Guest Column: Parents can help students succeed

Editor’s note: This message was sent to parents and families of Colorado State University students on April 19 by Provost Rick Miranda.

Dear Parents and Families:

We all understand the power of dreams and dedication in transforming lives. This is why we instill these qualities in our children from a young age, to inspire them and help them achieve a life of purpose. As parents and guardians, we know these attributes can propel them forward even amid the greatest adversity, such as the hardships experienced by so many as a result of this global pandemic.

I know you are proud of your student for their dedication in pursuing their dream of a college degree despite an unprecedented disruption that none of us could have imagined. I am proud of them, too, and so are our faculty and staff here at Colorado State University.

This time last month, our faculty and staff were in the eleventh hour of an extraordinary push to migrate classes online. They faced a daunting prospect: translating and transferring face-to-face teaching methods and content to a remote learning mode of delivery in just a few days. Determination and dedication propelled them forward. They succeeded under intense time pressure, and under conditions that required some of them to learn new technologies and new ways of teaching virtually overnight.

Rick Miranda portrait
Rick Miranda, Colorado State University Provost

They were driven by their dedication to student success and commitment to academic excellence. Our faculty and staff are inspired by students’ dreams to help feed the world, transform the economy, protect our water supply, eliminate poverty, create new art and music as well as new technologies, promote social justice and equity, advance science and global public health, and so many other noble aspirations that benefit the well-being of humanity.

Certainly, the change has been dramatic for students as well as faculty, and learning remotely is a different experience than having everyone gathered together in the same space and time. But CSU faculty remain committed to the high standards of academic outcomes they always have held in serving students. If your student seems to be struggling with remote learning, please encourage them to contact their faculty. Students are most likely to succeed if they remain connected to their instructors regularly and take the initiative to ask questions and seek help.

Tips and resources

Here are additional tips you can share with your student:

  • Create online study groups with other students to feel connected and less isolated, and recapture some of the otherwise lost aspects of college social life.
  • Be more intentional in reaching out to professors and fellow students. (Remind your student they can still develop close relationships in a distance format.)
  • Have at least one direct exchange with their professors or classmates every day through a mix of emails, chat, discussion boards, or class discussions.
  • When possible, study in a space that limits distractions from other siblings, pets, (even) parents, and noise.
  • Block out regular study times with a schedule, and set reminders for assignments, tests, and course review.

CSU’s Institute for Teaching and Learning (TILT) offers Keep Learning and Keep Engaging websites for students with tips, resources and information for helping them succeed. These sites include a list of services and resources such as:

  • Student Case Management – Your student can contact this office if they are having health concerns that are affecting their coursework and need extensions on assignments or other short-term accommodations.
  • CSU Health Network – The Health Network offers care and consultation for students’ medical and mental health concerns.
  • You@CSU – an online 24/7 student success tool with 40+ COVID-19 related resources to help students adapt in a changing world. Topics include: ways to stay connected during physical distancing, adapting to change in an ever-changing world and how to support your mental health during these difficult times.
  • Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) – The ATRC ensures equal access to technology and electronic information for students and employees with disabilities. Students should contact ATRC if they have questions or experience any barriers to accessing technology for online learning.

As part of the TILT initiative, I have sent out regular emails to faculty on how to get the resources they need for remote teaching and how to better support students and recognize their unique needs in learning at this time. Those communications can be found at: Keep Teaching Tips for Faculty. Please be assured that the high standards of academic excellence are alive and well here at Colorado State!

As Rams, your students and their faculty are finding ways to think creatively and innovate together, dedicated to making sure your student can continue to pursue their dreams, whatever those dreams might be. That is the Ram spirit of courage and resilience. As you take care of your student these last few weeks of the semester, don’t forget to take care of yourselves, too.

Stay healthy, Ram Family  –

Rick Miranda
Provost and Executive Vice President
Colorado State University