PARENTS’ LEAGUE NEWSLETTER Fall 2013 Important Dates & Events
Setbacks happen in all realms of life, but many students experience their first academic setbacks when they arrive at college and face academic and time management demands they’ve never faced before. Coping with setbacks is an important skill students can build during their undergraduate years and carry with them to their post-UT plans. When those first quizzes come back with Cs or Ds, help your student keep the following in mind:
October 18 - 20
University of Texas Family Weekend
Liberal Arts Family Weekend Breakfast & Open House
Deadline Day: last day to drop or pass/fail classes or withdraw from the University
November 28 - 29
December 6 Last class day
Liberal Arts Fall Commencement Ceremony Frank Erwin Center 3 p.m.
December 11-17 Final exams
Residence halls close For more event information, please visit the Liberal Arts website: www.utexas.edu/cola
Summer Cacciotti, Senior Academic Advisor
1. Don’t panic This might be the first C your student has seen, but it’s not the first his or her professor has seen. Students shouldn’t assume they are unable to meet the University’s academic standards based on one or two grades.
2. Take action The University is staffed with people who are here to help students. If their course material is confusing or their professors’ expectations are unclear, students should reach out to their professors early in the semester. The Sanger Learning Center offers group and one-on-one tutoring in many subjects. They also offer study skills training for students who need to build new study habits to replace what worked for them in high school. The Undergraduate Writing Center provides students individualized assistance for developing strategies to improve their writing skills. The Counseling and Mental Health Center is also there to provide support for students dealing with stress and anxiety.
3. Know your options and deadlines The University allows students to Q-drop classes and withdraw up to the mid-semester deadline. The one-time exception provides students one opportunity, over the course of their University career, to drop a single class or withdraw up through the last class day. Students who have tried using the resources at their disposal who are still struggling should talk to their academic advisors about appropriate steps to take in their current semester and plans for improving future semesters.
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From Beijing to San Francisco:
Jordan Metoyer’s Summer Abroad
Emily Nielsen, Public Affairs
Classes are officially back in session and another summer has come to an end. Liberal Arts students know how to make their time away from Austin count, and economics and urban studies senior Jordan Metoyer is no exception.
In addition, I reaffirmed my belief that social capacity building is impossible without meaningful partnerships. In order to continue legacies of sustainable community development, partners in host countries must not only have a seat at the table,
Where did you go this summer and what did you hope to accomplish?
I was lucky enough to return to the U.S. and intern for an organization that implements this model of community partnership, specifically in its work on local control school funding and a Bay Area redevelopment plan.
For the first half of summer I traveled to Beijing as a Division of Diversity and Community Engagement Fellow under the direction of Drs. Ge Chen and Leonard Moore to compare social enterprise strategies in China and the United States. I chose to focus on housing access for rural-to-urban migrant families, which is regulated by the hukou system. In addition to conducting research, I also taught English at the Dandelion School, an elementary school for migrant children. Once I arrived back in the states, I traveled to San Francisco for a summer internship with Public Advocates Inc., a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization fighting the systemic causes of racial discrimination and poverty by empowering community voices and achieving tangible legal victories. Public Advocates’ commitment to advancing education, housing and transit equity has resulted in its reputation as “the small but noisy law firm.”
Did you come away with any important insights? Whenever I travel and intern during the summer months, I discover new insights about myself, the nature of human interaction and leading discussions in fields of personal interest. This summer continued to fit that mold. Primarily, I learned about the many privileges I hold in an international context. When I listened to the students in China describe their living situations during the migratory transition from rural villages to Beijing, I became increasingly aware of the links between safe, sanitary, permanent housing and opportunity. But also an appreciated voice in the conversation. The disparity in educational outcomes between children who have a place to call home and others who face conditions of homelessness is astounding.
The world’s largest and most complex issues. This was undoubtedly shaped by my experiences traveling to Beijing and interning at Public Advocates.
What was your most memorable moment this summer? This summer, I set a personal objective to lend myself to as many new experiences as possible. After photographing a staff attorney discuss inequitable transportation options during a town hall meeting, climbing 1,500 feet to the peak of a Jianshanling mountain, navigating the halls of the California Capitol, bartering with a Beijing antique vendor and gaining a cherished glimpse into the lives of human beings who share my same span of history, I can confidently say that I exceeded my goal.
How do you think your research experiences abroad will be helpful in the future? During summer internships, students connect the theories they learn in the confines of the classroom to a vastly different setting.
From Beijing to San Francisco continued I was able to connect my interdisciplinary academic background and housing policy research to Public Advocates’ anti-displacement policies. From community organizing to corporate revenue analysis, the opportunities for summer internships are as varied as the majors offered at UT. What starts at this incredible University can, and quite often does, change the world. The first step in this process is putting the invaluable resources and knowledge one gains after their time at UT to use.
What are your post-graduation plans? And did your summer experiences solidify these aspirations, or were you inspired to pursue a different path? After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in economics and urban studies, I plan to continue gaining experience in civic engagement, housing and urban development policy and political organizing before attending graduate school for public policy and urban planning. I am particularly interested in attending a graduate school daring enough to tackle the world’s largest and most complex issues. This was undoubtedly shaped by my experiences traveling to Beijing and interning at Public Advocates.
Liberal Arts Freshmen Win Top Spots in Video Contest
Emily Nielsen, Public Affairs
Two Liberal Arts freshmen began their time at UT with an expression of their creative and technological sides – entering and winning the Gone To Texas Video Contest. Every year, Gone To Texas welcomes new students to campus and shows them what it means to be a Longhorn. A part of that tradition is a video contest, now in its fifth year, which allows students to explore a theme and discover what UT has to offer them. This year’s theme was “What starts here, changes the world.” Zeyi Lin, the contest’s overall winner, is a Plan II and electrical engineering major. The inspiration behind his video was his sense of appreciation and wonder for technology. Gone To Texas was the first video contest Lin ever entered; previously, he had only created videos for school projects. Lin received a Dell laptop as his first-place prize. “Gone To Texas was a truly memorable way to kick off the year,” Lin said. “Learning more about the University’s core values and watching the Longhorn Band perform are some reasons why I am so proud to call The University of Texas at Austin my home for the next four years.” Logan Crossley, a Plan II and international relations and global studies major, was awarded second place and an iPad Mini. “I’ve always loved the concept of Rube Goldberg machines: after a series of completely random tasks, something finally gets accomplished in the most roundabout way,” Crossley said, on the inspiration for his entry. “Oftentimes they work in totally unexpected ways and feature objects with seemingly no relation to one another. I found that to have many striking parallels to UT.” Being recognized by the Gone To Texas judges and capturing the attention of fellow students made Crossley determined to keep producing imaginative content. “As I was walking back to my dorm last night, another student stopped me,” Crossley said. “He said, ‘Your video was amazing. It was exactly what I wanted to see in this competition. It made me happy.’ Comments like that justify all of the work and the late nights of editing and set design. That’s why I want to continue doing this in the future.”
Join us for Liberal Arts Family Weekend Saturday, October 19, 2013
All Liberal Arts families are invited to participate in this year’s Family Weekend activities. This event gives families a unique opportunity for an up-close look at what a Liberal Arts education has to offer.
Breakfast and Open House Enjoy a complimentary breakfast on the patio of the new College of Liberal Arts (CLA) building. Throughout the morning you can visit information tables hosted by Liberal Arts advisors, UT and Liberal Arts study abroad, Liberal Arts Career Services, Liberal Arts Parents’ League, and Liberal Arts Council. There will also be information sessions presented by the directors of various offices and programs.
Mini-Classes with Faculty Attend any of the six short courses that will be taught by some of the most talented faculty in the College. Classes are 40 minutes long and cover a variety of topics and issues. Past class topics include: “The U.S. Congress: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” “Stress and Coping,” and “The Consumer as Saint or Sinner in American History.” Register online at www.utaustinfamilyweekend.com. Complete schedule of Liberal Arts events available at www.utexas.edu/cola Click on “Parents+Visitors” and then “Liberal Arts Family Weekend.”