Parents Office wins grant to study family involvement on student success and retention
Syracuse University’s Parents Office will embark on a two year study of ways to support families of students from historically underrepresented groups and to enhance student success, satisfaction and retention, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation.
NASPA awarded the grant in response to a proposal submitted by Colleen O’Connor Bench, director of the Parents Office, and Missy Mathis-Hanlon, assistant director of the Parents Office. By collaborating with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Supportive Services and other Division of Student Affairs offices, the Parents Office aims to learn more about the families of certain populations on the Syracuse University campus. These include families of students of color, non-English speaking students or those who speak English as a second language, first-generation college students and students of parents with disabilities.
“We need more data to better understand historically underrepresented families on our campus, and we are grateful to NASPA for this grant as it allows us the opportunity to take a closer look at the situation and obtain the information we need to enhance and change programs and services to better serve these families,” says O’Connor-Bench. “We have found an effective way to connect with families from underrepresented groups and we strongly believe this project will help us gather data on which to build student-centered, family-focused programs.”
The qualitative project will begin in March 2003, with the goals of understanding the nature and quality of the interaction that families from underrepresented groups have with their students and with the Syracuse University community and learning how the Parents Office and other offices can enhance or change programs and services to impact student retention. The Parents Office and other partners plan to conduct family interviews and to observe programs that target diverse constituents to evaluate and enhance programming and the current infrastructure to help families support their students.