Parent & Family Programs
Parent and Family Programs is committed to engaging the parents and family members of current WKU students as partners in supporting student success through the provision of information, resources, and tools; intentional programming; and leadership and volunteer opportunities.
Furthermore, Parent and Family Programs serves as WKU's parent and family member liaison office, connecting parents and family members to campus departments and student services, and advocating the needs and concerns of parents and family members to University administrators.
Information, Resources, and Tools
Parent and Family Programs provides parents and family members with campus knowledge (information about academic programs and student services, important dates and deadlines, and campus news) and insights into the student experience (transition and on-going development), as well as tips and talking points to help them support their students, even if they're doing so from a distance.
Parent and Family Programs provides opportunities for parents and family members to get appropriately involved in their students' college experience, including Parent and Family Weekend and Homecoming Weekend.
Parent and Family Programs strives to connect new and current parents and family members, creating a parent and family member support network.
Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities
Parent and Family Programs promotes active participation in the Parents Association, and service on the Parents Advisory Council.
Parent and Family Programs provides opportunities to donate time, energy, and efforts (volunteer at new students recruitment and orientation events) as well as money to the Parents Fund to support non-University funded programs including Textbooks for Troops, Campus Beautification, and leadership development programs.
WKU's Parents Association was established in March of 2000, and housed in the division of Development and Alumni Relations.The Association served as the university's official parent organization and strived to create a link between the institution and the parents and families of current students. Parents and families were included in an effort to establish goodwill and a connection to the university. The university recognized that parents and families could serve as resource tools for assisting with recruitment, public relations, volunteers for university events, and career advisors for current students.
Membership in the Association was determined on a charitable gift basis; an annual gift of any amount to the Parents Fund secured membership for a family. All parents, grandparents, and guardians of students enrolled at WKU were welcome to join the Association.
The Parents Advisory Council served as the Association's governing body and was comprised of parents to represent each undergraduate class (freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior). Interested members were encouraged to apply; Council members were appointed by the Association Coordinator and the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Parents Advisory Council was charged with evaluating the effectiveness of the Association, establishing policies for the Association, and assisting university officials with the implementation of new ideas. The Parents Advisory Council also determined the allocation of funds from the Parents Fund to support student directed initiatives.
Appointed parents and family members served on the Council for the duration of their student's tenure at WKU. Council members were required to participate in two Association activities and serve on sub-committees in order to remain active. Officers of the Parents Advisory Council included Chair (co-Chair), Treasurer, and Secretary. Officers served one-year terms (no more than two consecutive terms) and were elected to position by majority vote.
The Parents Association's overall function was two-fold:
- To enhance student development through working in conjunction with university administrators, and
- To secure the coordinator and donation of time, effort, and finances to conduct annual projects or programs designed to benefit students at WKU.
The Parents Association's traditional programs included:
- M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Move-In
- Family of the Year
- Parent and Family Weekend
- 21st Birthday Card program
In December of 2012, the Parents Association moved from the division of Development and Alumni Relations to the division of Student Affairs. National trends indicated institutions of Higher Education across the nation were moving their parent and family programs to the division of Student Affairs.
Student Affairs practitioners are keenly aware of the needs of college students, and have dedicated their careers to serving them and ensuring their success. Because Student Affairs practitioners interact regularly with students, they also have more contact with involved parents and family members. Student Affairs practitioners are knowledgeable about college student development and equipped with information about campus resources, and can share this information with parents and family members. In addition, Student Affairs practitioners value parents and family members as essential partners in ensuring student success; they understand and appreciate the supportive role parents and family members play.
The WKU Parents Association was eventually placed in the department of Housing and Residence Life, the first stop for many parents and family members of new students after their students are admitted. They want to know that their students have a safe, comfortable living environment on-campus. Because the department of Housing and Residence Life is often the first stop for parents and family members of new students, it made sense to place the Parents Association there, providing staff the opportunity to get parents and family members connected to the Association day one.
The WKU Parents Association has since become a component of the larger, umbrella organization of Parent and Family Programs. Parent and Family Programs is a new organization at WKU, with a strong foundation and purpose grounded in research and theory. While many of the Association's original programs remain a celebrated part of Parent and Family Programs, new ideas for engaging parents and family members are being explored. This is an exciting time to a parent and family member at WKU!