RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENGAGING STUDENTs
Please review the information below for faculty and staff who have a concern about a Sewanee student.
The CARE Team
In an effort to promote an inclusive learning environment, the CARE team will evaluate and respond as appropriate to reported student concerns by connecting and referring students to appropriate resources both on and off campus. CARE stands for Campus Assessment, Response and Evaluation team. The team offers resources and support to enrolled undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences; these are at-risk students who experience impact across multiple dimensions of well-being. The CARE Team serves as short-term referral agents who empower a students’ sense of agency and autonomy, while we also manage crisis situations by engaging emergency professionals. The members of the CARE Team span the Dean of Students' office, Residential Life, Office of Global Citizenship, Athletics, Registrar's office, Dean of the College's office and we work collectively to support students' ability to flourish at Sewanee. The CARE Team cannot fix a student's problems, cannot save a student from failing and does not write excuse notes for a student's absence or behavior. This team is here to be the bridge between the student and resources that could make all the difference in their success.
Working with Students of Concern
The Dean of Students office hopes to provide faculty and staff at Sewanee with resources to support students who are in distress or crisis. If you have a concern about a Sewanee student, please report that concern here as soon as possible. Please do not delay, as a member of our CARE Team will attempt to contact the student to offer resources and guidance. We hope that the information below will encourage your action to support students in your capacity as a faculty or staff member at Sewanee.
ENGAGING STUDENT CONCERNS
Faculty and staff develop relationships with students over time and are seen by students as support persons. If a student approaches you OR you wish to engage a student you are concerned about, here are a few tips:
- Request to talk with the student in private.
- Do not assure confidentiality (although you can assure the student that you will share information only with those who need to know).
- Speak directly and honestly. Use a genuine, caring tone. Express your concern in non-judgmental, non-critical terms. Speak candidly about your concern for the behaviors you have observed.
- You are not expected to have all the right answers immediately; no one does. Through open questions and reflection of what you hear, you create a space in which students can sit and discuss with you the concerns that bear on their well-being and academic performance.
- Take time to explore the ways in which your student may get the support necessary for change. If you submitted a report to the CARE Team, tell the student that someone else may follow-up with them.
- Several days to a week after speaking with a student, follow up to ask how he or she is doing, ask about efforts taken to address the issue previously discussed, and make direct observations about what you have noticed since speaking to the student.
- Never exceed your training. Refer the student to additional resources if necessary.
- Always trust your instincts.
STUDENT ABSENCE IN CLASS
When students miss class, it can be the sign of academic concern but it can also be a student's choice. The Dean of Students office does not provide excuse notes for students to miss class. Rather than create a culture where faculty feel compelled to report every missed class meeting, we have a suggested course of action:
- Email the student within 48 hours of the missed class or assignment. Here is a sample message from a Sewanee faculty member - - Dear XX, I was surprised to see that you missed class today. I am checking in to see if you are doing okay and to offer you an opportunity to make up any missed participation points. If you are ill or otherwise are in need of assistance, I hope you will let me know right away. I want to help or connect you to someone who can. Please confirm that you received this message by responding via email or coming back to class on XX. If I do not hear from you, I will report my concern to the Dean of Students office. Take care, XX
- If the student fails to make contact with you by the next time the class meets or within a few days, please make an online report here to the CARE Team.
- If the student makes contact and provides a reason for missing class that you feel needs to be shared with the CARE Team, please make an online report here.
- You can also report absences from class per the Course Catalog to the Dean of the College using this online form.
ACADEMIC DIFFIULTY / STUDENT IS FAILING A COURSE
When a student experiences academic difficulty or misses an assignment that impacts the course grade, it can cause concern. The CARE Team has found that when a faculty member reaches out to the student early in the academic difficulty to provide resources and guidance for improvement, most students improve. It is very difficult for members of the CARE Team to have a defined impact on a student's academic progress. As such, we have a suggested course of action for working with students in academic difficulty or danger of failing a course:
- Email the student within 48 hours of the first sign of academic difficulty or a failing grade. Here is a sample message from a Sewanee faculty member - - Dear XX, I see that you are not performing well in the class and I would like to offer some guidance. At this point in the semester, your grade in the class suggests that you are not going to pass if you continue on this course. If you are ill or otherwise are in need of assistance, I hope you will let me know right away. I want to help or connect you to someone who can. You might still be able to pass the course if you XXXXXXXXXXX. Please confirm that you received this message by responding via email or coming to my office hours. If I do not hear from you, I will report my concern to the Dean of Students office. Take care, XX
- If the student fails to make contact with you within a few days, please make an online report here to the CARE Team.
- If the student makes contact and provides a reason for that you feel needs to be shared with the CARE Team, please make an online report here.
- You can also direct the student to meet directly with their academic advisor or the Associate Dean of the College.
The links below provide additional information and resources for faculty and staff, including the Responding To Student Concerns and Emergencies Faculty and Staff Guidance booklet and link to submit a report.