CAVS Helps Student Parents With Toolkit
A basic tool kit includes things such as hammers, screwdrivers, nails and more. The Family Friendly Campus Toolkit offers so much more, and Kent State's Center for Adults and Veterans Services (CAVS) took full advantage of it to help adult and parenting students.
The Family Friendly Campus Toolkit, created by Endicott College, is a free-to-use tool for universities that assists and informs schools of ways to strategically support parenting students at their individual institutions. As of 2018, Kent State University was one of the first schools to implement this plan on its campus.
“We first discovered the Campus Toolkit at a conference in 2018 held by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)” said Joshua Rider, co-chair of the parenting-student task force as well as interim assistant dean of students and director of the CAVS. Rider believed this toolkit could be “something incredibly useful” for the Kent State community.
Kent State is a test campus for Endicott College during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Endicott is able to see how the toolkit is working in real time as any feedback or other data become available. In exchange for Kent State’s participation, the university will receive additional profiles and recognition.
In July of 2018, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Lymar Hylton, Ph.D., asked CAVS to form a task force.
“So we began to consider the different stakeholders across campus and make sure that we would have representation from various groups so that we could bring everyone’s viewpoint in; such as faculty and staff,” Sarah Helmick, additional co-chair of the Parenting Student Task Force and associate director for the Center for Adults and Veterans Services, said. “Then Dr. Hylton charged the group, and we started meeting that fall.”
The Parenting Students Task Force comprises a group of people from across campus, including, but not limited to, staff from University College, the Divisions of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and faculty.
Once the Task Force was established, the first year was devoted specifically to creating the strategic plan that could be utilized during the next five years.
“The strategic plan was created using the guidelines of the Endicott College’s Family Friendly Toolkit,” said Helmick. “Essentially, year one was a lot of gathering information so that we could then come up with this strategic plan that we would like to implement in years two through five.”
One piece of the toolkit’s guidelines included being able to visually separate basic groups for these parent-students. These guidelines measured the basic characteristics and individual needs of each student in order to not only provide them with their own identities but to better create strategic programming for their everyday needs.
An example of these programs includes an initiative that covers the wellness of this entire student group, including policy and procedure. Additional family-friendly policies in the classroom have been one considered option.
“We hope that it would increase the retention of parenting students, particularly single parenting students, but parenting students as a whole,” said Rider. “They are a group that stops in and out of higher education at a higher rate than your traditional student.”
Recently, University Libraries agreed to contribute to the task force through partnering on programs for parenting students. Rider hopes that by including additional surrounding programming, policy and procedure it would increase retention.
“I think that ultimately we’ve sparked a conversation about a group of students that necessarily aren’t always talked about,” Helmick said, “So I think that people are looking to this group because anytime we talk to anyone about it, people get very excited and they want to be a part of the conversation.”
Learn More about the Center for Adult and Veterans Services
View the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit