April 2012 e-Parent Newsletter

 

Dick Wilson

Richard F. Wilson
President

president@iwu.edu

From President Wilson

The campus community has anguished over the tragic death of Brandon Landau on March 4, following a fraternity event in White Pines State Park. Faculty, staff, and students have searched for appropriate ways to express their deepest sympathies to Brandon's family and close friends and to address their own feelings of loss and grief.

A service of remembrance was held the day after Brandon died, and many students wrote condolence notes to Brandon's parents. A candlelight vigil was held two days later that concluded with ten minutes of silent reflection. Vice President Carney-Hall and I and five students represented the University at his funeral in the Bronx, New York. Those who spoke at his funeral affirmed Brandon's life, citing his service to others as an important value.

The death of someone so young is hard to accept, especially on a campus the size of Illinois Wesleyan. Some of Brandon's close friends will carry their grief over this tragedy for a long time. We are doing what we can to help these students through the services of staff in the Counseling Center and Office of the Dean of Students.

One of the ways that we honor Brandon's memory is to do everything possible to prevent something like this from ever happening again. In a separate article in this newsletter, Vice President Carney Hall outlines the steps being taken with this goal in mind. We will provide you with a report on our progress in the near future. In the meantime, please keep the Landau family and Brandon's many friends in your thoughts and prayers.


Karla

Karla C. Carney-Hall, Ph.D.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students


dstudent@iwu.edu

IWU Responds to Campus Tragedy

As President Wilson shared in his letter, the last month has been extraordinarily difficult for students, faculty and staff at Illinois Wesleyan. As a newcomer to the IWU community, I can share with you that if communities are measured by their strength during crisis, the Illinois Wesleyan community is very strong. I believe that communities should also be evaluated on their willingness to respond to crisis and learn from tragedy. Responsiveness and growth are certainly core values here.

In response to the tragic death, President Wilson has appointed a task force to review our policies and practices regarding off-campus events. Currently, organizations are required to register any events off campus, which allows us to advise students about appropriate risk management considerations. The task force will review our registration procedures, off-campus risk management protocols, and any additional educational activities that may be appropriate for off-campus events.

Unfortunately, this tragic incident requires a judicial investigation into the events surrounding the fraternity social event. Based on our preliminary investigation of potential campus policy violations, an interim suspension of the chapter is warranted and has been supported by their national organization. A deliberate and timely investigation will be conducted and a formal hearing before the All-University Judicial Committee (AUJC) will occur.


Chandra

Chandra Shipley
Director of Academic Advising

cshipley@iwu.edu

Planning for the Future —

Fall Class Advising and Registration Information

What should I be registering for? What general education requirements will my classes fulfill? Will I get the classes I need? Is this truly the right major for me? These are just a few of the questions that may be going through your student's mind as academic advising appointments occur and the registration period approaches. It can be a stressful time for students, but there are two main activities they can do to make the process go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Generate a degree evaluation on their my.iwu account. This is a tool that students and advisors utilize to determine what graduation requirements have been met, and which are still left to fulfill. You can ask your student to show you this tool so you can be informed as well.
  2. Prepare questions for the academic advising appointment. Every student is required to meet with their academic advisor at least once a semester before registering. This is the ideal time for discussions regarding curricular planning, when to study abroad or fit in an internship, and how they are progressing academically. If you have questions, please add them to your student's list for his/her advising meeting.

For first-year students, this advising appointment may be the last with their First-Year Advisor. In this appointment, the students will be confirming or updating the major that they indicated on their admissions application. Many of our first-year students make a change to their major, do not worry! The students will then transition to their major department in the fall for advising. If the student is undecided, they can either choose to stay with their First-Year Advisor or be assigned to me, the Director of Academic Advising, until they declare a major.

Not only do students meet with their advisor once a semester, they also register each semester. All students were notified of a change this spring to the registration procedures that we believe will improve our system response time to make registration more efficient and effective for students. The Office of the Registrar assigned times for students to register spaced throughout the days of April 4, 6, 9, and 11. The times assigned are based on credits earned, and will no longer be associated with class standing. Students may register beginning at their assigned time or anytime thereafter until registration closes in the fall. Students can access their assigned registration time through their my.iwu account.

It is important for students to complete their academic advising appointment before registration, to know their registration time and to be as prepared as possible in order to register for the courses they need and hope to take. In addition to their academic advisors, the Office of the Registrar and the Academic Advising Center are resources that are available to all students to assist in the advising and registration process. Even though this time might bring about a bit of stress, it will also hopefully bring a sense of excitement for the classes your students will take in the fall, as well as getting one step closer to their goal of completing an IWU degree.


Future Housing: A Commitment to Students Needs and the Residential College Experience

exterior

As a residential college, Illinois Wesleyan is committed to creating a quality residential experience for all students. Our two-year residency requirement currently offers four different styles of housing: traditional residence halls, suite-style housing, theme houses, and limited apartments. For the past three years, Student Affairs has been working on a proposal to enhance our residential offerings by providing high-quality student apartments. We know that living on campus helps students academically, interpersonally, and to continue to develop life-long friendships while in college.

As parents, you know that many of your homes have given them single rooms, double beds, unlimited technology and lots of comfortable space. Although they love their traditional residence hall experience because of the great community that develops, they often crave independence and, frankly, a bit more space. Currently, we have approximately 500 upper division students who live off campus in apartments or houses in the area. We would love to provide options for students that will keep them on campus, maximizing their growth and contributing their leadership throughout their four years.

So, what are we building?

  • Four-bedroom, two-bath apartments (24 units total or 96 beds) ideally located only one block from The Ames Library on McLean and Empire. The site plan includes two buildings, three stories each.
  • Each fully-furnished unit will include full-sized beds, a washer and dryer, a full kitchen, and a full living room including a 40" flat screen TV.
  • Security features include building card reader access and security cameras, regular walk-throughs by security, and maintenance features consistent with the residence halls.
  • Internet, cable, and utilities included in the semester rate and a year commitment (no 12-month lease required).
  • Optional meal plan.
  • 24 parking spaces will be provided immediately behind the apartments (essentially one per unit) with additional parking within one block of the apartments.

floor plan

We plan to open these beautiful apartments in fall 2013, with the first residents as this year's sophomores and first-year students. Our proposed pricing will be slightly higher that the Harriett rate, but not higher than the super single rate.


The Career Center Staff Can Reduce Parents' Stress!

As students navigate their way through college, deciding majors, courses to take, clubs to join, internships, campus and summer jobs, they frequently seek your advice and assistance. Parents have their own path to negotiate, wanting to be helpful, wanting to encourage your students to seek resources independently, while not being fully knowledgeable about everything. Aaaaauuugh?! This can be tricky for you to navigate, too! Let the Career Center staff partner with you to best support your student. Believe me, we feel your pain and we're here to support your students!

Majors/Minors: Encourage students to explore majors by taking classes. IWU's curriculum and liberal arts philosophy is structured such that students have ample time to explore most majors and complete their education in four years. Encourage your student to pursue majors/minors that interest them. Students who are engaged in classes and interested in the reading/class material are typically more academically successful and happier.

Students interested in nursing, music education, education, and biology (pre-med) should be encouraged to rule those majors in or out before continuing very far into their IWU career. Those majors have more requirements and need to be selected earlier for students to give themselves adequate time to complete.

Are minors helpful? Maybe, maybe not. We ask employers this question yearly and the typical answer is, "It depends." Suggest that your students talk to professionals in their field of interest and the Career Center staff for more specific information.

Students can use practical experience to explore as well as to strengthen their skills, deepen their experience and ultimately enhance their candidacy for jobs and/or graduate school. As Assistant Director of the Career Center Laurie Diekhoff indicated in her article in the February e-parent newsletter, practical experience is critical. Frankly, practical experience is AS, and sometimes MORE important than the actual major a student selects.

Encourage your student to have some level of involvement on campus. It doesn't have to be extensive; at least one or two pursuits is important. The senior who has focused exclusively on academics to the exclusion of campus involvement, substantive summer jobs and/or internships does not position him/herself well when applying for employment or graduate school. Even the most introverted students can find one or two campus activities within their comfort zone.

Professional polish: IWU students demonstrate clear accomplishments prior to coming to campus, and most continue to have high levels of performance across all arenas: academic, campus involvement, jobs and internships. It is critical that a student present those accomplishments articulately and professionally. THIS often proves challenging in a society that has become increasingly casual, in terms of communication, professional attire, and interaction. Ask your student if s/he has had a resume reviewed by the Career Center staff (NOTE parents: student and new graduate resumes do look different than a seasoned professional's resume.) Encourage your student to do a practice interview offered by employers at the Career Center. Tell your student that those who have done a practice interview feel significantly more confident (though still nervous!) in an important internship or job interview.

You don't need to be current on all majors, professions, and industries to support your student's exploration, decision-making, and professional development. The Career Center staff do this on a regular basis!

Just to remind you parents, a few of the reasons students use the Career Center staff include:

  • to identify a major and/or explore minors and careers connected to those majors
  • to explore opportunities for practical experience on and off campus that can help them further identify areas of interest
  • to connect with professionals to learn more about a career, shadow, and network
  • to identify and apply for part-time internships in Bloomington-Normal for which students can receive academic credit
  • to identify and apply for summer internships in their home communities
  • to practice and strengthen interview preparation and skills
  • to search for and apply to graduate and professional programs
  • to search for and apply to jobs

Have your student call the Career Center (309-556-3071) to schedule an appointment.

You have students' ears! We can support your student, and serve as your ally.

Below are links to additional helpful information.

https://www.iwu.edu/career-center/parents/Tips.html Books to guide parents supporting students in career development.

www.collegeparents.org has a range of articles directed to support parents during their students' journey through college.


Counseling and Health Services

As April is upon us, we are happy to report that Health Services has been a bit slower than usual, due to an absence of flu outbreak. Current educational efforts are highlighting personal hygiene and self-examinations regarding cancer detection. Skin care (MRSA, acne, sun exposure, frostbite and shading) was the campaign of educational efforts prior to spring break.

At Counseling and Consultation Services, we often see students who are extremely stressed this time of year, as the end of the semester is in sight, but there is still a great deal of academic work to complete by the end of April! Often students can benefit from:

  1. Assessing how they spend their time (studying versus socializing, using social network sites)
  2. Making daily and weekly schedules to keep them on task and prevent themselves from getting overwhelmed
  3. Setting limits and saying no to extraneous demands or opportunities that are not consistent with their short-term goals of finishing the semester strong
  4. Prioritizing responsibilities and demands in A, B and C tiers. Those that need to be done today (A) are more important than those that need to be completed by week's end (B) or over the next few weeks (C).

Seeking Parent Board Members from the First-Year Class

The IWU Parent Board provides several key functions for the University. As its primary purpose, the Parent Board assists in raising funds to support IWU students who experience a significant change in their family through the death of a parent while in college. The Board has been committed to helping those students stay at IWU and continue their education. Additionally, the Parent Board assists in welcoming new students and their families during campus events like Orientation, Family Weekend, and Commencement. There are several opportunities to serve on committees including areas like career services, new student support, and more.

We are currently seeking Parent Board members from this year's freshman class (Class of 2015). The Board meets 2-4 times a year and serves primarily as a fundraising and advisory group. Please let me know if you'd like to serve on the Board (Kcarneyh@iwu.edu; 309-556-3111). Thanks in advance for continuing your involvement with your student at IWU.