Dear Loyola Families:
Remember back in school when you had a question but hesitated to raise your hand? Your teachers probably told you that if you have a question, at least one other person, and probably many classmates, had the same question. Your teachers were right, and as an educator, let me say that we love hearing your questions and love helping you find the answers you need to make the most of your Loyola experience.
I’ve gathered a few of the most frequently asked questions I hear from parents. Maybe the answers will spark a conversation in your family over the semester break, and maybe you will come up with new questions we can answer in a future letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once my child is enrolled at Loyola, what do you do to make sure she’s thriving?
At Loyola University just about everything we do focuses on student success, so let me take this question from just one perspective. That doesn’t happen by accident. A student who is thriving is a student who is engaged and connected. The staff of the Co-Curricular Programming Office begins the process with an innovative New Student Orientation program. For example, we created Wolfpack Welcome, a series of alcohol-free events, so first-year students can extend their friendship circles. We coordinate the Opening Doors program with faculty and staff to help students expand their support networks. The Saturdays in the City series introduces students to all New Orleans has to offer; our Global Café brings students, faculty, and staff together in a deliberate dialog about important social issues.
In addition, of course there is always athletic “Wolfpack” action! The women’s volleyball team is the 2007 GCAC champions! The NAIA honored Sarah Howard, Colleen McNerney, and Mary Seals as student athlete scholars. The women’s basketball team began the season ranked 17th nationally in the NAIA. The men’s basketball team is off to a winning streak and received votes nationally for the NAIA poll. The newly formed spirit band has added a great deal of “zest” to the games, and students are enjoying watching their classmates. Any student who takes advantage of even one of these programming options will begin to strengthen his or her engagement with our community and increase their chances to have a meaningful Loyola experience.
What’s behind the concept of the “living-learning” communities?
It’s simple, really. Research tells us that college students grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually with every experience they have, not just those in the classroom. Loyola University takes the opportunity to enhance learning seriously. Our new living-learning communities will gather students who have shared interests, place them in a shared residence, and ask them to work together to develop programming that will benefit everyone on campus. Honors Hall, Global Village, Leadership Fellows, and Social Justice are four emerging communities that will launch next fall. We have faculty, staff and students interested in exploring the following possible communities as well: the Women’s Resource Center, Ignatian Spirituality, Sophomore-Year Experience, and Psychology. It will soon be time for students to sign contracts for residence hall rooms for 2008-2009. It is important to note that residential room rates will NOT increase this year. This fall Residence Life installed 8 42” TV’s for students to enjoy watching sporting events and favorite TV shows together. New washer and dryers have also been installed. We plan for residential lounge refurbishments beginning fall, 2008. More information to come!
I’m hearing good things about the food. What’s up with dining services?
They are awesome! We hired a new Loyola Dining Services management team, and the new executive chef, Vinny Bruno trained under renowned restaurateur Ella Brennan at Commander’s Palace. Vinny has radically redefined the dining experience by focusing on quality ingredients and more sophisticated menu offerings. Our contractor, Sodexho, implemented the Circle Customer Excellence training program to improve service on campus, so I hope your students are enjoying great food from friendly staff servers! Let me also mention two other dining-related initiatives. We worked with the proprietor of Dunbar’s Creole Café to relocate and open the restaurant on our Broadway campus and in spring 2008, it will implement the Smart Market to increase healthy menu options. By spring break, we will be opening a new Community Coffee (CC’s) shop in the Orleans Lounge. This is the first of many food options coming to the Danna Center. Stay tuned! In addition, in partnership with Tulane University, we created the Uptown Campus Dining concept where Wolf Bucks and Wave Bucks can be exchanged at retail outlets.
What do you do to take care of my child’s health concerns?
If you don’t feel well, you don’t do well. So we have a comprehensive counseling and health services program to help students be healthy and active. We contract with LSU Health Sciences Center for primary medical and preventative health care. We have enhanced integration between counseling and health services, through consultation, communication, and collaboration. We have recently contracted with Tulane Emergency Medical Service for on campus health emergencies. We also have 24/7 dedicated phone assistance for students regarding ‘after hours’ emergency health care. The university counseling staff and university police are available 24/7. An Early Warning Team improves communication between student affairs, faculty concerns, health issues, and law enforcement regarding at-risk students. With numerous programs on substance abuse prevention already in place, we recently received a grant to assist with education and awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke. We continue to apply for grants that will increase staffing and programming.
What about measures to improve campus safety?
This question, on every parent’s mind, deserves extra attention. Let me outline the aspects of our campus security program:
- 24-hour Safety Escorts: The Public Safety Department provides a 24-hour / 7 days a week escort service on both campuses, and to the adjacent public streets.
- Complimentary Shuttle Service: Runs between both campuses.
- Emergency Medical Assistance: All Loyola University Police Officers are certified in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR.
- Be On The Lookout Notifications (BOLO): 24-hour alerts by email of area crime incidents on campus and the surrounding areas.
- 23 Blue Light Emergency Telephones: Located in various strategic places on both campuses, they are monitored 24/7.
- General Assistance: Includes “all other” requests for help, such as unlocking specific doors, loud noise complaints, and checking out suspicious persons.
- Free Property Engraving: Operation ID is available for students to mark books and other personal possessions.
- Free Bicycle Registration
- Lost and Found Repository: The University Police office is the designated “Lost and Found” control center for the university and a considerable effort is made to find the owner(s) and return the property promptly.
- Motorist Vehicle Assistance: University Police provide battery boosts, unlock vehicle services, and tire change assistance to community members.
- After Hours Information: Because of our 24-hour operational status Loyola University Police dispatchers serve as the university’s general information operators, fielding all inquiries after normal business hours and weekends.
- Safety Orientation and Training: University Police provide several orientations throughout the school year for students, parents, new faculty, and new staff.
- Self Defense Training for Females
- Silent Witness Program: All information is confidential. If you know of a crime that has occurred or is occurring on campus, we request that you report it and we offer a confidential on-line form.
- Fingerprinting Service: This service is offered to all community members.
- Campus Crime Prevention and Awareness Programs and Reports: University Police collect retain and distribute certain crime statistics and security policy and procedures to all community members and prospective students and employees.
- Fire, Burglar and Hold-Up Alarm Monitoring: University Police monitor fire, burglar, and hold-up alarms throughout the campus.
How can my student, on a limited budget, best enjoy New Orleans?
So much of the charm of New Orleans is experienced by being here, walking our streets, meeting our people, appreciating the big-hearted love we have for this city. Remember I mentioned the Saturdays in the City series? We’ve brought students on a Swamp Tour, to the opera, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the National World War II Museum, to Saints and Hornets games, and more. For students who love to shop until they drop, we sponsor a Saturday Shopping Shuttle and a Saturday Entertainment Shuttle. Both shuttles bring students to local malls and back home again. The best news? The streetcars are running again and you can’t beat it for $1.25!
Why did you move Family Weekend to the fall?
Our first question was about making sure students thrive, and the change to a fall Family Weekend is about student retention. The first few weeks of college can be the most difficult, the most stressful for even the very best, most enthusiastic students. They are in a new environment, starting from the ground up to make friends, find mentors, and navigate life. In addition, they are doing it (even if they call and IM you every hour and as much as we’re there to support them) by themselves. Research shows that bringing families to campus in the fall gives our students that familiar connection they need, and gives them a chance to show you how much they have already learned. I hope you enjoyed Family Weekend and we are always looking for feedback.
It all sounds good, but will my student get a job after graduation?
Everything our students do at Loyola helps prepare them for life (including a career) after graduation! Chairing a committee, being president of a club, organizing an event: all these activities help students develop their skills of communication, time management, delegation, problem-solving, negotiation,…hmm, sounds like real life, doesn’t it? However, many of you ask about our formal career development program, so let me give you a few recent initiatives.
We’ve begun career-related educational programming designed for and delivered to specific classes and student groups. An academic internship staff is now incorporated into our career development center to provide a “one-stop shopping” experience for students. Career Services provides a bi-weekly newsletter for students, employers, and faculty/staff, so everyone stays aware of opportunities, especially our weekly internship and job search workshops. Moreover, thanks to a new investment in technology, we offer 24/7 resources for students and employers.
All that, and more, is available to your student, yet career development is a partnership that takes more than just a visit or two the week before graduation! Please encourage your student, whatever class year, to get to know my staff in career development. The investment of time and energy will pay off well.
It’s my turn to ask. How can we improve your student’s Loyola education? What was the best part of the fall semester? What are your worries? How can we work together better to help your student grow? If you could sit at my desk for the day, what would you do?
I would love to start a dialog with you on these, and any other questions you have. Contact me at 504-865-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how well we are doing and how we can have a terrific spring semester.
Best wishes to you for the New Year.