February 8, 2008
POLICIES FOR REPORTING TROUBLED STUDENTS
By: Rute Pinhel, Research Analyst
You asked if the state's public colleges and universities have policies for faculty members to report students who they suspect may pose a risk to themselves or others. If not, you wanted to know how they raise faculty members' awareness about troubled students.
REPORTING TROUBLED STUDENTS
UConn provides faculty and staff with a resource guide, Helping Students in Distress: A Faculty and Staff Guide for Assisting Students in Need, that includes information on the types of student behaviors that may be symptoms of serious issues. They also redesigned the Dean of Students Office and Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) websites to make these resources easier to access.
The university encourages faculty and staff to contact the Dean of Students Office, CMHS, or university police if they are concerned with a student's behavior. Depending on the nature of the risk, the university may respond immediately or bring the report to an interdisciplinary team of administrators and clinicians to assess the situation and determine the appropriate response.
The Dean of Students Office, CMHS, and the Institute for Student Success are planning training programs for academic and administrative personnel in the fall. At present, the university will conduct similar training programs if requested.
Connecticut State Universities (CSUs)
The CSUs have threat assessment or crisis intervention teams at each campus that convene on an “as needed” basis to assess and respond to reports of troubled students from other students, university police, staff, faculty members, or others in the university community, depending on the nature of the incident or concern. Some of the teams also meet on a regular basis for training and planning meetings. Members include the vice president of student affairs, dean of students, chief of university police, counseling center director, university judicial officer, drug and alcohol prevention program coordinator, and residential life director.
Meghan Collins, director of government relations for the community college system, asserted that the system does not have policies for faculty members to report troubled students nor does it train faculty on how to do so. However, faculty can refer troubled students for academic counseling services at any time. Academic counselors can refer students to local mental health organizations if they suspect a student poses a risk to themselves or others. In some cases, the colleges may also ask local police to intervene.
Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College offers only distance learning courses. As such, its faculty interacts with students online only. Faculty members notify the college if students violate the class “netiquette” (i.e., use inappropriate language or pictures online). According to Marlene Woodman, director of government relations at Charter Oak, the college's Distance Learning Faculty Committee is formulating a policy for faculty to assess and report troubled students in their virtual classrooms.