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Westmont Parent Newsletter

Parents Support Net - November 2014

Dear Parents,

Teri Bradford RouseFall is upon us! I love this season and the reminders that life is dynamic; nothing stays the same, even when we want it to! Most importantly, we remember we have much to be thankful for. Your students are such a delight. As we move deeper into the semester, they seem more focused, actively engaged in class and clubs, and perhaps even a bit itchy for a break. It can get intense around here with midterms and papers due as they work to resist the beckoning call of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and its glistening Santa Barbara beaches!

We welcomed close to 200 of you for a fun First-Year Parents Weekend November 14-15! We trust you not only had a meaningful time with your son or daughter, but that you gained some insight into their life at Westmont. I’m sure you are now eagerly awaiting their return at Thanksgiving. I know not all students return home, but rest assured, friends or roommates will take good care of students unable to make the trek home until Christmas.

First Year Parents Weekend

Of course, one of the many things we’re thankful for are parents. We cherish your prayers for us, your care for the college, and the huge trust you’ve placed in us by entrusting your student to our care. It’s a privilege we don’t take lightly.

God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Teri Bradford Rouse ’77
Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Meet the Alumni & Parent Relations Staff

Parents Council Profiles

Meet Parents Council members Liz ’84 and Brian ’84 Hammer and read their story about Westmont. See how God has been over and in and around and under and before and behind all of it:

HammerMeet Parents Council members Brian ’84 and Liz Jenks ’84 Hammer and read their story about Westmont to discover how God has been behind it all. Sometimes making what seems like an ordinary decision can affect life in an extraordinary way. Back in 1980, it was a rather ordinary, almost expected, decision for me to attend Westmont. It didn’t feel momentous. It didn’t feel risky or uncertain or scary. Westmont was familiar; my older brother and sister had both attended Westmont. Westmont just felt like the next thing to do, the thing that made sense.

For Brian, attending Westmont was a last-minute decision—another seemingly ordinary decision. Realizing that he didn’t want to pursue his original plan of studying architecture at Cal Poly SLO or UC Berkeley, he needed a Plan B. His mom had seen Westmont and suggested that he try it for a year. He first saw the campus when he stepped out of the car to unload his life into Page A.

Wasn’t it all so much simpler back then, this whole college-decision process? When our children were in the throes of SAT prep courses and college tours and Internet searching, part of me longed for that simpler, ordinary—even last-minute—decision. But another part of me was grateful for the thoughtfulness and thorough approach to the whole thing.

... Looking back on all those decisions to attend Westmont by members of our family, it’s clear that God has been over and in and around and under and before and behind all of it.

Brian and I met during freshman orientation in the fall of 1980. Over the next four years, our paths crossed a lot on that beautiful campus. His friends were my friends. My friends were his friends. We were all coming and going at a rapid clip. We had no idea that the friendships forged during those years would be the ones we would treasure for a lifetime.

By the time second semester of senior year rolled around, Brian and I realized that something good was going on. We dated, graduated in 1984, fell in love and got married in 1986.

We began our life together in Los Angeles so Brian could attend graduate school at UCLA. This put us in striking distance to our Westmont community. Those friendships that started in the dorms continued to grow as everyone was getting married, having babies and trying to be adults in the work force. We raised our kids together, vacationed and holidayed together. This is significant, because our kids saw our friendships with these people. They shared community with these families.

When it came time for our oldest son, David, to apply to colleges it was a pretty narrow search. He wanted a Christian college. He knew he wanted the community life that a Christian college would provide. In one of his essays, when asked what he was hoping to gain in his college experience, he wrote “I want to have the kind of friends my dad has.”

David started his college career at Gordon College in Massachusetts. It was everything he was looking for in a school—great Christian community, great academics, great basketball—it was just really far away and really cold. He transferred to Westmont during the second semester of his sophomore year. Again, we saw God moving in all those ways, in, around, through and over. At the end of that spring semester, he met Anne Lundberg ’12, who became our beloved daughter-in-law six months after David graduated in 2013.

During David’s senior year, his brother Kevin ’16 joined him at Westmont. The following year the next brother, Eric ’17, became a Westmont Warrior. Our three boys are very different from each other in personality, interests and temperament, yet Westmont manages to be a perfect fit for each one of them.

Each son approached his college decision process differently, but in the end each made a rather ordinary decision that has reaped extraordinary blessings. Each son has his own Westmont community and experience, and for that we’re grateful. God has used this extraordinary college to do some very extraordinary things in the life of a rather ordinary family. Brian and I are pleased to serve on the Westmont Parents Council, hoping to give a little time and energy to this place that has given our family so much.

~ Liz Jenks Hammer ’84

Hammer Family

Anne (Lundberg) Hammer ('12), David Hammer ('13), Kevin Hammer ('16), Masha Hammer, Eric Hammer ('17), Brian Hammer ('84), Liz (Jenks) Hammer ('84)

When Students Make Mistakes

This month we thought you might be interested to learn more about Student Life’s approach to working with students in the conduct  (aka: discipline) process. Dr. Edee Schulze, our new Vice President for Student Life and Stu Cleek, Associate Dean for Residence Life, share information on that process below:

Edee SchulzeStu Cleek

In fall 2012, the Student Life Office changed its approach to student conduct. Leaving behind a punitive system that uniformly gave students pre-set consequences, the college adopted a new and innovative approach called The E.P.I.C. Journey. Originally developed at the University of Texas at San Antonio, this unique collaborative strategy uses motivational interviewing to assess students’ skill sets in four developmental areas: Engagement, Personal Development, Interpersonal Development, and Community Membership. Westmont has adapted this approach and creates sanctions for each student that are individualized, engaging, and sequenced in a way that creates an intentional personal journey for students aimed at transforming decision-making patterns toward their holistic success.

... The overall goals of The E.P.I.C. Journey are that students will:

  • Develop an enhanced awareness of self
  • Take an active role in their development (spiritually, emotionally, educationally, etc.)
  • Integrate their knowledge of self and community standards into healthy decision-making patterns
  • Reduce the discrepancies between their choices and their desire to succeed
  • Display their willingness and confidence to change in positive ways
  • Accept ownership of their college experience

Two conduct officers participate in conduct meetings. Typically, one is the student’s resident director. The second may be a resident director or a representative from the Dean’s Office. In the conduct meeting, the incident itself, a student’s overall Westmont experience, and how to move forward are discussed. A second meeting is scheduled to discuss which sanctions were given to the student and why and to address any follow-up questions.

Two types of sanctions exist: inactive and active. Inactive sanctions are incident-based and ensure fairness and consistency. They include a loss of privilege or a change in status, such as a suspension of open hours, parental notification or student life probation. Active sanctions are individualized to each student and intentionally sequenced. Examples include: mentoring by a faculty/staff member, career counseling, assisting with a campus event, assessing strengths, writing a reflective paper, meeting with the campus pastor, or volunteering in Santa Barbara. Typically these sanctions last no more than eight weeks.

Rather than focusing on what policy was broken, the emphasis is on the “why” behind the incident. The conduct officers ask intentional questions in the meeting that center on the areas of engagement, personal development, interpersonal development and community membership.

It’s helpful for student life staff to listen carefully to what students are saying as well as what students are not saying. Specifically, student responses to questions about what they did, why they did it, and where we go from here frequently fall into three categories: admission, confession or repentance. These categories are fluid but tend to be progressive as individuals process their behaviors, motivations and the needed next steps. Students may be willing and able to admit that they made an unwise choice but not go much further beyond admission in taking responsibility. In admission, students will make comments that pertain to their thoughts and words, acknowledging what was done and possibly concluding that the chosen behavior was foolish or a mistake.

Beyond admission and stating what they did, students may feel badly about their choices or articulate other emotions, such as regret, sorrow, sadness or guilt. This is confession, when students discuss what is happening in their hearts in addition to what is happening in their minds. Confession is better than just admitting wrongdoing, but there is another phase beyond confession.

Repentance occurs when individuals display behaviors that indicate they want to “make it right.” This is a desired goal for anyone who has made poor choices. Beyond articulating thoughts and feelings, students who are truly repentant are willing to take full responsibility, doing what is necessary to make restitution and restore relationships. In repentance, there is full disclosure, no defensiveness, and willing submission to accountability. Concisely stated, admission is in the realm of the “mind and mouth”; confession is in the realm of the “heart”; and repentance is in the realm of the “hand.”

Ultimately, the student conduct process is designed to enhance students’ holistic success. We believe in students and want to see them succeed. The student conduct process can play a valuable role in student growth. Parents whose students inform them that they are going through the conduct process can ask what they are learning and what they hope to gain through the active sanctions they received.

To read about the student conduct process in greater detail, refer to the Westmont Student Handbook on the college’s website.

 

Fall Finals Week Survival Kits

FinalsIt’s hard to believe, but finals week will soon arrive!

Don’t let your son or daughter be overwhelmed by the stress of finals; let the Emmaus Road program help! Purchase a Finals Week Survival Kit for $20, and the Emmaus Road student teams will deliver care packages FULL of fresh fruits and other therapeutic treats to your student’s room as an encouraging reminder that you're thinking of them during this busy time. By ordering a care package, you will both brighten your student's week and support summer 2015 Emmaus Road teams!

Simply ORDER a Final Exam Survival Kit here by following the online payment instructions. Don’t forget and don’t delay. Place your order anytime starting now. Please include a personalized message to your student in the space provided and a personalized note will be delivered with the care package on Study Day, Monday, December 15, just before the start of finals.

Orders must be placed by midnight on Thursday, December 11! Our student teams look forward to delivering a survival kit for you!

 

Grandparents Matter Too!

Grandparents

We know that grandparents are special people in the lives of many young people. We also know that grandparents derive a lot of pleasure from participating in the life of their grandkids. To that end, Westmont is considering beginning a few offerings for grandparents, including a Grandparents Day program. But to do this, we need to be able to contact them! If you think your student’s grandparents would like to participate in a few grandparent offerings, please provide us with their contact information HERE.

Did You Know?

President Gayle D. Beebe Did you know that President Beebe and his Executive Team meet with all staff about once each month during the school year? These 90-minute gatherings in Page Multipurpose Room give all staff the opportunity to hear updates from the president, learn more about college programs and operations, interact with students and faculty, meet new staff colleagues, and pray (and occasionally sing) together. At our most recent Staff Forum:

    • President Beebe talked about the recent trustee meetings and his subsequent trip on college business to Singapore;
    • Provost Mark Sargent, a professor and two staff members talked about efforts to "cultivate diversity and global engagement," which is one of Westmont's strategic priorities;
    • Two students and two staff members reflected on how well the college is living out its Community Life Statement;
    • Professor Jane Wilson shared some of what she has learned as an educator about "Gratitude and Work";
    • Five staff members led the group in singing "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Give Thanks"; and
    • President Beebe concluded the time together with prayer

Important Dates

Thanksgiving Holiday: November 26-28

Christmas Tree, aka Pickle Tree Lighting (families welcome) Santa Photos for alumni & Dr. Beebe Christmas Dinner for students in DC: December 2

Last Day to Order Final Survival Kits: December 11

Last Day of Classes: December 12

Final Exams: December 16-19

Residence Halls Close: December 20 at noon

Winter Recess: December 20 - January 11

Residence Halls Open: January 10 at noon

Spring Orientation for New Parents: January 10 (12-3 p.m.)

Spring Classes Begin: January 12

Martin Luther King Holiday: January 19

Parents Weekend and Spring Sing: March 20-21

Important Links

Parents and Families – Find information specifically for YOU!

Student Life - Find information for all student life offices, such as the Counseling and Health Centers, Office of Life Planning, and more.

Campus Life - Find information about student-run organizations, clubs and ministries.

Westmont Athletics – See Warrior Sports calendars and subscribe to the Warrior Update

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art - Discover information about the museum and exhibits.

Westmont Bookstore - Shop for gifts online.

iTunes U - Access the archive of Westmont chapels, lectures and events at itunesu.westmont.edu.

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