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Penn State’s New “Babysitting” Office

42-20036332Parents will be able to better keep tabs on their kids like a hawk over nervous field mice with Penn State’s new “Parents Program.”

It’s reported by the CDT that the university will create a single office to handle (or deal with) parental concerns of all kinds. A director will be put in place to act as a contact person for students’ families, and most likely, face a cavalcade of questions like “why is little Timmy’s B+ not getting bumped up to an A?”

The new single office will congeal responsibilities previously handled by Student Affairs, Undergraduate Education, and the Alumni Association. With so many social media outlets, computers and cell phones around for students to stay in touch with their parents these days, Penn State found it necessary to try and keep up with the information demands with the formation of the new office.

Interesting facts in the original report included the 2007 National Survey of Student Engagement’s findings that 86% of first-year students and senior students had frequent electronic contact with their mothers and over 70% had the same frequent contact with their fathers.

Kudos to families for staying close and well-informed when kids are off at school.

On the other hand, those numbers might indicate that maybe the leash ought to be let out a little further on students when they’re at school. Whoever is initiating those contacts, whether it’s the students or parents, should consider taking the water wings off and going for a swim through the deep end of college.

Independence may be one of the most valuable lessons one can learn over four years of collage. That’s hard to accomplish when Mom and Dad can seemingly call into the office to see if you’ve washed your sheets since move-in day.

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