From the Desk of Dean Waite

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

2017 Letter to Family & Friends

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Dear New Family & Friends of Chatham University,

Welcome to Cougar Country and the start of the 2017-2018 Academic Year! The staff in the Division of Student Affairs is looking forward to welcoming and connecting with you throughout the year. Our office serves as one of the resources for parents and family members who may need assistance in understanding the transition to college and how to guide their students through these important years.

It is such an honor and privilege to serve all of you as Chatham’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Even after being here for eight years, I love every minute of being in Cougar Country. In my role, I do encourage students to get out of their comfort zone; to truly embrace the journey of discovery and to learn from one another, from new experiences and even from failures. While you won’t be here on campus to directly guide them, I am confident you have a built a great foundation for your student to excel at Chatham. In case you have not completed or discussed the following matters, here’s a gentle reminder of what you can do to help prepare your student for a rewarding college adventure.

6 Things to Do Between Now and Orientation:

  1. Health Checks and Wellness Routine: Has your student visited the Med+Proctor website, downloaded the Immunization Certificate and Meningitis Information forms for completion by your medical provider? Students should check their Chatham email in order to create an account and gain access to the forms.  Once completed an image of the forms should be uploaded to Med+Proctor for review. If your student is required to participate in ongoing therapy sessions or take any long-term prescriptions, please be sure that they arrange regular therapy sessions, a medication routine, and/or a plan for self-advocacy (as applicable) prior to beginning the school year. In fact, helping your student establish a routine to complete tasks on her/his own now is a good move – from waking up on time, to doing laundry, room-cleaning, and hygiene.
  2. Social Media: Ensure that your student is keeping his or her social media image in mind. Today, we’re all accessible at the click of a button – and the things we say online follow us. Encourage them to review their social media content and clean it up, if there is a need. Remind them they can begin getting connected with Chatham by following us on Twitter and Instagram (@ChathamU, @zwaite), Snapchat (chathamusnaps), Facebook (Chatham University Office of Student Affairs), and more.
  3. Share Hopes and Expectations: We’d love for you to give your student the independence to create their own college experience. Do spend time with your student to share your hopes and expectations. Ask that they take them into serious consideration as they continue to make more and more decisions on their own. Trust me, it may be awkward and difficult, but it is worth doing. Here are seven suggested topics you could cover:
  • Staying in touch . . . We’d suggest discussing what mode, how often, and a friendly reminder to answer their cell when it is mom or dad on the screen. 🙂
  • Enjoy the weekends at Chatham … encourage your student to make new friends, invite friends to Chatham, immerse fully and take advantage of all that Chatham has to offer seven days a week.
  • Spiritual, worship or religious practices
  • Cigarette smoking, use of alcohol and other illegal substances
  • Social and sexual exploration and activities
  • Career Exploration – Year 1, Day 1 – Chatham is committed to your student’s success while they are at Chatham and beyond. Remind your student that this journey begins the 1st year they are at Chatham and, to be successful, they must be proactive and take advantage of all the Career Development resources and services available to them.
  • If living with a roommate(s), they should be prepared to have a conversation about one another’s expectations. Plus, encourage them to get to know their roommates and other residents in her/his residence hall.

4.  Respect and Inclusion: Chatham prides itself as a campus that consistently affirms its commitment to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status or any other legally protected status in all its operations and practices. In recent years, our core value of being respectful and inclusive has been tested more than ever, particularly with current happenings that have impacted the diversity landscape and climate of our nation and the world. Do encourage your student to continue to explore the expanded topics in the area of diversity, prioritize respectful language as they address emerging issues, share ideas for positive growth, and contribute often to enhancing the values of respect and inclusiveness.

5. Got a Problem? Encourage your student to connect directly with me or any staff member of Student Affairs: osa@chatham.edu, zwaite@chatham.edu, or (412) 365-1286. Empower them to connect with us as the first step and immediately (do not wait till the end of the semester to do so), versus calling home for you to take care of the issue on their behalf.

6. Making Connections: Remind your student she/he has two key advocates built right into her/his academic schedule – an academic advisor and an SDE 101 (Strategies for Success in College) instructor. Checking in with these two advocates early-on and often can help your student integrate smoothly into the Chatham community.

I am excited to meet each of you at Family & Friends Orientation on Wednesday, August 23rd. If you haven’t done so already, please register online at www.chatham.edu/family. We are also happy to provide guidance or answer questions before orientation as well. Feel free to connect with me directly at zwaite@chatham.edu or 412-365-1286. Enjoy the rest of your summer with your student.  GO COUGARS!

On behalf of the Division of Student Affairs – Chatham University,

Zauyah Waite, Ph.D.                                   

Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students

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