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Panther Parents Association
December 2016 Issue

Sandy's Message | Even "If the Weather Outside is Frightful..." | Emergency Notifications | Parent and Family Webinars | Pinstripe Bowl | Student Payment Center - December News | Survey  Goodbye Class of 2016 and Hello Class of 2020 | Welcome Families - Spring 2017 | Outside the Classroom Curriculum: Initiative and Drive | Save the Dates

Parent and Family Liaison's Message

Sandy's Message
Many of you are familiar with the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).  However, you may not have heard of the related – and unofficial – Realistic Student/Parent Educational Conversation Tips (RESPECT).    

It’s December and that means final grades will soon be posted. Hopefully, you and your student have worked out an agreement as to when and how you see final grades. If not, please read these tips to help guide you to an honest and respectful discussion with your student.
  1. When students arrive home give them a day or two to catch up on sleep before having any serious academic conversations. They’ll thank you later!
  2. Try not to compare them to siblings or neighbors’/co-workers’ college students.
  3. Don’t expect a straight A report which might have happened in high school.  Fall term – especially first-year fall term – is more difficult than high school.
  4. Instead of dwelling only on grades, ask what your student learned this fall. S/he will appreciate that adult conversation.
  5. Have the Parent Handbook handy to point out contact information for the Academic Resource Center, Writing Center, or Math Assistance Center, if appropriate.
  6. Emphasize the good. Then ask what plans can be made and implemented to make necessary improvements in future semesters.
The Academic Calendar confirms that fall grades must be approved by December 20 at 11:59 p.m. U. S. eastern time, which means that is the last date for grades to be posted. Give students a chance to privately see their official report and process that information. With any luck, they’ll be happy to print and share the results over a holiday meal!

From our Pitt family to yours, have a happy and healthy winter recess. As always, please contact us at or 412-624-8548 if you have questions or concerns. However, know that the Parent and Family Office, as well as most University offices, will be closed from December 23 – January 2, 2017.


Sandy Talbott
Parent and Family Liaison

Even “If the Weather Outside Is Frightful….”

The University of Pittsburgh will (almost always) remain open! So, prepare your students to bundle up and have boots at the ready this winter. In some circumstances, faculty may cancel individual classes so students should check syllabi to make sure that they know how faculty will contact them. Please review the University severe weather policy here.

Emergency Notifications

Pitt has two main ways to notify our community of alerts including one for parents and families:
Emergency Notification System (ENS)
Students can register up to three third parties to receive emergency notifications by phone, email, or text here.
Crime Alerts
Users with a Pitt email address can sign up to receive text crime alerts.  Family members cannot receive crime alerts, however, they can view crime alerts, statistics, and other helpful information on the Pitt Police website.

Parent and Family Webinars

Thank you to those who participated in and provided feedback on our most recent webinar, Off Campus Living and Safety. All slides, contact information and discussion was recorded and is now available here.

The next Parent and Family Resources webinar topic is Sorority and Fraternity Life, and the live webinar will be held on January 4, 2017, from 7-8 p.m. eastern time. Advanced registration required here!
Pinstripe Bowl

We are Bowl Bound!

The Panthers are heading to the Big Apple! Join your Pitt Football team in New York City for the 2016 New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday, December 28, 2016, at Yankee Stadium. Tickets start at only $55 and great seats are still available. For questions, call 1-800-643-7488 or click here to purchase online.  

Student Payment Center – December News

Billing and Due Date Schedule for Spring Term 2017
Student Payment Center Winter Recess Office Hours:
The Student Payment Center will be closed from December 23, 2016 through January 2, 2017 for Winter Recess. Paper checks received in our office by mail during that time will be posted to students’ accounts during the first week of January when we return from the break. 
Faster Delivery of IRS Form 1098-T:

Students who want to opt in to electronic delivery of IRS Form 1098-T should do so by December 31, 2016 by visiting and selecting Access My Record. In January 2017, the University will issue the form to any student with financial activity on their student account during tax year 2016. The electronic version of the form will be available well before mailed forms. IRS Form 1098-T helps students and their families determine if they qualify for federal tax benefits because they are paying education costs; to learn more visit


Please help us determine what information is most useful to parents and families by completing this survey

Goodbye Class of 2016 and Hello
Class of 2020!

A sincere and heartfelt congratulations to parents and families of 2016 graduates! Your sons and daughters have reached a milestone to celebrate! Likewise, parents and families should celebrate, too!
We wish you well as you continue to support your college graduate, and we hope that you found Parent and Family newsletters and announcements to be helpful. You can unsubscribe by clicking the corresponding link at the bottom of this page. Please be aware that we will automatically unsubscribe those who are listed as parents of Class of 2016 in the coming weeks.

If you have a second (or third?) student who is attending Pitt and you would like to remain on this list serve, please update your entire profile and change the “class of” information by going here. Profiles will be updated – but not duplicated – for those who use the same email address. 

For Class of 2020 (or other years), please use the same link to add additional family members to the list serve. WELCOME!

Welcome Parents and Families of New and Transfer Students - Spring 2017

You may have received a post card or email from Parent and Family Resources that provides information on Orientation Day, December 16, 2016. If you did not and have questions, or would like to add an email address to receive parent communications, please sign up here.

In addition, Student Affairs welcomes new Pitt parents to join their students for January 3, 2017, programming. Keep in mind that these programs are optional and informational for family members, but essential for new students. Check out the schedules here and contact Parent and Family Resources at for your questions. Students should contact First Year Experience for any questions that they might have at

Outside the Classroom Curriculum:

Initiative and Drive

By: Julia Qian | Graduate Intern | Office of Parent and Family Resources

Can you believe it is already December? Congratulations to 2016 graduates and your students who persevered through finals! As 2016 comes to an end it is time for you and your students to reflect on what they have achieved and develop possible goals for next year. 

From July 2016 through April 2017, the Office of Parent and Family Resources will feature Pitt’s Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program and discuss how your students can achieve each of the 10 goals. To complete the entire curriculum, receive the green OCC cords (combination of blue and gold!), and be recognized at the annual Honorary Society Induction Ceremony, students must fulfill 68 requirements.  

December is the month of Initiative and Drive. 

In order to achieve the Initiative and Drive goal area, students should fulfill three of the requirements below:  
  • Reflect on an ambitious goal that the student has accomplished, and describe the steps he or she took to accomplish this goal. 
  • Reflect on the experiences that assisted students in deciding their career paths. 
  • Your students should submit their applications for OCC completion. For more information, visit or contact the OCC Coordinator at 412-648-7130 or
Your students can even earn OCC credits during the winter break! You can encourage your students to visit local museums, cultural festivals, or write down some thoughts for self-reflection. It is important for your students to demonstrate the ability to conceptualize ambitious goals, develop plans to accomplish these goals, and complete all tasks to successfully achieve them. You, as a parent, can even be involved in the process. Wouldn’t it be fun for your family to gather around the dinner table and share New Year’s resolutions? 

Save the Dates

  • Academic Calendar
  • Residence Halls Close: December 18
  • Student Winter Recess: December 18 – January 3 Inclusive
  • Residence Halls reopen: January 2
  • New and Transfer Student Orientation Schedule
  • University Offices and buildings reopen: January 3
  • Spring classes resume: January 4
  • Spring Break: March 5 – 12
  • University Commencement Convocation: April 30
The University of Pittsburgh
Division of Student Affairs 
Office of Parent and Family Resources
130 William Pitt Union
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412-624-8548

Copyright © 2015 University of Pittsburgh, All rights reserved.

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