News from the Nest

Melissa Shivers, Vice President for Student Life

Melissa Shivers
Vice President for Student Life

Welcome to our new Iowa families, and welcome back to those who continue to support Hawkeyes returning to campus!! I hope you and your students are settling in and adjusting to a new routine. This is the best time of year to be on campus – there is a contagious enthusiasm as students form new friendships, welcome a new academic year, prepare for football season, and enjoy Iowa City.

As the Vice President for Student Life, I send this newsletter monthly to keep parents and families informed about a few things taking place on campus. Communicating with you and your students is such a fun part of my job. Please don’t ever hesitate to make it a two-way street.

In This Edition

  • Parent and Family Council
  • Parent and Family Network
  • Family Weekend
  • Early Semester Stress 

Parent and Family Council

Some of you have heard that this fall the Division of Student Life is launching a Parent and Family Council. This idea grew from feedback UI families shared about their desire to have a more active role with the university. Parents and families have a huge influence on our students and we are excited to provide you with this opportunity to engage and support their experience. 

Participation will include two meetings each year hosted by the Division of Student Life, that focus on showcasing the great work taking place in the Division, engaging with administrators across campus, and sharing feedback about ways we can continue to strengthen the student experience. There will be new, local opportunities in your home cities and around the country to share our story and build community around the University of Iowa. Council participants will be asked to help identify other families with an interest in deepening their connection to student life at Iowa. Additionally, we hope you will support the Division of Student Life Excellence Fund with a monetary gift.  

If you have an interest in joining this group, please send an email to my assistant, Pam Krogmeier at We would be happy to provide you with more information.

Parent and Family Network

The UI Parent & Family Network sponsors and is involved with a variety of campus activities throughout the academic year. Excitement for this group continues to grow, and we would love to get you involved in everything including our Family and Parent Webinar series. I also encourage you to download our Family Calendar to stay up-to-date on events and activities happening on campus.  

Be sure to sign up to receive Iowa Now for Parents & Families via email

Family Weekend

Please mark your calendars for November 9-11 and plan to join us for Family Weekend at Iowa. Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, this is a fun time to explore campus and spend time with your student learning about their life at Iowa. As you can see from the calendar, we have many events planned and would love to see as many of you as possible. 

You can register online here

Early Semester Stress

With the excitement of a new year also comes a certain amount of stress and anxiety. The three most common struggles students have this time of year are: taking care of themselves physically, managing academic expectations, and managing their emotional needs. When they call home or text, remind them of the importance of eating more than just pizza, keeping track of deadlines, and finding ways to recharge their emotional batteries. Establishing healthy habits early in the semester will be tremendously helpful as they progress through the semester. Other tips you might offer are:

  • Encourage them to visit Campus Rec  

  • Remind them that Iowa has free nutritional services available to all students

  • Let them know that their faculty have an interest in connecting with them – it is wise to get to know instructors and use office hours early in the semester

  • Let your student know that their emotional and mental health is important to their academic success. Whether it’s using a meditation app or finding a healthy and fun hobby, taking time for self-care will help them find balance.

  • Talk to them about individual as well as group resources available for academic support. You can find most of these at the Tutor Iowa website

I hope you are as excited to be a part of the Iowa family as I am to have you! Thank you for sharing your students with us. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Together for UI,

an image of the signature for Melissa S. Shivers, VP for Student Life

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Vice President for Student Life
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

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