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News from the Nest

photo of Melissa Shivers, VP for Student Life

Melissa Shivers, VP for Student Life

As the days get shorter and busier, take time to communicate with your students. On campus, we are in the midst of midterms, projects, and fall activities. Ask them how they’re holding up, and if they’ve had time to enjoy fall. Should they need help, remind them about services like University Counseling Service and Tutor Iowa, or Student Care and Assistance

Student success is built on experiences, connections, and relationships at Iowa. Like our students, I am grateful for the mentorship and connections you build with students every day. 

Student involvement advising

Getting involved on campus or in the community is a great way to stretch while at the University of Iowa. To support these efforts, the Office of Student Engagement and Campus Programs is pleased to offer involvement advising. Advising appointments are free, one-on-one appointments where students can learn more about how to get involved on campus. Ask your student to make an appointment on their website

Students who are involved in student organizations, campus jobs, or volunteer opportunities report greater feelings of connection to other students, faculty, staff, and others in the university community. 

photo of maria bruno

Maria Bruno, Executive Director for Belonging and Inclusion

Maria Bruno, Executive Director of Belonging and Inclusion

Dr. Maria Guadalupe Bruno was hired as the division’s first director of belonging and inclusion and special assistant to the vice president at the University of Iowa. In her new role, Maria will actively participate and guide the implementation of the Division of Student Life’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) action plan completed in Spring 2019. Her strong alignment to the principles of belonging and inclusion will continue to move the division on a strategic, unified path in support of broader university’s efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, Maria will work directly with students and staff to promote and create opportunities to capitalize on their respective strengths and areas of expertise.

Dr. Bruno holds a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and previously worked as a staff psychologist within University Counseling Services at the University of Iowa. She began in her new role on October 7, 2019. 

Learn more about the DSL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) action plan

Fresh Check Day helps students get help

On October 16, our fall Fresh Check Day Mental Health Fair was held on Hubbard Park. Students had the opportunity to connect campus mental health providers in a fun, stress-free atmosphere. Attendance this year was over 400 students. A post-event survey showed that, after participating in Fresh Check Day, 49.6% of students were much more likely to ask for help if they were feeling emotional distress. Learn more about Fresh Check Day by watching this video, or contact University Counseling Service for more information. 

MLK Day of Service

Join the Iowa City community for a Day of Service in Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 20, 2020! Ask your student to register here.

Day of Service will include service projects from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at various locations. After serving, volunteers will enjoy a celebratory program at the Mercer Park Gym, including musical performances, a keynote speaker, and free lunch! The event will conclude by 2:00 PM.  Individuals of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Check After Class for upcoming events

After Class is a great way to keep up on campus events tailored for students. Visit to find events, or visit this page to subscribe to the After Class weekly email. You can also follow Student Life at Iowa on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with campus events and more.

Parent & Family Network Podcast 

Subscribe to the Parent & Family Network podcast to hear conversations about resources and experiences for your student! Episode 5 covers University of Iowa study abroad options. 

How to get better grades

There are many great resources on campus to help students succeed academically, including tutoring and writing help. Several colleges provide free opportunities for group and individualized tutoring across campus. Students can also explore Supplemental Instruction (SI) at the Academic Resource Center located on the ground floor of the IMU. SI is free, course specific, peer facilitated, interactive group study session designed to not only help learn the material being covered in courses, but also how to learn. Individual tutoring sessions are also available in some of the residence halls.

If you know a student that would benefit from academic support, below are some of  the resources available on campus. 

Academic Resource Center

Ground Floor, IMU, 319-335-1497

  • Provides supplemental instruction for specific courses
  • Sessions are free, course specific, peer facilitated, interactive group study sessions
  • Students should bring their student ID and course notes to check-in

Tutor Iowa

  • Information about campus help labs, student mentoring resources, academic tips worksheets, supplemental instruction
  • Searchable tutor referral service

Writing Center – 110 EPB, 319-335-0188

  • Provides free individual instruction to improve writing skills
  • Assistance available by as-needed appointments, online submission, or weekly meetings

Residence Halls

  •     Residence Education offers free, walk-in tutoring in the residence halls
  •     Sunday - Thursday in Currier Hall (Droll Lounge), 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
  •     Sunday - Thursday in Petersen Hall (Learning Commons), 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
  •     Sunday - Tuesday in Mayflower Hall (Classroom), 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Additional academic services on campus include:

One last thing

Last month, I announced that I have accepted the position of Vice President for Student Life at Ohio State University. While the decision to leave Iowa wasn't an easy one, I ultimately think Ohio State and the Columbus community will be tremendous for me professionally and personally.
In the last two-and-a-half years, we have done great work as a team for the university and to better support your students. A search committee has been named to find a new leader and I am fully committed to making the leadership change as smooth as possible for the division. 
As always, as parents: thank you so much for coming with us on this journey, and for everything you do to support your student.

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

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Vice President for Student Life

Tagged: Parents