NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Two separate virtual programs will allow Stephen F. Austin State University students and their parents to experience firsthand the academic rigors and student engagement that make the Lumberjack experience unique among institutions of higher education.

The two programs, Virtual Saturday and the Lumberjack Family Experience, will provide parents the opportunity to engage in informative livestream sessions with campus faculty and staff and have their questions answered about SFA’s programs and instruction.

“The objective of our virtual programs is not only to provide parents a deeper look into their own students’ experiences in the classroom and on campus, but also to provide an outlet for parents to get the answers they need as we approach the fall semester,” said Erma Nieto Brecht, SFA’s executive director of enrollment management. “We want parents to understand that, regardless if courses are delivered face-to-face or through distance-learning, their students will still be receiving the quality SFA experience they expect, no matter how they choose to build their schedule. And there is no better way to understand that than to experience it firsthand.”

Virtual Saturday
Free to any interested party, Virtual Saturday is intended to give parents and their students an immersive look at a livestream classroom setting. The 50-minute Zoom session will mirror that of an actual full Zoom class.

“We know parents have a lot of questions, and we think the best way to show them what their child’s class will be like is to let them join one,” said Dr. Joyce Johnston, associate dean in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts and the director of SFA’s Division of Multidisciplinary Programs. “We want to emphasize that however faculty members deliver their classes, students’ educational experiences are second to none. Their faculty members are supported by an outstanding team in the Center for Teaching and Learning who provide us training, innovation and technological support to help ensure high-quality distance education for all Lumberjacks.”

Those interested in participating may choose from among six 50-minute Zoom classes conducted by faculty members from each of SFA’s six colleges.

“Our hope is for family members to come away with a greater understanding of how much our faculty members care about our students,” Johnston said. “We hope they experience what their students will — that distance learning can be dynamic, engaging, innovative and enjoyable. Our faculty and our CTL constantly work to improve the students’ experience in the classroom, even the virtual one. Parents who choose to send their child to SFA can rest assured that faculty members will connect with and support all students.”
Understanding not everyone may possess the necessary technology to attend, Virtual Saturday classes will be recorded and posted online at a future date.

Seven Virtual Saturday sessions will be held Saturday, Aug. 1 — three at 10 a.m., three at 11 a.m. and one at noon.

To register for a Virtual Saturday session, visit

Lumberjack Family Experience
Hosted by SFA’s Office of Orientation and Transition Programs, the Lumberjack Family Experience offers parents several opportunities to connect with campus representatives from the comfort of their own home.

The Lumberjack Family Experience focuses on three main areas: student engagement, safety and academics. It is designed to allow parents and students to learn about the entire university experience.
Parents, guardians and family members of an incoming student for fall 2020 are invited to attend. During the event, university representatives will provide information and answer questions regarding the upcoming in-person Jack Camp Orientation, and there also will be a mock virtual classroom experience.

The Lumberjack Family Experience is scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5.

To register, visit