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Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association



Friday, April 5, 2013




Parent/Family Association Update

A Note From The PFA Director, Erika Swanson:

It is with bittersweet fanfare that I announce that I am leaving Montana State University. I will be headed west to take the position of Director of Parent & Family Programs at the University of Oregon in Eugene.  While personally and professionally it is a great move for me, it has been a very tough decision because of my MSU family which has grown and supported me during my 12 years on campus. The gratitude and love I have for this institution and its people are immeasurable!

Clearly, I am biased. Yet, I don’t think I’m too far off when I talk about how wonderful MSU and the Gallatin Valley are. As I have spent time at MSU as both a student and an employee, I can say with confidence that MSU is an institution with high academic standards, incredible community support, engaged students, and remarkable faculty and staff. It is my hope that you and your student have enjoyed your time at MSU and treasure your future at this University. Whether your student’s decision to come to MSU was made years ago or only a few weeks ago, you’ve made a great choice.

My challenge for you and your student is simple.  It’s a lesson that I’ll be taking to Oregon because I think it served me well in Bozeman.  Leave this place better than how you found it.  You can do this by providing us feedback, supporting us financially, coming to PFA events, volunteering for the PFA Board (sign up here!), continuing to support your student, telling a friend about MSU, sporting a fancy Bobcat shirt, or simply educating yourself about the processes and opportunities at Montana State.

Terra Cusack, M.Ed, will be Interim Director of the Parent & Family Association.  She, along with Miki Lowe and Lauren Marsh, our wonderful student staff, will be leading this program during our annual Spring meeting, through the Summer Orientations, and through our Parent & Family Fall weekend on October 25th - 27th.  At the end of the year, Dr. Caires, our Dean of Students, will consider a search process to put someone into this position permanently while also serving part time as an Assistant Dean of Students.  I appreciate Terra’s willingness to step into the program so quickly so that we may continue to make progress.  Terra brings a wealth of knowledge and higher education experience to this position!

My sincere thanks to each of you for your support and patience you have afforded to myself, Miki, and Lauren during these past 16 months. The pleasure has been all mine!

Go Cats,

Welcome to our interim director, Terra!

P.S. "Like" our Parent & Family Association Facebook Page.



Student Perspective: April!
By Miki Lowe

The end of the school year is fast approaching! You may be noticing your student is getting a little anxious for summer, or as in my case, a little stressed with so much to do before the semester ends. I want to give you a little insight on what your student might be feeling and what you can do to help.

1. Fall Schedules: It’s time to register for summer and fall classes. Your student may be struggling to pick which classes they need to take and making them fit together in a perfect schedule that doesn’t require them to wake up before the sun does!

-- Here’s some important information to know: MSU has just given students a brand new online advising system called Degree Works. Read more below! They already have an assigned advisor, or they can visit the Advising Center in Gaines Hall, room 130.

2. Finals: Nobody likes finals. Huge tests, final projects and big papers can leave your student feeling stressed and sleep deprived.

--What you can do: Care packages! Nothing says I support you more than mom’s homemade cookies or little sister’s note of encouragement. Or, like my wonderful mother, she finds out when my finals are and sends me a text right before each to wish me good luck. Also, encourage your student to start early on the studying or project. It’s never too early to ask a professor what to expect on a final and what material will be covered.

3. Summer! It is right around the corner and your student is probably antsy to be free from classes. This may cause them to be in a school slump and start putting off homework to lay outside on one of Bozeman’s beautiful spring days. They may also be stressed with deciding what to do for the summer; do they get a job, go home, or take classes?

--Here’s how you can help: Encourage your student to study outside; this will allow them to get their “summer” fix and still keep up on work. If they are still unsure what their summer plans are, let them know you’re here to help. If they aren’t coming home for the summer, schedule times you can come see them so they don’t have to feel homesick. If they need help getting a job, direct them to My Cat Careers for up to date job postings.

Use each of these as an opportunity to discuss campus resources and mature decision making with your student.

Register For April's MSU Student Experience Webinar
Free Webinar: Tuesday, April, 23th - 6:30 PM Mountain Time

Bobcat Parents and Families!

We invite you to attend our April Student Panel Webinar! This webinar will feature leaders from across MSU campus, tentatively including:

--Kiah Abbey, outgoing Student Body President, discussing student engagement
--Lindsay Murdoch, incoming Student Body President, discussing student government
--Emily Bergem discussing student resources on campus
-- Cole Schram, discussing how to stay active
--Ian Jones, discussing leadership opportunities
-- Kyra Flatow, discussing student organizations
-- Lane Nordlund, discussing Fraternity and Sorority Life

This webinar will be facilitated by our own student workers, Miki Lowe and Lauren Marsh, and will allow parents a candid look into life at Montana State.

We have 97 live spots for this session. This webinar will be recorded and made available to all parents and families on our listserv within approximately a week of the webinar's live date. If you are not able to be present for this live event, we ask you to forego registration at this time.

Register for the PFA's Student Experience Webinar

Watch March's Good Neighbor Recording And Other PFA Webinars Here!

Summer & Fall 2013 Registration Has Begun
Registration for both Summer and Fall is occuring now!

Using their MyInfo Account, you student will soon being registering for their Summer and Fall 2013 classes.

In order to register, although it is different through each department, most students will have to meet with their academic advisor which will allow them to appropriately plan their future academic schedule.

During this process, you can be helpful by being a sounding board for their ideas, reminding them that an 8 AM class may not lead to their greatest academic success if they are not a morning person and also helping them get excited about every class they take toward graduation.

If you student is not sure who to start visiting with in their department, please refer to this handy guide of Campus Advising Contacts.

Finally, newly available to your student this Spring, they will have access to an online advising program called Degree Works. This exciting program allows your student to see which classes they still need for their major, calculate their GPA, and even see "What If" they changes their major, or added a major or minor. For more information on Degree Works, check out the article in a previous Exponent!

From all of us at the Parent & Family Association, as huge congratulations to the graduating Spring class of 2013!

For more infomation on the May 4th commencement ceremony, click here.

Bobcat Fest
We are pleased to invite you and your students to Bobcat Fest on Main, occuring the last week of April this year.

Bobcat Fest is an annual celebration of of MSU, particulary its graduating seniors, and all are welcome. For more information on this fun downtown celebration, look here.

Meet the new student body leadership!
In our past issue, we wanted you to encourage your student to vote in the ASMSU election in March.  Here we have included the results of that election and here you may read a bio of Lindsay Murdock, incoming Student Body President.  This will be Lindsay’s second term serving on Student Body Executive Team, having served as the Vice President for the 2012 – 2013 academic year.

Students also voted on increasing the student activity fee. The fee changes mean that your student will pay an additional $3.10 toward the student activity fee each semester which will offer further support to our student organizations.

Service Saturday
We are proud to announce another exciting opportunity for your student to serve the Bozeman community THIS SATURDAY April 6th.

Look here for more information!





Important Dates

April 15-26, 2013

No Drops Allowed


April 29 - May 3, 2013

Finals Week


May 4, 2013



May 13, 2013

First Summer Session Begins


August 26, 2013

Fall Semester Begins


Term Calendar


Parent & Family Association
Montana State University
SUB 174
Bozeman, MT 59717

Parent & Family Association

Erika Swanson

Parent/Family Association Website


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