrolled in a higher education grad program, and a subject we’ve been reading about in the literature on parental engagement is the huge switch between parental roles in K-12 education and that of college.  Families have been invited and encouraged to be very involved in their students’ K-12 education.  All kinds of research points to “familial involvement = student success.”

When students get to college, that playing field has been changed, perhaps without families even realizing it.  Colleges are bound to uphold FERPA (academic privacy rights), and there are mountains of student development theory that talk about the importance of students passing through particular milestones (independently).  At colleges nationwide, there are well-meaning staff (like me!) encouraging families to let their students resolve issues on their own so they can grow and learn, even when that growth is difficult.

So the family involvement model that you might be used to – high involvement, high communication – from your student’s K-12 years now must shift to a new model in college, and higher education has to figure out the right way to help families understand those changes.  I need to wrap my mind around this issue more, and hopefully in the coming weeks and months I can dedicate some space in the Daily Deac to it.

For now, enjoy this professor’s persective.

— by Betsy Chapman

As Drop-off Looms, a Professor’s Note for New College Parents

For many families, summer passes at a leisurely pace. But not for anxious parents preparing for college drop-off. They feel time hurtling toward that dreaded day in August or September when the moment will come to say goodbye. Here is some advice from a veteran professor about how to manage the protective-parent instinct.

By Chris Alexander

I remember the day I stopped being a crabby professor about parents at orientation: Aug. 20, 2004. I was walking home just before noon. In the near distance, I heard the burble of families gathering for a final lunch on the campus lawn before parents headed home. I swung wide of the crowd, mumbling the same flinty tough love as many faculty members: “They’re big people now. Go home!”

Then I saw them — a father and daughter, walking shoulder-to-shoulder 20 yards ahead. As they walked slowly, he reached across the small of her back, then he quickly pulled back his arm. Another couple of steps and he reached out again. He held her waist for the briefest moment before he pulled back his arm and pushed his hands into his pockets.

I never drew near enough to hear a word, but what I saw in 60 seconds told me that this man’s heart was breaking. He had only a few precious minutes with his daughter, and he was struggling to figure out how to be in those minutes.

Many new college parents struggle with this dilemma: What am I supposed to be to my child now, and how am I supposed to be it?

As an educator for 30 years, I can tell you that while you might think that your influence in your child’s life has fallen to a new low, it hasn’t. Your influence can be just as powerful over the next four years as it was in the last four — maybe more so.

As high school students, they thought they knew it all. College is different territory. Traversing it raises new and fundamental questions about what it means to be an adult, about what they believe and what they will do with their lives.

We want our children to have options. We want them to choose their paths rather than become victims of circumstance or other people’s choices. We know that their capacities to think rigorously, communicate effectively and act as ethical human beings will dramatically expand the range of opportunities available to them.

Parents can be the sage voices outside the tunnel that help their children maintain balance and perspective: This is supposed to be harder than high school. A “C” in Econ 101 will not destroy your career. Get involved in your campus community, but beware of overextension.

Parents can help students take advantage of opportunities whose long-term value might not be apparent today: A semester or year abroad is worth more in the long run than one more semester of fun on campus. A history, philosophy or literature class teaches young entrepreneurs, engineers and policy-makers valuable lessons about the human beings they must understand in order to do their jobs well and ethically.

You can help them maintain balance in their lives: Invest in people, not just school work. Remember that success and happiness in life depend on relationships. College gives most young people their first chance to begin building independent selves that connect to others. Learning to do this well and joyously is more important than any grade they will earn.

And bestowing your perspective from a distance might be the best strategy. Because perspective requires distance. You can’t help your young person see the big picture if you become a character in it. You surrender your vantage point when you climb down into the details of their daily lives.

You can’t remind them that the world will not end when they get a “C” on a paper if you spent hours on the phone helping them write it. You can’t give good advice about managing a conflict with a professor or a roommate if you’ve become part of the drama. You can’t help them make choices that will be wise in the long term if your own vision gets constrained by their short-term view.

If you know that your student might struggle with a specific issue, jot down the name of the person or office that can help if the need arises. You’ll feel better. But resist the temptation to grab the phone or the keyboard every time your student faces a challenge. Be their counselor, not their problem-solver. When you yield to the temptation, you risk giving up the most important gift you can offer — the wisdom of a life lived longer than 18 years, shared from an elevation that allows you to see what they can’t.

Give them this gift. They will look forward to another quiet walk on their first visit home. And you’ll feel confident putting your arm around them because, from a distance, it’s been there all along.

Chris Alexander is professor of political science, associate dean for international programs and McGee Director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program at Davidson College. He and his wife have two children. The older, their daughter, heads to college next year.

 

If you have questions or comments about the Daily Deac, email parents@nullwfu.edu

Wake Ware Laptop Program, Survey, and a Note About Plagiarism

Three things to cover today in the Daily Deac.  While this tidbit may be of more interest to our P’20s, this is a program that is open to others too.  New students were sent information about the Wake Ware laptop program last week.  A copy of that email is online here.

Important notes:

  • Last day to order to ensure your laptop arrives in time for school is August 1
  • Apple’s Summer special is buy any Mac and get Beats wireless headphones. This offer lasts until September 5th.

Second point to mention: parents and family members of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors (for whom we have valid email addresses) were sent an email survey this morning; I believe the subject line read Engaging Wake Forest Families | 3 Minute Survey.  If you received this, it would be an enormous help to our office – and to me personally – if you would take the time to fill it out.  We are trying hard to up our game in the ways we support Wake Forest families and engage you in the life of WFU, so we need to better understand families’ feedback.  If you did not receive it, check your spam filter or junk mail folder, as sometimes official WFU emails get routed there.

Our final topic of the day is relevant to all families, I hope.  The topic of plagiarism has been in the news this week.  I don’t share that to make any kind of political statement – we try to be as apolitical at the Daily Deac as possible.  But I share it to raise the issue of how plagiarism is viewed in college settings.  It is very serious.  And plagiarism is often misunderstood – some people in non-academic settings may think that plagiarism is a full scale copying of an entire paper – but that is not necssarily the case.  It can be a part of a paper or a website – a few sentences, a paragraph or two – the key is that one has not credited the original source.

Our most recent Student Code of Conduct says this about plagiarism:

“Plagiarism” is a type of cheating. It includes: (a) the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without complete acknowledgment of the source; (b) the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another agency or person providing term papers or other academic materials; (c) the non-attributed use of any portion of a computer algorithm or data file; or (d) the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of online material without complete acknowledgment of the source. When faced with conflicting definitions of plagiarism during a case, the Honor and Ethics Council will adopt the definition established for use in the department/course by the department or professor involved in the case.

The ZSR Library has a tutorial on plagiarism that is well worth your students’ while.  New students will also have to attend an Orientation session on honor and integrity and will have to complete an online quiz afterwards.

And here’s a tidbit from a past article we wrote on academic integrity, to set the scene for why plagiarism in college settings is taken so seriously.  Again, this is not a political statement about any current candidate – I include this because plagiarism is in the news – and we want your students to avoid running afoul of the Honor System.

Unless you work in higher education, sometimes it’s hard to understand why plagiarism is such a serious issue to universities.  It’s just forgetting a citation, right?

Imagine for a moment that you are an inventor and you invented a wonderful new app for smartphones – something totally new and unlike any app other on the market and it is going to be The Next Big Thing.   Imagine you showed your app to some of your colleagues – who then stole the design, marketed it as their own, sold it and profited from it.  It was your invention, but your colleagues stole it, then took all the credit and the benefits that came with it.  You would likely call it theft.

Though some professors – particularly on the medical or technical side – deal in the creation of tangible products, many academics don’t create tangible products but rather ideas.  Fear of “idea theft” led to the creation of intellectual property and copyright laws.  Academics take “idea theft” or “plagiarism”  extremely seriously and work hard to help students understand that ideas are not free “commodities” that anyone can claim.  It’s important to reference where those ideas have come from and to whom the credit is due:

Reputations in academia are made on the basis of creating new knowledge: discoveries of new facts, new ways of looking at previously known facts, original analysis of old ideas ….

A plagiarist receives credit for expression or analysis that was improperly taken from someone else.  In this view, the plagiarist commits fraud, by claiming the work of other people as the plagiarist’s own work….

Respect for these academic values is also reflected in licensing for professions (particularly law and medicine), employment on the basis of academic credentials, and esteem from one’s colleagues.”

(From “Plagiarism in Colleges in USA,” Copyright 2000 by Ronald B. Standler)

Professors’ academic reputations and employment opportunities are created via the ideas and knowledge they generate.  Faculty members have worked hard to acquire their knowledge, with years of rigorous study and discipline.  If a student takes another person’s idea and uses it as their own (whether that person is a faculty member, an online source, or another student), it is essentially stealing that person’s idea – just as the people in our earlier example stole the recipe for the new soft drink the inventor created.

That is why plagiarism is taken so seriously in college.  Always, always, always cite your sources appropriately.  ZSR makes it easy for you because it has a Cite a Source section of its website for help.  And your students should check out Zotero, which is an online reference and citation program that makes research paper citations and bibliographies about a billion times easier.

— by Betsy Chapman
 

Campus Views – Part III

As I continue pre-posting some Daily Deacs while I travel, let’s take a look at the new residence hall being built next to Collins.  This is coming along nicely, as you can see.

Target date for opening to student occupants is spring semester 2017.  While this residence hall will ultimately be used as a first-year student residence, because it will only come online in the spring (and all our new students arrive in the fall), for the spring of 2017, it will likely house upperclass students.

Residence Life and Housing offices will also be located in the new residence hall, I am told.  Can’t wait to see what it looks like once completed!

— by Betsy Chapman

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When Your Student Calls You with a Problem

I’m on the road again this week at New Student Receptions, Daily Deacers.  Here’s an oldie but goodie from our archives.

———————

One of the most difficult parts of having a student in college is when they have a problem and you aren’t there.  When you live with your student at home and he/she has a problem, you at least get to see how he looks – you can gauge the degree of upset or stress using any of the million subtle markers you’ve come to recognize in your son or daughter.

At school, however, you get texts, or Instant Messages, or maybe a cell phone call.  And those contacts can come at times when your student is upset about something – and it seems like it has taken on Epic Awful Disaster Horrendous proportions.   And that makes parents upset too – you’re now stressed because your student is stressed.

In these moments, you might be tempted to swing into action.  However, I’d encourage you to think before you act, and remember that old safety training – Stop, Drop, and Roll.  What do I mean by this?

Stop – and take a deep breath when your student contacts you with a problem.  Is it REALLY, something he or she cannot solve on his or her own?  If you fix the problem for your student, has your student really learned anything or developed self-reliance and independence?

Drop – the urge to reach out and fix things yourself or provide instructions on how your student should handle the situation.  Instead, push back with questions: What do you think you might do?  What are your options?  What campus offices might have resources?  What have you already tried?   

Roll – with it!  This is easy to say, but hard to do.  Let your student do the problem-solving on his or her own (even if the solution is different from how you might have handled it).  Struggling with adversity builds resilience and helps your students learn that they are capable and resourceful.

Stop Drop and RollWe even have a handy graphic for this.  Print it out and stick it on your fridge for those moments when you need it.

I get a lot of phone calls from parents and family members who are worried about their son or daughter, and want some advice, but don’t want their students to know they are calling 🙂  Normally what I advise is this Stop, Drop, and Roll method.

In my experience, the vast majority of Frantic Phone Calls is the student venting his or her problems, and as soon as the venting is done, they feel better – and you are left holding the bag of worry.  So if you call, and I encourage you to sit back and wait 24-48 hours and not check in, it is not that I am being uncaring.  It’s that I believe your student has the wherewithal to fix the problem on his/her own, or needs to struggle through it and figure it out, which I promise will be much more beneficial in the long run than getting help from mom or dad.

Now OF COURSE if you believe there is a really dire problem that is of grave concern – imminent safety or wellbeing, etc. – you would want to consider taking a more active role.

— by Betsy Chapman

Upcoming Course Registration for New Students and Virtual New Student Reception

Our incoming first year students will be getting ready for Round I of course registration next week.  This is where they will register themselves for up to 10 hours of classes.  New students should be playing close attention to the Academics and Advising sections of newstudents.wfu.edu (in the left hand side menus) to find information about registration and course requirements.

To augment those pages, we also have created a Virtual New Student Reception page for you and your students.  This page has a lot of the same advice we give students and families at the NSRs.  There are short videos with some step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the New Students web site to find the advising information needed.  There is some advice on what to do when students get their roommate assignment later this summer.  And there is also some advice from ‘been there, done that’ upperclassmen families and students.

So if you are a P’20, take a few minutes to look at the Virtual NSR page and all it offers, and recommend it to your student if he/she needs a little extra help as Round I of registration nears.

Also a little disclaimer from our office – I will be out today (Friday) and most of next week with New Student Receptions. Should your students have questions about registration, they have options from the Office of Academic Advising (scroll to the end of this page for info).

— by Betsy Chapman

Campus Views Part II

In keeping with our “what does campus look like” theme this week, here are a few shots of the continued progress on Reynolds Gym, as well as the really inviting landscaping they’ve done on the side of the Sutton Center.  What I would not give to get my own grass to look that good 🙂

It does not show well in the picture, but as I was there, some workmen were working with a saw that was kicking up all kinds of sparks.  Looked like our own little post 4th of July fun.

— by Betsy Chapman

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Campus Views – Part I

I’m on the road for New Student Receptions part of this week and next, so the next few days will feature some posts of campus scenes I photographed on Monday.

Today’s topic is athletic in nature: the renovations and resurfacing of Kenter Stadium and the work going on outside of the new McCreary Field House.

You can see a lot of construction equipment towards the back of the Sutton Center.  They are redoing the track this week and all sorts of activity was taking place when I was observing.

The space in front of the McCreary Field House is currently filled with all sorts of piles of what looks like gravel.  Not sure whether that for a road going in, or what.  Only time will tell.

— by Betsy Chapman

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BUILD Pre-Orientation Program

Today’s Daily Deac is a public service announcement about one of our Pre-Orientation programs for incoming first-years (Class of 2020).  B.U.I.L.D. is a great program for our new Deacs to consider.  The deadline to apply for B.U.I.L.D. is this Friday the 15th.  Share this with your new Deac if he/she is looking to help build a cohort of new friends in a small group setting and form strong relationships.

Details below.  Students can apply to B.U.I.L.D. here.

Building University Inclusion and Leadership through Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) is a week-long immersion program in Winston-Salem that introduces first-year students to concepts of social justice, intercultural communication and social change. B.U.I.L.D. provides students the opportunity to connect to a small community of first-year peers as well as a group of upper-class mentors to form relationships that will last throughout their time at Wake Forest. Coming into its second year, B.U.I.L.D. is known for its tight-knit community experience and engagement in dialogue about salient challenges facing the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities. Students will get an inside look at the vibrant cultural communities in Winston-Salem and get an early start in joining the Wake Forest community. Please encourage your students to apply for B.U.I.L.D!  Applications are due Friday July 15th.

There are also other Pre-Orientation programs for students; see the main page.

— by Betsy Chapman

Timmy

Wake Forest basketball player Tim Duncan on the court.

Wake Forest basketball player Tim Duncan on the court.

One of the all time greats in Wake Forest history, Tim Duncan, announced his retirement.  The Winston-Salem Journal has run an article about Tim.  If you prefer to read the ESPN story, here it is.

I did not know Tim personally, but I bet I went to 90% of all the games he played.  He was an incredible talent, obviously, but he was also a great member of our campus community.  In the times I saw him walking about on campus, he looked like any other Wake Forest student (only taller).  Focused. Serious. Smart.

Once I bumped into him after a monster game he’d had, and it was one of those moments where we were the only two people on the same walking path, and as you do at Wake Forest, you make eye contact and nod your head or say “hey” or whatever.  I could not resist saying to him “Man, you had a great game.  That was amazing!”  And Tim’s reaction was sort of a sheepish smile and he said “thanks.”  No bragging, no grandstanding, no blowing me off because he didn’t know me.  Just a polite and somewhat introverted interaction and we both went on our way.

He stayed all four years at Wake, though he could have left at any time to make bajillions of dollars.  He was a psych major and he was smart, and he wanted to be in college.  He was not someone who talked a lot on the court or off, but sometimes he could deadpan a remarkable zinger that was beautiful (Greg Newton of Duke would know this firsthand).

Tim, along with our much-beloved point guard now coach, Randolph Childress, were a one-two punch that propelled us to some of our very greatest years in ACC play.  Facebook had a nice tribute video.

Congratulations to Tim on a remarkable career.  I hope you come to campus often now that you have some free time 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman

 

Family Weekend Registration Begins July 18

Today’s Daily Deac is short and sweet – but with an important message.

Family Weekend (which is October 7-9) will open registration on the morning of July 18th.  You can browse the site now and get a sense of the activities being offered, and you and your Deacs can determine what you might like to attend as a family.  Then you’ll be ready on the 18th to go online and purchase your tickets.

As always, it is wise to look at the FAQ page and all the resources online before you begin, just so you are fully informed.  It is possible that some events could sell out, so be aware of that.

Set your calendars and plan to register.  Family Weekend is a great Wake Forest tradition!

— by Betsy Chapman