Book By: Kurt Keppler, Richard H. Mullendore & Anna Carey (Eds.)
Review By: Linda Huff
Pre-Major Academic Advisor
West Chester University, PA   

This monograph directly addresses the current conversation about Millennial students, their parents, and the relationships that the editors believe educators should cultivate with both. The editors note that “through partnerships with parents and families, we can create additional learning opportunities and also increase the likelihood of student success,” as they state the objective “to provide a complete and integrated approach to working with parents” (pp. ix, xi). Although “complete” is a rather ambitious characterization, the contents can generally be described as extensive and well-integrated.   

This compact volume explores its topic from various angles through the voices of many educators and administrators. The first two-thirds of the book is a compilation of essays covering subjects including guidelines for understanding changes in Millennial family relationships, suggestions for relevant program development, and explanations of legal issues. One of the most informative essays (Chapter 1) is written by three administrators who have extensive experience with family members. Their argument for partnering with parents, and the constructive advice they offer for accomplishing it, are supported by their firsthand experiences and set the tone for the chapters that follow. In fact, an overall strength of this volume is that the voices included belong to those who have worked with parents—administering orientation and parent programs and providing services—so they understand the topic.  

Another overall strength is the practical advice offered throughout the book; this advice is strongest in the annotated bibliography and appendices. The bibliography, a diverse selection of textual and web resources, provides college administrators and parents with “resources beneficial in exploring the topic of parental involvement” (p. 61). Some of the cited texts offer a research-based approach to the topic, others represent the how-to genre for administrators, while still others counsel and encourage parents. While all of the appendices provide models for program organization and management, the standout is a reproduction of a detailed parent orientation schedule that would be highly useful for anyone planning such an activity.     

Although the appendices supply some of the most practical moments in the book, they also provide the weakest. For example, a more complete picture of Appendix A’s “Model Programs” would have been created if the purpose, program description, and assessment information  had been combined with the demographic details given in the “Examples of Parent Orientation Program Activities” highlighted in Appendix C. The final appendix, a parents’ newsletter that offers lighthearted counsel to families as students come “Home for the Holidays,” provides an ending seemingly unrelated to the rest of this straightforward project.

            While the chapter on legal issues, with its lucid outlining of FERPA and HIPAA regulations, will be of interest to advisors, the target audience for this text is unmistakably student affairs administrators, and, to a much lesser degree, family members. Advisors may want to look elsewhere for advice relevant to their unique partnering with the parents of today’s college students.

Partnering With the Parents of Today’s College Students. (2005). Book by Kurt Keppler, Richard H. Mullendore & Anna Carey (Eds.). Review by Linda Huff. Washington, D.C.: NASPA Publications, 97 pp. Price $34.95. ISBN 0-931654-35-1.

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