Issue 1 of 6 | Introduction
March 19, 2021
Dear Longhorn Parent,
 
You are receiving this Next Steps eNewsletter because your son or daughter was admitted to UT Austin’s Class of 2025 and shared your contact information during the application process. As the university prepares for the arrival of our newest Longhorns, we want you to also be informed and connected as your family begins the transition from high school to the start of the fall semester.
 
In this issue you will be introduced to university leadership, academic and non-academic elements in place to support your Longhorn and an overview of the different tools that will be used to help you learn about UT Austin in the coming months. 
 
You’ll receive five more issues of Next Steps, each will have a different theme for the content and will build upon the information from the previous issue. At the end of every issue will be a “What's Next" section to keep you progressing to the Next Steps.
 
So let’s get started and Hook 'Em Horns!
Especially for You
Texas Parents is one of the nine departments in the Division of Student Affairs and is specifically in place to help the parents and families of all undergraduate students. Our on-campus office consists of four full-time dedicated staff, Susie, Lindsey, Jamie and Gloria and fantastic part-time student staff.

The department is responsible for managing the Texas Parents Association, producing Family Orientation and Family Weekend. Most importantly, whether you are a first-time college parent, a UT alum or an expert at sending your kids to college, Texas Parents exists to help you better support your student from enrollment through graduation. You can call 512-471-2353 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m-5 p.m. (CT) or email TexasParents@austin.utexas.edu
How We Will Keep You Informed
The Texas Parents office will introduce you to resources and campus information through multiple communication tools:
Next Steps eNewsletters
This is the first in a series of six eNewsletters you’ll receive, breaking this journey into "what you need to know now" and "what you'll need to know later" segments. Issues sent March-June introduce topics leading up to Orientation and July-August issues prepare you for Mooov-in. Issues will also include reminders and action items for both you and your student. See issue themes and distribution timeline below:
Next Steps Issue #1 | Introduction | March 19
Next Steps Issue #2 | Acclimation| April 16
Next Steps Issue #3 | Orientation | May 14
Next Steps Issue #4 | Preparation | June 11
Next Steps Issue #5 | Anticipation | July 9
Next Steps Issue #6 | Transition | August 13
The New Parent Guide
In mid-May 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 acts as a "Guide" helping you to better understand the resources available to you and your student. Additionally, an electronic version will be posted to the Parents and Families website.  
Parents and Families Website
UT Austin has multiple websites that house an incredible array of content, making it sometimes hard to know where to begin looking for something. The parents.utexas.edu website was created to be a starting point for you to more easily find information by topics. It showcases campus-wide information specific to the needs of prospective, incoming, transfer and all undergraduate families and is designed to be an ongoing resource throughout the undergraduate years. If you don't find what you need, call the Texas Parents office!
Online Family Orientation is a robust program presented by university leadership, faculty, students, staff and parent volunteers. Content focuses on providing you with the information needed for your student’s successful transition to the start of the fall semester. You'll receive cross-campus presentations and materials intentionally designed to expand upon information in the Next Steps eNewsletters and the New Parent Guide. Registration will open Thursday, April 1.
Meet University Leadership
President Jay Hartzell
Learn more here.
 


The Office of the President identifies and implements strategies that will advance the mission, vision and values of the university while remaining approachable to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families that come together as the Longhorn Nation.
 
Learn more about university leadership, presidential messages and speeches as well as councils and programs here.
Interim Executive Vice President and Provost
Dan Jaffe 
Learn more here.
 
The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost 
touches every facet of your student’s academic experience from the moment your student applied to the university all the way to graduation. The office also supports the more than 3,000 faculty in their pursuit of imparting knowledge and it fosters an environment of discovery and cutting-edge research to ensure the talents and creativity of both our students and faculty produce incredible educational experiences.
 
Learn more about the organizational structure, academic mission and initiatives here.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Soncia Reagins-Lilly 
Learn more here.
 
The Division of Student Affairs 
supports students through innovative programs, facilities and services and is comprised of nine departments, 37 units and 39 facilities. This includes 14 on-campus residence halls, dining facilities, medical and mental health services, student and family orientations, recreational sports and two university unions. As you will see, resources and educational opportunities for your Longhorn go far beyond the classroom.

Learn more here.
“As I see it, the job of a university president is to help — and get out of the way when needed! — so that you can thrive. From the alumna with a game-changing startup idea in Dallas, to the first-generation student coming from the Rio Grande Valley to start learning on our campus, I want to make sure that everyone in this community has the ability to maximize the impacts of their talent, share their gifts with the world, compete and win at the highest level and feel that they truly belong as Longhorns. I know we can make that a reality, and when we do, just wait — this university will contribute and achieve on a scale that we have never seen before.
President Jay Hartzell's message to Longhorn Nation, September 23, 2020 after being selected as UT Austin's 30th president
Understanding the Academic Structure
Colleges and Schools
UT Austin has 13 colleges and schools offering undergraduate programming with over 170 fields of study.

The administration of each college or school is the responsibility of its dean and in most, an associate or assistant dean for student affairs oversees advising and support services for their students. Several colleges are further divided into departments that are headed by a department chair or academic centers that fall under the responsibility of the center director.

To follow are links to each college or school's website along with an introduction to its dean.
Learning value
Meet Dean Charles R. Martinez, Jr. here.

Meet Dean Doug Dempster here.

Meet Dean Ann Huff Stevens here.

Meet Interim Dean David Vanden Bout here.

Meet Dean Sharon L. Wood here.

Meet Dean Claudia Mora here.

Meet Interim Dean Lillian Mills here.
Meet Dean Jay M. Bernhardt here.

Meet Dean Michelle Addington here.

Meet Dean Eric Meyer here.

Meet Dean Alexa Stuifbergen here.

Meet Dean Brent Iverson here.

Meet Dean Luis Zayas here.
Responsibility value
Academic Advising
Each college and school has an academic advising department with professional staff who offer your student the opportunity to learn about educational options, degree requirements and academic policies and procedures. They also clarify educational objectives; helping your student plan and pursue programs consistent with their abilities, interests and life goals. They also help students understand how to best take advantage of the university's many resources.

In coming issues, we'll expand on the role Academic Advisors will play in your student's orientation experience and how developing a relationship with their advisor will be important step to take.
Understanding the University
Understanding FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, is a federal law that restricts access to educational records and information that make the student's identity easily traceable. Access to this information is...read more here.

UT EIDs, Passwords and Confidentiality
At UT Austin, students are expected to take ownership of many of the tasks that you possibly have completed for them, like filling out forms, checking grades and paying bills. While some parents would like access to all of this information, the university recognizes the importance of students becoming self-sufficient so they can prepare for life beyond the Forty Acres. One of the ways the university reinforces the importance of students becoming self-sufficient is by entrusting them with...read more here

Gaining Access to Discuss Your Student's Financial Aid (FERPA Release)
Your student can complete an online FERPA Release Authorization form with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) that allows Texas One Stop to discuss your student's financial aid with you. This release will not give you access to your student’s CASH (Check Aid Status Here) page and it will not give you access to other FERPA protected information such as grades or class schedules. If your student would like you to have the ability to speak with Texas One Stop on his or her behalf, it is important that your student complete one form per parent/guardian as soon as possible to grant you that access. Encourage your student to go to his or her CASH page to complete the form. In completing the form, your student will be asked to create a separate password for your use when you speak with Texas One Stop. Encourage your student to go here and scroll to the bottom of the page for more information about the necessary steps. 
Meet New Student Services
Discovery Value
New Student Services (NSS) is one of the nine departments in the Division of Student Affairs. NSS is specifically in place to acclimate your student to the university. They are responsible for overseeing New Student Orientation as well as producing Longhorn Welcome, UT's official welcome week full of events for all Longhorns.

Orientation Advisors
Each year, NSS hires a diverse group of talented students, called Orientation Advisors (OAs), to develop, plan and execute New Student Orientation. Through a 4-credit course, OAs receive in-depth personal and group leadership development, training on university history and skills that help them better help your student.

If your student has questions regarding orientation encourage them to call (512) 471-3304 or email NSS Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m (CT). NSS staff will be happy to speak with families of incoming students in general terms but is unable to speak specifically about your Longhorn with you.
Meet The Texas Parents Association
Everyone belongs.

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.

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

There are two types of membership: complimentary and supporting. Choose the level that is best for your family and sign up beginning Thursday, April 1!

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, emailed 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. Equally important, your gift 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, discounts with local and national vendors and many other perks.
 
Learn more here. Membership sign-ups begin Thursday, April 1.
What's Next
Next Steps Issue #2 | Acclimation | April 19
We will continue expanding your understanding of the university including an introduction to Texas One Stop and offering suggestions on how your student can best prepare for a successful transition to UT Austin.
Orientation Registration Opens Thursday, April 1
All students are required to attend New Student Orientation this summer. Family Orientation is not required but is highly encouraged. Registration for New Student Orientation and Family Orientation are two separate processes. Only students may participate in New Student Orientation. Learn more here.
Immunization Information:
The State requires students entering Texas institutions of higher education who will be under the age of 22 on the first day of the semester they enter that institution to submit proof that they have received the meningococcal vaccine within five years of the first day of the semester that they will enter. Additionally, all students entering UT Austin must provide proof of measles immunity. Students must provide proof that they have complied with these requirements before they can register for classes. Incoming international students have additional requirements.
 
Encourage your student to submit their documentation to University Health Services no later than two weeks prior to their orientation session.
 
Visit Healthyhorns to learn more.
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512-471-2353 | Toll Free 888-690-0012 | TexasParents@austin.utexas.edu
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Central)