Parents as Partners: The NOVA Experience at Manassas

As the College seeks to educate and advise the whole student, engaging parents and providing insight into NOVA’s processes becomes more relevant and necessary. For the past three years, the Office of Student Success at the Manassas Campus has hosted parents during the summer Student Orientation sessions. However, last year Student Success decided to make the parent component more formal and implemented “Parents as Partners: The NOVA Experience.”

The Parents as Partners Program is a two-hour workshop designed to increase parents’ familiarity with NOVA. The goal of this initiative is to increase parents’ understanding of the NOVA student experience, familiarize parents with resources available to students, foster a sense of connection to the Manassas Campus, better equip parents to support and empower their students to take responsibility of their academic experience while at Manassas, and increase parents’ understanding of the academic rigor and expectations NOVA faculty and staff have for their students while enrolled at NOVA.

Parent workshops consist of three sessions: (1) GPS Overview and Transfer Navigation, (2) Faculty Chat & Chew and (3) Meet the Parents! A Dialogue with the Dean of Students. During the GPS overview, the Student Success team reviewed the role of the first-year advisor in helping their students acclimate to college and succeed during their first year. They also discussed transfer planning with parents. In a hands-on activity, parents are walked through navigating the NOVA website to find guaranteed admission agreements, transfer guides and other tools that are posted to help students transfer seamlessly.

During the Faculty Chat & Chew session, faculty members spoke with parents about the academic rigor and expectations placed on students once they begin at NOVA. Faculty volunteered throughout the summer to connect with parents and this has been a huge success. Finally, during the Meet the Parents! Dialogue with the Dean of Students, the Dean of Students reviewed FERPA with parents and discussed other pertinent policies parents should be aware of as they help their students’ transition into NOVA.

During the summer 2014 student orientations, approximately 324 parents were present. To date, the Manassas Student Success has had 300 parents in attendance for the summer 2015. In addition, the Student Success team has collected some demographic data on the parents to better plan and serve them and their student(s). The team is also planning on providing fall and spring webinars for parents. As NOVA continues to focus on retention, it is imperative that students and parents learn to navigate the College’s system and understand the transfer process prior to enrolling. By helping families understand the resources available to help students after they enroll, coupled with understanding the role of the first-year advisor, Manassas Student Success is working to ensure that parents remain partners in their students’ success.

To learn more, contact Manassas Student Success Coordinator Khaseem Davis at 703.530.2834 or

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