Support & Advocacy
The Dean of Students Office has a dual role of providing support for individual students and for the campus as a whole. We provide support for both groups by identifying students at risk through our earl detection programs. Upon identification, we encourage supportive interventions by all members of the campus community, our office included.
It is imperative that the campus community be trained in early detection of, and supportive intervention approaches to deal with students who are deemed at risk. Although some students who are deemed to be at risk may be a danger to themselves or others, most students are simply in need of assistance from a caring member of the community who may be able to help alleviate the problem. While we attempt to work with students individually, it is often necessary to consult with others to determine the best way to support students and insure that the campus is supported as well. For that purpose, the campus has instituted the CARE committee.
One aspect of the CARE committee is the Student Support Team (SST). The SST meets on a regular basis to review situations involving students that the University has deemed to be at risk. The SST provides consultation to members of the campus regarding students whose behavior raises concerns and makes referrals to appropriate departments depending on the circumstances.
Many students lack the life and coping skills needed for success at the University, and our office works to develop programs designed to help students form these critical skills. This can be accomplished partly by using ‘natural helpers’ (people who are part of the campus community with whom students interact), who are trained and see themselves as responsible for and committed to intervening with students who are in distress. At times it involves engaging local community entities (e.g.: local police, local hospitals, health and AODA providers, emergency personnel) likely to interact with students at risk and develop partnerships with them.
The Dean of Students Office also meets with faculty and staff to train them on how best to provide support for students at risk. Finally, the Dean of Students is also the office that coordinates the campus procedures for the aftermath of a student death, our office is responsible for contacting the necessary staff, faculty, students and (in many cases) family, and helping to make any campus arrangements related to memorials.