Issue 3 of 6
May 8, 2020
Greetings!

In previous issues of Next Steps, you were introduced to President Greg Fenves and Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly. This month, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Dr. Dan Jaffe, interim executive vice president and provost. Dr. Jaffe has a deep passion for UT Austin and understands its academic landscape from multiple vantage points.

Dr. Jaffe arrived to UT Austin in 1986 as an assistant professor in Astronomy and steadily moved up the ranks to professor, associate chair and then chair of the department to most recently, vice president for research for the entire university. Since 2014, he has held the distinguished Jane and Roland Blumberg Professorship in Astronomy, instructing countless students in the study of star and planetary formation.

For many students, neither they nor their parents and families are familiar with the provost’s office or the important role the provost will play in their collegiate journey. As you and your Longhorn are putting your heads around all that awaits your student academically, think of Provost Jaffe like the conductor of an orchestra. Just as a conductor brings the talents of many musicians together, guides their tempo and blends their many unique sounds into beautiful music, so will Provost Jaffe as he leads UT Austin's 18 world-class colleges and schools and supports more than 3,000 faculty in their pursuit of imparting knowledge to your sons and daughters.

When thinking of a conductor, I picture him with his back to his audience. This isn’t because he’s ignoring the audience; rather, he is focused on drawing the talent and creativity from each musician for the audience’s benefit. So, too, will you find Provost Jaffe, not as forward-facing as other administrators; rather, working behind the scenes with deans and faculty to ensure that their talents and creativity produce incredible educational possibilities for your remarkable sons and daughters. 

Please check out the “Quick Introductions” section below to learn more about Provost Jaffe and the Office of the Provost.

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue of Next Steps and that your familiarity with UT Austin and the many resources in place to help you help your students increases.

Hook ‘em Horns!

Sincerely,
Susie Smith
Director, Texas Parents
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Quick Introductions:

  • Dr. Dan Jaffe serves UT Austin as interim executive vice president and provost. Learn more about Dr. Jaffe here.

  • The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost coordinates the academic mission of the university, manages the academic experience for students and implements policies and procedures related to faculty and administration. Learn more here.
New Student Services (NSS)
Understanding Your Student's Online Orientation
Part 1: Pre-Orientation Videos
On May 1, NSS emailed your student a link to access seven pre-orientation videos that must be watched before their orientation session. Students can also access pre-orientation videos in their MyUT portal. Topic examples include Bevonomics (understanding finances as a college student), UT's Honor Code, how to read the course schedule and how class registration will work. These videos play an important role as students begin to shape their understanding of important policies and procedures.

Part 2: Introduction to Canvas Content and Modules
On May 15, NSS will email your student with information about the online procedures they'll use during the live virtual segment of student orientation. The email will also explain how the university is temporarily upgrading incoming student's UT EIDs to access necessary technology for orientation. Please note, later in the summer more information will be provided regarding procedures for students to permanently update their UT EIDs and obtain their ID cards.

This email will also include information about modules accessed through Canvas, the eLearning platform students will use throughout their time at UT. These modules will include: Academic Success, Campus Life, Your Resources and Safety at UT. As students complete these modules, they’ll be engaged through brief quizzes and videos helping them become familiar with their central hub, Canvas.

Phase 3: Live Virtual Orientation
Ten days prior to the first day of students' online orientation session, students will gain access to the Canvas modules outlined above and will receive final details about their schedule (Part 3). NSS has strategically designed a robust three-day program to meet multiple objectives. In the live virtual phase of orientation, your student will be interacting with fellow students in small groups, meeting with academic advisors, exploring campus life and ways to become involved while connecting with UT professional and student staff. 
 
The last activity of your student's online orientation session will be registering for fall classes. As each phase builds upon the next, your student will feel confident and connected to the Forty Acres and its traditions.

Go here for a schedule overview.
Pre and Post Orientation Checklists
NSS has developed a six-step pre-orientation check list to help students get organized before starting their orientation sessions. Encourage your student to check it out here . It will be time well-spent! Also, after completing online orientation, remind your student that the post-orientation checklist offers great suggestions on how to take final steps in the transition.

If Your Student Needs Accommodations During Online Orientation
If your student has a disability that requires accommodations for online orientation, go  here   for information on how your student can request accommodations.
Immunization Information Required
Before Your Longhorn Can Register:
The State of Texas requires students who will be younger than 22 on the first day of the semester they enter an institution of higher education to prove they have received a meningococcal vaccine within five years of that first day.  Starting fall 2020, proof of measles immunity is also required.   Find compliance details  here including guidance if you are having difficulty getting records or vaccines due to stay-at-home orders/recommendations. Please note, incoming international students have additional requirements.

Your student should  submit documentatio n   to meet these requirements to University Health Services (UHS) at least   two weeks before their Online Student Orientation session . Keep a copy of their documents handy in the unlikely event you need to resubmit them.
Can I Join My Student's Online Orientation?
The short answer is no, you should not sit in on your student's Online Student Orientation. Attending orientation, whether online or on-campus, is structured with an intentional separation between student and parents/families so that students can better immerse themselves academically and socially in their soon-to-be community. Rest assured that 80 student Orientation Advisors (OAs), professional NSS staff, campus leadership and academic advisors will all be in place to support and guide your student as well as answer your student's questions.

Please know the university understands, appreciates and respects the important role you have played in preparing your student for this moment. For those reasons, UT Austin has created an orientation program specifically to meet your needs. The intention in having two separate programs is to give both student and parents/families the information needed for a successful transition but with insights and perspectives that address your different roles in the coming months. Check out Online Family Orientation information below!
Online Family Orientation
with Texas Parents
Online Family Orientation is a complimentary program focused on providing you with the information needed for your student's successful transition in August. You'll receive cross-campus presentations and materials intentionally designed to expand upon information in the Next Steps eNewsletters and the New Parent Guide. Below is general information and a schedule-at-a-glance.
Program Highlights
  • Pre-recorded content released over six, week-long phases, offering flexibility with work and home obligations while learning about campus

  • Phase 1 releases the week of May 25 and Phase 6 releases the week of June 29

  • Set your own pace, watching weekly or daily, at any time of the day or night

  • Previously released content is always accessible, regardless of your registration date

  • Every Friday, you’ll receive an email introducing the upcoming week's content and release schedule

Need to Knows
  • Registration is required to access the orientation website; you will need your student’s UT EID to register

  • Online Family Orientation content is designed and intended only for parents/guardians; it is not intended for your Longhorn or hoping-to-be Longhorn siblings    

  • At the conclusion of each presentation, you have the ability to submit questions

  • With each phase, you’ll feel more connected to the university and equipped with conversational topics to discuss with your student about his or her upcoming college experience

Learn more here .
Schedule-at-a-Glance
Academic Readiness
Mathematics Readiness with the UT Math Assessment

Students planning to take Calculus I (M408C/K/N/R) are required to complete the "UT Math Assessment" before their orientation session but preferably before June 1.  Doing so ensures that students are academically prepared for the rigor of UT math courses by testing their calculus knowledge and abilities. To get started, students must purchase the online Math Readiness Package ($50) that provides online learning modules and a proctored assessment. The UT Math Assessment website includes a wealth of information. Learn more here .

Students who are not required to take Calculus but have a degree plan that allows credit for M305G (a pre-calculus course), have the option to take the "UT Math for Credit Exam" and try to earn credit for that course. The test fee is $60 and students do not need to register in advance for the exam. Learn more here .

Chemistry Readiness
To help students prepare for college-level chemistry courses at UT Austin, the College of Natural Sciences requires those taking CH301 in the fall to purchase and complete the online ALEKS Chemistry assessment and score a minimum of 85. Learn more about guidelines, time commitments and next steps here . Encourage your student to mark June 1 on the calendar to circle back to the link for details on how to purchase and access ALEKS Chemistry.

Where to Find More Testing Information
Remind your student the pre-orientation checklist includes information about foreign language placement tests, Texas Success Initiative (TSI), Engineering Spatial Visualization Assessments and test accommodations for those needing special assistance
Academic Advising
The role high school counselors play in students’ academic journeys can vary greatly from what a student experiences with their college academic advisor. At UT Austin, academic advising is a collaborative effort between the student and advisor. Online Family Orientation offers a presentation that explains the roles and responsibilities of both the student and the advisor as well as tips and suggestions to help you help you r student.

Core Curriculum and Flag Requirements
In addition to major requirements and electives, every UT Austin student, regardless of major, must also complete a 42-hour core curriculum and earn "Flags" in six areas of study. Flags are taken in residence and not at another institution. Learn more here .
What Does It Mean to Be A Student Enrolled in UGS? 
The School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) is home to students who have yet to declare a major. While enrolled in UGS, your student will explore majors and careers so he or she can confidently choose a field of study to pursue. Check out the video!
First Year Experience (FYE)
The Forty Acres is a big campus, filled with opportunities, resources, and new adventures. The FYE office helps make this big campus feel smaller. Every UT Austin student make connections on campus through participation in FYE courses and programs that have been proven to help ensure students are successful in their first year and beyond.
 
Signature Courses
Learning looks and feels different in college than it did in high school. Signature Courses introduce students to the skills needed to transform into college scholars while participating in classes with expert faculty who are leaders in their fields. 

360 Connections
All incoming first-time college students will participate in a small learning community, called a 360 Connection, in their first semester. Whether it's a First-year Interest Group (FIG), a Student Success program, an honors program, or other small group, the knowledge students gain in these communities will be critical to their success at UT, and will give them the tools they need to become engaged with their fellow Longhorns. Students will learn more about 360 options during orientation. Each 360 Connection is unique if what it offers students but they all have these the same foundation:
  • Approximately 20 students
  • Routine meetings, typically once a week
  • A peer mentor and a staff or faculty member connected to the group
  • A particular topic and curriculum
Signature Courses
First Year Interest Groups (FIGs)
Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA)
and
Student Accounts Receivable (SAR)
Financial Hardship due to COVID-19
If your student has already completed the FAFSA and your family has experienced recent job loss, increased medical expenses or other financial hardship, your student can complete the  Special/Unusual Circumstances Appeal form, which  allows UT to assess your financial aid and make any adjustments to your student’s financial aid package given your current situation. The 2020–2021 form should be submitted via email to Texas One Stop at  onestop@utexas.edu . Additional documentation may be required.

OSFA Has Begun Releasing Financial Aid Notifications for Admitted Freshman Students
Encourage your student to regularly check his or her "Check Aid Status Here" (CASH) page to make sure there are no outstanding requirements or missing documents that could delay the release of his or her Financial Aid Notification (FAN).

For more Financial Information see Next Steps Issue #1  here  .
MyUT Student Portal and App
MyUT is the university’s online student portal that will be used for everything from viewing their class schedule to accessing personalized financial aid and registration information. Encourage your student to log in and visit their customized Texas '24 homepage, which includes important information about preparing for orientation. Your student also can download  the MyUT mobile app  for quick access to a map of campus and much more.
Important Information if Your Student Graduated as Valedictorian
from a Texas High School
Per the Texas Education Code (Chapter 54, Section 54.301), the highest ranking graduate of any accredited Texas high school is eligible for an exemption which covers tuition during the first two long-session semesters following graduation. The "Tuition Waiver to Public Colleges and Universities" certificate, issued by the high school, may be scanned and submitted to  tuition@austin.utexas.edu . Please include the student's EID and indicate the first semester of use.
Campus Computer Store
The Campus Computer Store is UT Austin's official technology store serving Longhorns as a resource for computers, software, accessories and technical services. Located in the Flawn Academic Center (FAC), the Computer Store offers:
  •  A "Shop By Major" guide, developed with UT Austin's schools and colleges, allowing students to view computer options for their majors
  • Discounts on Apple and Dell products as well as in and out of warranty repair services on all major computer brands
  • Dell's "Back to School" $100 e-gift card with select Dell purchases
  • Credit towards a new purchase with an old unit trade-in program
  • Flexible financing

Learn more here. Cal l 512-475-6550 or email for a custom quote.
IT@UT
Student Have Access to Certain Software at No Additional Cost
Before purchasing software or subscriptions to cloud-based services, students should check the IT@UT website first. As UT Austin students, there are many softwares and systems they have access to for no additional cost. Students are eligible for the Microsoft Office and also have access to Office 365 which includes Outlook for email. Learn more here .

Duo for multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication provides an additional level of security when using university online services. At UT Austin, Duo will be used for this purpose. Students will be prompted to authenticate through Duo when logging into UT services. There are many options for setting up how your student would like to interact with Duo including the Duo mobile app, SMS text message, a call to a mobile phone or landline. It is important for students to set up their Duo option in advance of logging into systems. Students will begin receiving emails the week of May 11 with instructions for setting up Duo before they begin logging into UT online services. Learn more here or watch a short video about duo here .
Fall 2020 Update
The university leadership team is currently coordinating six campus-wide working groups — focused on Academics, Health and Wellness, Student Life, Operations, Research, and Athletics — to develop strategies for the fall. Working group insights and recommendations will shape the specific decisions the university makes about how to safely open the Forty Acres.

University leadership will announce the plans for the fall semester as they evolve, with resolution by the end of June. Please know that in the process, the university is listening to our current and incoming students and families as well as faculty. You are encouraged to follow the progress and contribute your suggestions on the Fall 2020 Planning website.
Support for All Parents and Families
Established in 1948 and still going strong! All parents and families of enrolled undergraduate students are members of the association, but families must sign up to begin receiving membership benefits.
Preparing for the start of your Longhorn's undergraduate journey can bring many questions to mind. We know everyone looks for answers differently and have developed these ways to support you:

The Texas Parents Department
An on-campus office consisting of four full-time dedicated staff and fantastic part-time student staff standing ready to help you from enrollment through graduation. Presently, your Texas Parents staff is working remotely during the COVID-19 campus closure to ensure your calls and emails are answered.
Call 512-471-2353 M-F, 8 a.m-5 p.m. (CST) or email   TexasParents@austin.utexas.edu .

Parents and Families Website ( parents.utexas.edu )
A website showcasing campus-wide information specific to the needs of prospective, incoming, transfer and all undergraduate families that is designed to be an ongoing resource over the next four years. If you don't find what you need, call the Texas Parents office!

Next Steps eNewsletters
Communications that break the transition from high school to college into "what you need to know now" and "what you'll need to know later."   Issues sent March-May introduce topics leading up to Online Family Orientation and post-orientation issues take you up to August's Mooov-in.
The New Parent Guide
An introduction to campus leadership, departments, resources and timelines in a print magazine format. This guide is mailed to U.S. residents in early-June and set up as an interactive document on the parents.utexas.edu   website.
A complimentary online program designed to continue growing your knowledge of UT Austin resources. Although not required, participation is strongly encouraged. This is a separate online program from your student's Online Orientation.
The Texas Parents Association
Everyone belongs.

Established in 1948 and still going strong! All parents and families of undergraduate students belong, but you need to sign up for the membership that best fits your family's needs. 

Memberships are set up per household, allowing one or two parents in the same household to enjoy benefits no matter how many students you have at UT Austin. 

You will need your student’s UT EID to sign up.

There are two types of membership: complimentary and supporting. Choose the level that is best for your family and sign up today!

U-Touch
A complimentary level of membership that keeps you "in touch" with the university. We accomplish this through:
  • Next Steps eNewsletters
  • Texas Parents Association eNewsletters - 12 issues of monthly communication to help you help your student, mailed to all members beginning in August at the conclusion of Next Steps
  • Emails from university administration on timely issues

One-Year supporting and Four-Year supporting
By making a tax deductible gift to the university, your One-Year or Four-Year membership "supports" the operation of the Texas Parents office and is reinvested through multiple outlets within the UT Austin community your student will call home.
 
Supporting members also receive U-Touch communications as well as additional benefits including access to the Texas Parents closed Facebook group, a pre-sale window to UT Athletics ticket sales, discounts with local and national vendors and many other perks.

Click  here  to learn more and to sign up.
What's Next
In the July/August Issues of Next Steps 
You won't receive Next Steps in the month of June but in July and August we will drill down even deeper into the many resources offered to UT Austin students. We'll also equip you with the information you need for a smooth transition in August, including details about the fall semester's structure.
In the Mail: The New Parent Guide
In June, the New Parent Guide  will be delivered to the permanent address provided by your student. This print magazine builds upon the Next Steps messages and puts you closer to a better understanding of the resources available to you and your student. Friday, June 12, you can also access a digital copy of the New Parent Guid e in the "to get you started" box  here .
Unsubscribing from the Next Steps eNewsletter
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