Dear CSU Parents and Families:
In a blink of an eye, it is March and Spring Break is right around the corner! It’s hard to decide who might be more excited about Spring Break, the students or the faculty and staff. The weeks leading up to Spring Break are chaotic around here. Papers, projects and exams, as well as significant meetings and decisions are all colliding, and the atmosphere can be quite stressful. We share this for two reasons: Please send encouragement (and care packages!) to your students because they are hitting an important turning point in the semester AND, be gentle with them over Spring Break. Your students may be excited to see you but their exhaustion may mask their enthusiasm. If your student isn’t coming home, but plans to relax on campus, please note the residence halls are open but the dining centers are not. You may want to remind your student to do a bit of grocery shopping to make it though the week.
You may have heard about a new partnership between Colorado State University and INTO, a British company that recruits international students interested in studying in the U.S. and runs a first-year "pathways" program jointly with its partner universities. President Frank wrote about the process of signing the contract and the benefits of increasing international enrollment and shares the official press release on his website. Please take a few minutes to read this important update on our campus.
In addition, if you are the parent or family member of a first year or senior student, please ask your student to complete the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). We are aiming for a 60% response rate. Click here to see a graph of the NSSE response rate by college and class level and an overall response rate of 26.4%. Please encourage your students to help us reach our goal. Students are entered to win an iPad or gift certificates to the CSU Bookstore if they complete the survey.
As always, this e-newsletter is full of terrific and timely information. Before you begin reading the e-newsletter, please take a moment to complete a survey addressing parent and family expectations. We’re supporting a doctoral student’s research on this topic and agreed to share the link with all of you:
“On behalf of the Department of Education at CSU, we would like to invite you to participate in a research project, which involves completing an online survey. The intent of this survey is to explore the ways that parents and families engage in their student's college experience and the expectations and perceptions surrounding that engagement. By completing this 30 minute survey you will help the institution and administrators to better understand the expectations and perceptions of college parents and families. Please click here to complete the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CPIQ or you can cut and paste the link into your web browser. Thank you for your participation.”
In closing, thank you for supporting your Colorado State student and the University as a whole. We appreciate you!
Jody & Kacee
Jody Donovan, Ph.D.
Dean of Students/Executive Director of Parent & Family Programs
Kacee Collard Jarnot, M.S.
Assistant Director of Parent & Family Programs
Parent and Family Programs
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Colorado State University
201 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523
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Faculty Insight: Mid-Term Slump & The Domino Theory
By Ajean Ryan, Assistant Professor of Drawing, Department of Art
It happens abruptly in mid-October and roughly around the end of February/ beginning of March. I notice the beleaguered and disheveled life forms in my class who I previously would have called “students.” What a stark contrast from just a few weeks prior, when all the assignments were coming in on time and I could actually see the sparkle in their eyes. Now, they barely meet my gaze as they doze off during class or peer through their “I-have-not-bathed-in-a-few-days” mop of hair.
I call it the “mid-term slump” and I see and experience it every semester. The half-way mark in the semester is an important one for both faculty and students. Faculty members have the opportunity to properly assess the progress of each student; and students can assess their own progress for better or for worse. For many students who have struggled the first half of the semester, I have found the mid-term grade and a meeting with me, are helpful as they work to turn their act around and pass the course after all. The mid-term grade affirms some students’ good standing and for others, it serves as a wake-up call to achieve something greater than their current academic status.
What I tell most of my students around week six of the semester (and in a grave tone), “It will hit you soon. All the assignments, tests and papers will seem like they are descending on you all at once. Don’t fear. If you feel like you are slipping with these things, you need to take stock of yourself, get sleep, and find support from your peers, your advisor and your teachers. If you feel like you are slipping don’t let that first domino fall.”
My domino theory is simple and I always see it in effect around mid-terms The first domino symbolizes a test, a study session, a paper; essentially an important academic responsibility in students’ academic careers. If the first domino falls, i.e. missing or failing a test, sleeping through a study session, missing a deadline for a paper, etc.; it is much more likely the next domino will fall, and the next and the next and so on and so forth. As a result, it is important not to let the first one fall or even become precarious at all.
How can parents and families help? Be aware of this stressful time and offer support by calling and/or visiting your student. Emphasize the need for quality sleeping and eating well. Touch base with them and make sure they know when the tests and assignments are due so they can manage their semester effectively. If you witness the “mid-term slump”, encourage them to go to support services such as CASA, TILT, and Academic Advising. Parents and families are also important support systems.
Mid-term evaluations can be an effective and necessary tool for both faculty and students. With a bit of time-management, sleep, and support, mid-terms can be a measure of success and achievement.
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Assessment Results: Study Tips for Midterms
By Christie Yeadon, Associate Director of Learning Programs at The Institute for Teaching and Learning and Heather Landers, Director of Learning Programs at The Institute for Teaching and Learning
Midterms can be a very overwhelming time for students. Here are some best practices to share with your student to help them survive midterms with less stress:
Active Learning - Good midterm prep starts early in the semester, with active study strategies. Often students struggle on exams because they never actively processed the material in class or during study time. Students may think they know the material because it looks familiar when they see it in front of them, giving them a false sense of confidence. This type of passive study usually results in poor recall of material during a test. Active learning, on the other hand, entails active processing of the information. It is easier for students to remember the material if they relate it to something they already know or get personally involved in the material; making connections and associations is key. This could mean relating information to past classes, to their personal life, or even drawings they created while taking notes.
Time Management - Managing time is difficult, but it is especially tricky when students are trying to study for five tests in one week. Encourage your student to make a schedule for the two weeks prior to midterms and stick to it! Spaced studying (and beginning at least a week in advance to the test) produces much better test results than cramming. 30-60 minute study sessions are best and it is important to take study breaks. Students who are able to minimize distractions while they study, such as turning off phones, leaving laptops in another room, and not multi-tasking are able to maximize their concentration. Spending 30-60 quality minutes truly engaged with course material over several study sessions leads to better retention than marathon study sessions the night before the test.
Studying through Testing - The best way for students to study for midterms is to test themselves. Too many students rely on re-reading their notes or re-reading textbook chapters to study for tests. This is tedious and often unproductive because students never actually know if they can recall the information. Practice tests in the back of textbook chapters, flash-cards, or teaching other peers information are great study strategies that help students test themselves on the material.
Seeking out Resources - There are many different resources on campus available to help students who need assistance. If students are struggling with study skills such as test-taking, note-taking, or time management, there are workshops on study skills offered every week through TILT, as well as an academic coach who can work one-on-one with students to talk about study strategies. Tutoring and TILT Study Groups can help the students with the actual content for many difficult courses on campus. Professor or Teaching Assistant (T.A.s) office hours are an underutilized resource, which can be incredibly helpful to students who have specific content questions.
If students don’t know where to start, our staff in TILT Learning Programs would be happy to talk with them to get them to the right resources! We want every student to know there is support available at CSU to help them succeed academically.
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Balancing Student Independence with Continued Support
By Jennifer D. Van Norman, Director of Student Case Management
Some of the reasons that your student chose CSU are that we are one of the nation’s top research universities, employ distinguished faculty, and it doesn’t hurt that we are located at the base of the Rocky Mountains with access to the best skiing, snowboarding, camping, and hiking & biking trails. What your child didn’t expect was that college is very different from high school. Balancing being independent (for the most part), rigorous academics, new friendships, and a social life can unbalance a young adult.
We all know that balance is an important part of life. Balancing job responsibilities, home life, relationships, diet, and exercise is challenging for all of us. Throw in studying, homework, social freedom, and living away from home for the first time, and you may have a recipe for emotional or physical upheaval. Focusing too much on any one facet of our lives may lead to physical or emotional health problems.
How do you balance your student’s independence at college with their need for continued support? What do you do when you know your child is struggling in one or more facets of their life and refuses to take, or ignores, well intended parental advice? You need to “Tell Someone”!
CSU recognizes that other people outside the CSU community, especially family members of students, often recognize the signs of physical and mental distress of their loved one long before their student recognizes or acknowledges the distress themselves. CSU began the Tell Someone campaign in 2011 to offer a way to connect you or others to people who can help.
What you and your student may or may not know is that CSU offers a multitude of resources to aid students during difficult times.
Health and Safety Referrals - If you are concerned about the health, well being, or safety of a CSU student or CSU employee, you are encouraged to call 970-491-1350 or complete this online form.
Student Case Management - Every student's situation is unique, so it can be difficult to determine how serious a situation might be and which referrals might be helpful. In the height of a crisis situation, a student or family may find it difficult to navigate the many resources and services that are available at CSU. Meeting with a Student Case Manager is often a good starting place. Student Case Managers are able to consult with students, faculty, staff, families and community members/providers to determine the best approach to the student's current situation.
Counseling Services - Part of the comprehensive health care services offered by the CSU Health Network. Located in 123 Aylesworth (NW wing) or at (970) 491-6053.
Tell Someone - A guide for those concerned about a student or an employee's mental health and safety.
ULifeLine - An anonymous, confidential, online resource center, focused on mental health and suicide prevention.
Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Team - The Victim Assistance Team (VAT) assists Colorado State University students and any family or friends who have been sexually assaulted on or off campus; and staff, faculty, or visitors who have been sexually assaulted on campus.
These are just a few of the many resources that are available to help balance your student’s independence with the need for additional supports.
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A Student Perspective on Spring Break
By Jake Pappas, Sophomore, President's Leadership Program Intern with Parent & Family Programs
As students are gearing up for the familiar barrage of midterms and papers before spring break, we find ourselves in the flux between cabin fever and a true desire to withstand our first “real” testament of what’s been learned throughout the semester. Opening up my planner to reassure myself that is, in fact, the correct day of the week, it’s hard not to shudder at the papers, meetings, and midterms all crammed into a week that falls smack in the middle of the semester. The infamous Week Eight comes at a time when the sun tricks students into believing winter is almost over, instructors are working hard to catch up on lesson plans, and everyone starts to get a little antsy at the thought of a mid-May release.
Even if we’re all excited for the break of the daily routine of academia and conquer Week Eight, it’s important to keep up our heads up until that last class on Friday afternoon. With a long-awaited break coming, it’s easy to fall behind and tell ourselves, “I’ll catch up after I get back!” Unfortunately, the midterms, papers, and projects due in Week Eight can constitute up to 40% of a grade in any given class, which isn’t something I find easy to “catch up” from if things don’t go as well as I’d hoped. In an ideal week leading up to midterms, students should devote blocks of time to studying for the upcoming tests and projects due in Week Eight. As lovely as that sounds, most of us are trying to keep up with the homework, readings, and daily assignments leading up to spring break. The fine line balancing act of maintaining study habits and trying to front load our work comes into play. It might not go as planned, but you’ve got to work with what time you’ve got.
I decided to poll some friends on their plans for spring break and was relieved to hear I wasn’t the only college student who decided to fully embrace the true meaning of “break.” A break from class, a break from homework, a break from coffee…a short break from reality. While a small handful of friends are going on the idealized Lake Havasu trip or Caribbean cruise*, I quickly found consensus in simply wanting to take a break. Some friends are using their breaks to implement service learning opportunities in other communities through Alternative Breaks, some are going home to see their families, and some are sticking around Fort Collins to relax. The overarching themes seem to be similar: revamping and getting ready for the end of the semester. Whether students are volunteering, heading to the beach, working, or sleeping, we all want to have a chance to recharge.
As for now, students are working to prove their abilities up to this point in the semester and we are trying not to daydream too far ahead into our nine days of relief and renewal before the final push towards May. Encourage your students to embrace the true “break” in spring break!
*To learn more about spring break safety tips, visit CSU Health Network’s Alcohol & Other Drugs website.
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Colorado State Meets (and Beats!) Campaign Goal of $500M
President Frank sent this email to students, faculty and staff in early February. We thought it important to pass it along to families, as it shows how private funding can help enhance students’ academic experience. Many of you may also have contributed to the success of the Campaign, so we thank you for your generosity and support.
"No, I’m actually not writing about the snow.
I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for your help in the Campaign for Colorado State. Today, we announced that we have officially reached our campaign goal of $500M – 6 months before the official end of the Campaign. This just wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of nearly everyone on this campus – and the generosity of many of you.
What’s this mean for CSU? 485 new scholarships. 16 new endowed chairs and professorships. 40 new or renovated buildings. 430 people have made plans to include CSU in their wills or estates. And 15,300 students are now actively receiving CSU scholarships, keeping alive the Land Grant University dream that ability and drive determine one’s future – not social class.
But I think the impact of the campaign is greater. I think it’s changed how we see ourselves, changed what we see that we’re capable of. We now know what private giving can do for a public university – the doors that are opened the opportunities that are created. And these opportunities are needed now more than ever as our society struggles to determine the future of the world’s greatest system of public higher education. Although we know that when a student graduates from CSU, they return $10 to the state’s tax coffers for every dollar invested in their education, the real benefit is much greater: an educated, productive citizenry capable of leadership in a free society. That’s the heart of what it means to be a Land Grant University, and that’s why private fund raising matters at a public university today.
This Campaign was a first for CSU – but it’s also just the beginning. There’s a lot of work left to be done, and our future colleagues and students deserve our best efforts to do it.
Thanks again for your support of the Campaign. I couldn’t be prouder of all of your efforts and accomplishments. Have a great weekend.
Dr. Tony Frank, President"
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Avoid Lemons & Ordinance Violations - Off-Campus Living Tips
By Adrienne Battis, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Life
The City of Fort Collins ranks high on many quality of life surveys for ample outdoor opportunities, health and safety. But these ratings come through focused attention to these elements. As students transition to living in the Fort Collins community, they will learn about some of the unique ordinances of Fort Collins, designed to maintain quality of life for everyone. In this issue I will highlight some of the ordinances that catch students by surprise and share important resources in helping them choose a good rental.
Avoid Renting a Lemon: Prior to renting a place, it is important to check the history of the property to see if it has a record of code violations. If a home has had noise violations or tickets for animal disturbances, trash, weeds, parking on yards, or over-occupancy, it may be in jeopardy of becoming a “public nuisance property.” The Public Nuisance Ordinance follows the residence, not the tenants. When looking to rent an apartment or house, your student should check to see if the rental has a history of violations. Contact The Neighborhood Services Division via email or call (970) 221-6676 for this information. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s mess!
Common City Ordinance Violations:
Snow Shoveling - Residents are required to shovel sidewalks within 24 hours of snow accumulating.
Outdoor Storage - No furniture intended for indoor use may be placed outside or on an unenclosed patio.
Yard Maintenance - Grass and weeds should not grow over 6 inches.
Occupancy - No more than three unrelated individuals may live in a residence unless the place has been granted an extra-occupancy permit.
Rental Habitability - There is protection for renters! If issues with water and heat are not resolved quickly by the landlord residents can call the City at (970) 416-2305 to schedule a rental habitability inspection and assistance in resolving the problem.
Online Rental Search: Didn’t find the perfect place at our Housing Fair in February? Make sure to check the rental search site frequently as it is updated daily. Another option is to have your student use our new online rental search to find a place to live. Our listings are updated daily and include vacant places as well as shared situations. There is no cost to use our service and students can view our listings online.
Finding a Roommate: Does your student need a roommate or a new place to live for summer or fall? The Roommate Roundup in the LSC is designed for students to meet potential roommates, as well as take in a brief presentation about successful roommating. Students should bring flyers, scratch paper, and a smile! Location details and upcoming dates can be found online.
Legal Leases: Prior to signing a lease, visit the Student Legal Services website to download a Lease-Fix kit, which provides tenants with step-by-step instructions to make sure the lease terminology protects the renter. Student Legal Services also offers legal advice, free of charge, to full-time fee paying students.
For other helpful information and resources to assist in a possible move off campus, please visit the Off-Campus Life website or call 970-491-2248. We are here to help your student make a successful transition to living in our great City!
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Parents & Families Help Provide Safe Rides Home for Students
By Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, Director of Lory Student Center Relations, Division of Student Affairs
Although staying up late waiting for your students to come home may be a thing of the past, your concern for their safety remains. Parents and families may rest a little easier knowing that their students have the option of using RamRide, a safe-ride home program that operates every weekend during the academic year. Created by the Associated Students for Colorado State University (ASCSU) in 2003, RamRide has provided more than 150,000 free, non-judgmental rides, making it one of the largest safe-ride home programs in the nation.
Each weekend, more than 125 students volunteer to dispatch and drive a total of 19 cars. All volunteers participate in a training that includes tools and resources to address emergencies such as alcohol poisoning. The RamRide Dispatch Office, housed in the Lory Student Center, is managed by student government leaders who stay up as late as 3:00 a.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings to make sure their fellow students make it home safe.
RamRide partners include Fort Collins community leaders and the local and campus police departments. Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto says, “RamRide continues to be a model for responsible community partnerships and student volunteerism.” In 2007, RamRide received the Community Civility Award from the City of Fort Collins for its contribution to creating a safe driving environment. “RamRide is a valuable service for Fort Collins. This unique program is an important piece of what makes the city a safe place to live, and is a prime example of the good organizations can do when we partner together to develop innovative solutions to real community concerns,” says Darrin Atteberry, Fort Collins City Manager.
Debuting this year are two new RamRide initiatives. RamRide Return takes students back to their cars on Saturday and Sunday mornings. In the first two weeks of the program, more than 60 students have utilized the service. “Safe Ride Home,” a collaboration between ASCSU, the City of Fort Collins, and the City’s public transportation system, will provide late night bus services to students and community members.
Parents and families have served a critical role in RamRide’s success over the years. Although funded primarily through student fees, RamRide relies on donations to help support its services. Ginny Fanning, Director of Development for Student Affairs, says, “More than 75% of RamRide donors are CSU parents. I think it’s wonderful that our parents recognize the importance of a service like this and are willing to support it.” CSU Parents have the option to donate to a number of important causes across campus. Explains Jody Donovan, Dean of Students, “Our parents and families may direct their gifts to specific funds like RamRide or to the Parents Fund, which is used to support the highest priorities of the Division of Student Affairs and Parent & Family Programs in the years their student is at CSU.”
Click here to support the Parents Fund. Click here to support RamRide.
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Applications Available for the President's Leadership Program
By Erin Mross,Sophomore, President's Leadership Program Intern for the President's Leadership Program
Leadership used to be seen as a trait that one could inherent. The world operated as if there was a “leadership gene” that a child could acquire from a parent, making them wise enough to lead a country or innovative enough to run a company. On Tuesdays during the academic year, a group of students gather in a unique classroom environment that challenges this idea.
The President’s Leadership Program (PLP) is a comprehensive leadership experience that encompasses a sentiment expressed by Warren Bennis: “Leaders are not born; they are made.” PLP develops Colorado State University students into leaders in a way that enriches all aspects of a student’s life.
“PLP is one of the most incredible programs at CSU,” junior Business Administration major David Ovitsky commented. “It has drastically increased my understanding of service and leadership, while connecting me with some amazing students who have a positive impact on my life.”
Ovitsky is in the second year of the three year PLP program. Last year, as a part of the first year PLP curriculum, he attended a service trip to Denver, Co to explore communities experience poverty and homelessness with his PLP class. This year, Ovitsky is doing a PLP sponsored internship with Velocity Real Estate and Investments.
Each year of the three year program has a different focus and offers different opportunities to students involved.
The first year, A Call to Lead, is an introductory class exploring leadership as service. Students in the 4 credit, year long class attend sessions on foundations of leadership, values exploration, and social change, culminating in an weekend service trip.
The second year, Leadership as Life, also a 4 credit course, is an intermediate level academic class where students apply leadership theory during an internship experience with local non-profit or business organizations.
The last year, Leadership Capstone is a 6 credit, advanced leadership course. Students study organizational behavior, leading change, and globalization through conversations about multiculturalism, power, privilege, and oppression. In the second semester, students develop and implement a service project that positively impacts the Fort Collins community.
A Call to Lead can be an extra special class for students in the first few years of their CSU career because it is a great way to connect with other students. A first year PLP student Destiny Darby appreciates the community that she has built with her class. “It has been great getting close to my peers,” Darby said, “it is a fantastic way to get involved on campus and in my community.”
This sense of community is built through all PLP classes. Rachel Washington, a Leadership as Life student, sees PLP as a place to make an ally as well as a friend. “Through having conversations with my class, I have gained an insight to how many other students have similar passions as me,” Washington explained.
All PLP students must go through an application process, including current PLP students, to be admitted to the program every year. In addition, the three courses do not have to be taking consecutively. A student can apply for PLP during any part of their CSU career.
Applications for the 2012-2013 year are due March 30 and are available on the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement website. Talk to your student about applying today.
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Summer Session 2012 at Colorado State University
By Barbara Gotshall, CSU Summer Session
Colorado State University is a great place all year long! However, Summer Session provides unique opportunities for students. Summer classes are smaller. Students get extra individual attention from instructors and higher level of participation. The campus is relaxed and friendly and courses are flexible and focused. There are over 500 courses offered in the 4- and 8- week terms, giving students the flexibility to work and make other summer plans.
First 4-week term: May 14 – June 8
Second 4-week term: June 11 – July 6
8-week term: June 11 – August 3
Third 4-week term: July 9 – August 3
Summer Session provides students the opportunity to complete a prerequisite, knock off a required course, and improve their GPA. CSU offers the Summer Language Immersion Courses in Spanish and Arabic. There are impressive course offerings in Business, Biology, Math, Chemistry, History, Human Development, English, and Psychology.
The weekend Psychology courses are popular and include Conflict Resolution, The Psychology of Happiness, Mental Illness & Media, Forensic Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Psychology of Women, and Psychology of Religion.
Students who are not yet CSU admitted students can enroll in Summer Session: there are no formal admission requirements. “Summer-Only” students need to complete the simple online summer application. Visit the Summer Session website for more information. Call the Summer Session Office at (970) 491-1590 if you would like a printed copy of the Summer Class Schedule mailed to you. Check out the summer video on the web – see what students and faculty have to say about summer session.
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Continuing CSU's Commitment to Safety: Mass Casualty Exercise Planned
By Dell Rae Mollenberg, Senior Community and Media Relations Coordinator, Colorado State University Police Department Public Information Officer, Department of Public Relations
Colorado State University is partnering with emergency responders in the city and county in a training exercise from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on March 14. The exercise will simulate a high number of injuries and fatalities from a gunman on the CSU campus and is intended to provide local safety and health officials with a realistic situation in which to practice their response and teamwork.
The exercise will be held south of the Durrell Center on Plum Street/North Drive. It involves Colorado State University Police Department and other university emergency responders, Poudre Fire Authority, Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sherriff’s Department and Poudre Valley Health Systems, along with other partner agencies.
The exercise also will include portions of Moby and the recreational fields. Plum Street, from Shields Street to the Corbett Hall parking lot, also will be blocked off to accommodate the exercise but will be reopened as soon as possible after the conclusion of the exercise.
More information about the exercise is available on the Public Safety website.
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