Framing the Colby – Student – Parent/Family Relationship
From the first day that you sent your student off to kindergarten right through high school graduation, you, as parents and family members, were told that you play an important part of your student’s education, and you were encouraged to be actively engaged in it. That will continue to be the case while your student is at Colby. But the shape and nature of your relationship with the College will necessarily be quite different.
The core philosophy of the Colby–Student-Parent/Family relationship is detailed in the following list:
We believe in partnering with Parents/Families to support students. There is a triad of support for most successful Colby students that consists of the student, advisors from the College, and parents/family members. It is essential that the student is always at the center of the triad and s/he must be the primary communicator and conduit of information to and from advisors and parents/family members.
- We will communicate with you about significant issues. First, and most importantly, while we do not communicate with families about routine student medical matters, you will be notified about serious health matters – including ER transports for alcohol intoxication. On the academic front, if your student receives course warnings in two or more classes in any given semester we normally send letters to families. Likewise, when a student is facing significant disciplinary charges for alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct we notify families.
- We’re happy to talk with you about questions or concerns you and/or your student have. We understand, appreciate, and encourage your engagement with your student’s Colby experience. Members of the student affairs staff are always available to speak with you about matters of process or policy, or to provide counsel on how and where to direct your student for particular kinds of support. What we won’t do is discuss the particulars of a matter your student is confronting without his or her knowledge, nor will we concoct a fabricated reason to speak with him/her as a back door approach to get at some other concern. We insist on being forthright and direct with students, and treating them as mature adults.
- We always encourage students to communicate with their families. Our approach and practice is to work with and treat students like independent adults. Part of that approach is to help students understand that adults need and benefit from support from their families all the time. Accordingly, we always encourage students to communicate with their families about the issues they are confronting.
- Your student will almost certainly encounter difficulty in some form during his/her college experience. Adversity is part of life and learning to cope with it is an essential life skill. Our job as advisors and teachers and family members is to support and reassure students when they encounter challenges. College actually provides a great setting to make mistakes, and learn about managing difficulty. The stakes are by and large very low and the people in the community care about helping students succeed.
- Your direct involvement with your student’s academic life at Colby should always go through your student. You can address questions about process and support services to your student’s advising dean. However, students are responsible for communicating and working with their instructors about course-related issues. Parents/family members should not directly contact faculty about their student’s status in a class.
- Your direct involvement with your student’s co-curricular life (including athletics) should always go through your student. Specific details may vary depending on the particular activities and endeavors your student is involved in outside of class but as with academics students are responsible for communicating with the advisors, coaches, musical/theatrical directors, etc. with whom they are working at Colby. Parents/family members should only communicate with these individuals through their students.