Fall student

An ongoing newsfeed with opportunities for university offices to post helpful information for parents

By John Baker Brown, Campus Life

The vision was a one-stop shop that affords parents easy access to information that helps them partner more closely with the university to enhance support for Emory students.

The realization of that vision is the institution’s first online Parent and Family Experience portal, scheduled to launch for undergraduate families at the Atlanta Campus October 1 and at the Oxford Campus later this fall or early spring.

Screen shot of parent portal
Photo by Tina Chang.

Engaging parents and families in university life

“The portal will provide an ongoing newsfeed with opportunities for university offices to post helpful information for parents,” according to Bridget Guernsey Riordan, assistant vice president of Campus Life and lead for the portal project.

“It will also feature online communities like housing and residence life, health and wellness, campus dining, academics, athletics, and even communities for each undergraduate class year,” she added. “Parents can join as many communities as they want and receive information specific to those areas.” 

For example, career support is an area of particular interest to many parents, so the Career Center will submit schedules for activities like career fairs, allowing parents and students to discuss such opportunities. Similar information from other university departments will serve the same purpose.

A calendar of important dates will also help to keep parents and students on the same page – including, for example, registration, class schedule, and grade change deadlines, as well as dates for breaks, end of classes, exam periods, and more.

The project, in development for several years, is an initiative of the Office of Parent and Family Programs, which Riordan helped to launch and has led for the past five of her 27 years with Campus Life. The office, as the name suggests, is charged with engaging the families of Emory students in the life of the university.

Supporting that goal, the Parent and Family Experience portal complements the existing Parent and Family Programs website, newsletter, and other initiatives.

“A survey of parents during the 2018-19 academic year gave us a range of information and pointed us in the right direction,” said Riordan. “Parents told us what information they most wanted, and we placed that information front and center on the portal.”

Paret portal screen close up
Protecting FERPA data

However, Riordan pointed out that some information she hopes to add will require students’ permission before it is shared with their parents. Examples include grade reports, class schedules, financial status, student conduct, financial aid, and other information that requires a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) release from students.

Riordan is working closely with the registrar’s office and information technologies governance to secure necessary approvals to release such information to parents with their student’s approval.

“We are absolutely committed to protecting student privacy,” emphasized Riordan. “And we are confident that student privacy is completely compatible with the university’s commitment to partner with parents to ensure that every one of our students enjoys the best possible Emory experience.”

Information on the portal will be sent to parents following the official launch in October. However, parents may opt-in now by following the portal link below.

Learn more

Parent and Family Experience portal (requires account setup): http://Emory.campusesp.com

Parent and Family Programs: http://family.emory.edu