Trinity College of Arts and Sciences Parent and Family Handbook


Dear Trinity Parents:

Welcome to Trinity! We are so pleased that you and your daughter, or the young woman whom you are mentoring, have chosen Trinity for her collegiate experience.  She will have tremendous opportunities to learn, to grow and to become very successful through the many programs and learning activities she will experience here.  You are a vital part of her success at Trinity.  Our experience shows that students whose families remain engaged with their educational endeavors realize great achievements both academically and personally.

The purpose of this Parent Handbook is to help parents, or the significant adults in our students’ lives, to navigate Trinity’s programs and services, policies and personnel effectively. The more you know about the resources available at Trinity, the more confident you will be in Trinity’s ability to guide your daughter’s education.

For more than a century, Trinity has made it possible for ambitious young women of great potential to realize their dreams. Our graduates have gone on to exert remarkable leadership in public and private positions – from the White House to Congress to major corporations to universities and schools.  All of these fabulous women leaders started at the same place that your daughter starts now – at Trinity’s First Year Orientation Program.

Orientation gives students the necessary introductions, information and sense of direction to start their first year well. Please encourage your daughter to attend all of the events and activities, and to take full advantage of the resources available here.

We look forward to our partnership with you to ensure your daughter’s success!


Patricia McGuire         Dr. Carlota Ocampo      Dr. Sita Ramamurti      Dr. Karen Gerlach
President                       Provost                            Dean, CAS                        Vice President, Student Affairs
202-884-9050             202-884-9220                202-884-9201                202-884-9203

Expectations: Students, Parents, Trinity

Students have many expectations for their college days. Among the myriad expectations, these may be the most important:

  1. Students expect to enjoy a great deal of freedom in college without adult interference.
  2. Students expect to get the programs and services they desire.
  3. Students expect faculty, staff and other students to respect them.
  4. Students expect to learn many new things and to be academically successful.
  5. Students expect to graduate in a timely way. 

Parents have many expectations for their child’s college experience. Over the years at Trinity, we have learned that some of the most important parent expectations are these:

  1. You expect your daughter to be safe and respected at Trinity.
  2. You expect your daughter to have a very high quality academic experience.
  3. You expect your daughter to receive the support services she needs to be successful.
  4. You expect to be able to talk to someone in authority if your daughter needs help.
  5. You expect your daughter to graduate in a timely way.

Trinity also has expectations for your daughter, and these include:

  1. We expect your daughter to have the desire necessary to be a good student.
  2. We expect your daughter to be cooperative with Trinity’s rules and regulations, to uphold our Honor System and to meet all of her academic, financial and social responsibilities.
  3. We expect your daughter to respect the faculty and staff who are teaching her.
  4. We expect your daughter to be able to respect and get along with other students.
  5. We expect your daughter to be attentive to her studies so that she can be successful and graduate in a timely way.

Sometimes, in spite of all of these expectations, students are not always successful. At those times when students are struggling, the effectiveness of our partnership becomes even more important.  Both you and Trinity have exactly the same goals that your daughter also has:  to be sure that she becomes a successful college graduate with the knowledge, skills, values and competencies necessary to pursue her personal and professional goals for life.

In college, the most important thing that you and Trinity must do to ensure your daughter’s success is to cultivate in her a sense of personal responsibility for her own success.

You cannot make her successful without her cooperation. We cannot ensure her success if she does not cooperate with us.  We must work together to foster her growth into full maturity as a self-actualized adult capable of making good decisions for herself.

Commitments: Trinity, Students, Parents

Recognizing the many expectations that each partner brings to the collegiate experience, Trinity makes certain commitments and asks both students and parents to join in making similar commitments that provide the basis for collegiate success:

Trinity’s Commitments

  1. Trinity will strive for excellence in all programs and services that affect your daughter.
  2. Trinity will take every available measure to ensure your student’s safety on campus.
  3. Trinity’s faculty and staff will respect students and parents and be available to help them.
  4. Trinity will respect the privacy of student information.
  5. Trinity will work with students to resolve problems as quickly and effectively as possible.

Student Commitments

  1. The student will strive for excellence academically and in all of her collegiate activities.
  2. The student will uphold Trinity’s Honor Code and related rules and regulations.
  3. The student will meet her academic, financial and social responsibilities at all times.
  4. The student will respect other students, faculty and staff.
  5. The student will keep her parents and significant others informed but will exert her own responsibility for mature decision-making.

Parent Commitments

  1. Parents will maintain an active interest in supporting student success.
  2. Parents will work cooperatively with Trinity personnel on issues related to student support, including making sure that financial and other obligations are satisfied in a timely way.
  3. Parents will reinforce the importance of upholding the Honor System and Trinity regulations.
  4. Parents will understand and work cooperatively with the rules related to student privacy.
  5. Parents will encourage their daughter’s growth to maturity by insisting that she handle her       responsibilities directly with Trinity personnel.

How to Register Concerns

We know that circumstances sometimes arise that give parents a great deal of concern. Sometimes your daughter will call you to complain that she feels she has not received fair treatment in a class or from a particular office. Sometimes you will want to talk to your daughter and she will fail to return your phone calls.  Sometimes you know that something is wrong but she avoids your questions.  This is all part of the growth experience in college.

Here are some guidelines for knowing when and how to register your concerns with Trinity faculty and staff:

  1. Make building your daughter’s ability to handle her own business a top priority. This is part of her college education. When she calls you to complain that she feels she did not get what she wanted in a particular class or at a certain office, ask her if she knows what steps she can take, herself, to resolve the problem.  Encourage her to go back to the person in charge to discuss what happened.
  2. All administrators and faculty at Trinity are readily accessible on email and by telephone. If, after urging your daughter to resolve the problem herself, you feel that she still needs help, you may certainly contact the appropriate person. The list of key contacts is at the back of this handbook.
  3. At times, you may want to get some information about your daughter without her knowledge. This is not possible. Federal law requires Trinity to honor the privacy of student information.  This includes her academic records (covered by the law called FERPA) and her health records (covered by the law called HIPPA).  You should know that we may not release any personal information about a student who has not given permission for us to release the information to you.  This includes grades, transcripts, other academic records, disciplinary records, health records and all other material.  You should talk to your daughter about your need to have information.
  4. If your daughter has violated Trinity’s Honor Code or rules and regulations, she will incur disciplinary action. Our policies and procedures provide for written notice of infractions and a hearing with the Dean of Student Services and other personnel. Your daughter is responsible to tell you about any such situations; we cannot disclose the issues without her permission.
  5. If your daughter fails to remain in communication with you, and if you are concerned about her whereabouts, you may call the Dean of Student Services at 202-884-9611 and we will make every effort to find her and ask her to call you.
  6. All of Trinity’s policies, rules and regulations are available on Trinity’s website at

Academic Affairs: College of Arts and Science

Dr. Sita Ramamurti         Dean, College of Arts and Sciences                                        202-884-9262

If your daughter has questions about her schedule for the upcoming semester, she should contact her Academic Advisor. She will have that Advisor’s name as part of her Orientation packet.

Students often wish to begin taking courses in their intended major starting in their first semester, thinking that this will be the most efficient strategy. In fact, however, all students in the College of Arts and Sciences must complete most of their General Education requirements before declaring a major so that they will be better prepared to succeed in their major courses.  If a student has a question about her academic plan, she should schedule a meeting with her faculty advisor.

If your daughter has questions about a grade in a particular class, she should begin by scheduling a meeting with the professor. It is very important for students to take responsibility for their own learning as part of the college experience.  Parents are not typically involved in student meetings with faculty.

Sometimes students need to adjust their schedules during the semester by dropping or withdrawing from a class. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor, who will be happy to talk to your daughter about the proposed schedule change and its implications.

If a student has a serious illness during the semester or family emergency, she should contact one of the deans. We have a special program designed to support students in getting the assistance they need during these critical times and one of our Advising Team will work directly with your daughter in establishing points of contact should an emergency of this nature arise.

Special Topics:

Occasionally, a professor detects evidence of plagiarism or some other form of academic dishonesty in a student’s work. If this occurs, Trinity’s Director of Academic Honesty will contact your daughter, who will meet with her professor and the Director to explain what happened. Depending on the nature of the situation, students may wish to have a parent with her at the meeting, although this is not required.  If the student wishes to bring a parent to a judicial hearing, she must inform the Deans ahead of time.

Financial Aid and Enrollment Services                 202-884-9530

Nearly all students — over 95% in fact — in the College of Arts and Sciences receive financial aid from Trinity. Students must apply for financial aid every year by the filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1 for the next academic year.  While many parents cannot afford to provide substantial financial support, all parents should assist their daughters by meeting financial aid application deadlines.  Students who apply late are at a disadvantage in the financial aid process.

Although Trinity awards millions of dollars in financial aid each year, families will have a balance of tuition and fees that is not covered by financial aid. All students at Trinity are required to make payment arrangements for tuition and fees by the first day of class each semester.  We will not prevent students from attending class if they have not paid tuition, but students will be charged a late fee and will have a hold placed on their transcripts and future registration.

Special Topics:

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to receive financial aid. The Office of Enrollment Services measures academic progress once a year at the end of the spring semester and undergraduate students must have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and have completed at least two-thirds of their attempted credit hours in order to receive financial aid for the following academic year.

Most students at Trinity borrow student loans. Student loans are an important resource and an investment that a student is making in her future.  It is important, however, for students to understand their rights and responsibilities as borrowers.  The Office of Enrollment Services provides loan counseling resources to all borrowers.  Parents can help their daughters by ensuring that they are borrowing no more than they need and that they understand their repayment obligations.

Student Affairs

Dr. Karen Gerlach     Vice President for Student Affairs                202-884-9203

Michele Bowie          Dean of Student Services                                  202-884-9611

Student Affairs is comprehensive and collaborative unit on campus that includes: Athletics; Campus Housing and Residence Life; Campus Ministry; Dining Services, Campus Security, Dean of Student Services and Student Activities; Health and Wellness Center.

Student Affairs encourages personal growth and enriches the quality of campus life through innovative student-centered services and programs that foster self-efficacy, service, leadership and integrity. Student Affairs strives to provide unparalleled learning experiences, while empowering our students within an inclusive and supportive environment.

The VP for Student Affairs staff work closely with the students to help navigate and prioritize their responsibilities in order to stay on track when they are faced with personal life issues that can interrupt their academic success.

The Dean of Student Services is responsible for all non-academic disciplinary matters. The University has an Honor Code that all students must adhere to, and this is an important part of student development as well, as noted above. The Dean has an open door policy and is accessible to students immediately.

Special Topics:

All University traditions and student activities fall under the Dean of Student Services’ office. Student Government, campus activities, clubs and organizations help to create the social growth and allow the student the full collegiate experience.

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry at Trinity celebrates the Catholic faith tradition of its founding vision sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame, while also celebrating the many cultures and faith traditions that today’s students bring. Our expression of spirituality is “interfaith” with all being welcome to share from their personal experiences of faith, God or their “searching.” Spirituality for the Trinity student involves growing in relationship with the holy/the sacred, in healthy relationships with members of the Trinity community, and in compassionate relationships with our society and world communities.

Special Topics

Campus Ministry offers: weekly service trips, a week-long Alternative Spring Break, a Gospel Choir, prayer/worship opportunities, sacramental preparation sessions, student-led retreats, forums on topics of spirituality, Bible study, a Muslim Prayer Room and other sacred spaces (chapels) for quiet reflection.

Health and Wellness Center

The Health and Wellness Center is available to provide confidential medical and counseling services to students.  Our team of medical professionals are available to assist you with a variety of health care services.  All full-time CAS students pay a health fee which covers services at the Health and Wellness Center, and are required to carry insurance through Trinity or on their own. New students must also provide proof of immunizations and medical records according to instructions sent prior to enrollment.  Health and Wellness Center provides educational, clinical and counseling services for Trinity students.

Special Topics:

All services provided at the health center are confidential. No information can be released without the student’s consent.

The Health and Wellness Center offers many educational programs throughout the year to encourage students to stay healthy in college and to lead healthy lives after graduation.

Campus Housing and Residence Life

There are four residence halls, that house approximately 300 student during the academic year.  Living in on campus residence halls is a privilege that comes with an expectation of the student following all policies and the Student code of Conduct.

All Residence Life staff are trained to know what the available campus resources are from Academic Affairs to Health and Wellness. Please encourage your daughter to contact her Resident Coordinator for any concerns. All Resident Coordinators are professional staff persons who reside on each floor of each residence hall. There is also one addition live-in professionals on campus (Resident Director and Director of Campus Housing) to provide additional support.

Adjusting to living away from home/Anxiety and transition:

It is critical that our first year residents be encouraged to stay on campus for the first month in order to acclimate and adjust to their new “home away from home.” Trinity will be new in many ways; from adjusting to living with someone new, meeting new classmates and making new acquaintances to determining what co-curricular activities to get involved in during this first year. Everything will be new and all change is necessary even when it seems difficult. Participation is key, and there is a great team of residence life staff waiting to help your daughter find her way and her connection. Encourage her to stay and give this new opportunity time in order to adjust.

Roommate issues and concerns:

The best way to get off on the right foot and minimize conflicts is to be positive, keep an open mind and understand that great roommates DO NOT have to be best friends! When placing residents together, we are looking to pair students who can maintain civility and respect based on some basic lifestyle similarities. At move-in, we help our residents begin their living relationships with an open discussion on what makes each one comfortable. Guests, music, sharing and cleanliness to name a few are topics to discuss and agree upon. Living on campus and sharing a room teaches one understanding, respect and appreciation for diversity.

Roommates who are not getting along do not receive an immediate room change. We teach life skills; therefore it’s critical to help each resident understand that all working relationships require time, effective communication, respect and compromise.  Communication between roommates occurs first, in an effort to rectify the problem. If, after that conversation, roommates cannot work their problems out, then they should speak with their Resident Coordinator about mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, we suggest that each resident see the Director of Campus Housing about a room change. Room changes ARE NOT permitted until the second week of classes.

May my daughter have visitors? 

  1. Visitation is a privilege. Trinity reserves the right to withdraw the privilege for all or some students upon evidence that the students are not ready to use the privilege responsibly.
  2. Residents may have visitors, both male and female, up until the hours stated in the residence hall policy. The procedures for signing-in and escorting guests are also detailed in the residence hall policy. No overnight visitation is permitted.

Will my daughter have a curfew? Our residents do not have a curfew. However, we do ask students to let their roommates and hall mates know their whereabouts when they are off-campus.

Public Safety

Andrea Glascoe           Deputy Chief of Public Safety                                               202 884-9111

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) at Trinity is a full service public safety provider with responsibility for campus safety, campus crime awareness and campus crime prevention and education. Additionally, the DPS has oversight for parking services, ID card services, emergency management services, plus duties including staffing special events, providing safety escorts, administering vehicle assistance, and managing vehicular and traffic control on campus.

The DPS is operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, year round, and the Communications Center is staffed by a DPS Officer at all times. Additionally, a supervisor is always on duty, during each of the three (3) shifts should you need to meet or speak with one. DPS Officers are a well-trained team inclusive of Special Police Officers, Security Officers, and Supervisory Personnel. DPS Officers patrol the campus on foot and by vehicle, responding to all calls for service received by the Department, whether criminal or non-criminal in nature, both on and immediately near the campus. In partnership with the University community, the DPS team is committed to reducing, and in some instances even removing, those hazards, risks, conditions and circumstances associated with crime and the fear of crime on campus.

Special Topics:

Ensuring student safety while in college: For immediate assistance, contact the Department of Public Safety at (202) 884-9111 or dial 9111 from a campus phone. We encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to immediately report all suspicious or unusual activity to the DPS.