The Associate Dean of the College and the Dean of Students. These two offices are the major resources for help for students with academic problems (Associate Dean of the College) or personal problems (Dean of Students). Of course, the two sorts of problems are often experienced in tandem, and you can begin with either one. The two offices are also in close communication with each other. A couple of sample cases:
A student has stopped coming to your class, has not responded to a message from you, but then appears at your door just before finals, wanting to make up all the missed work. If you're unsure how to handle it, call the Associate Dean of the College. He may be able to talk you through a solution, or the solution may be to send the student to him.
You e-mail a student who has missed several classes and hasn't turned in a paper; he responds with the information that he is overwhelmed by problems at home and hasn't left the dorm in two weeks. Call the Dean of Students office. They may know more about the situation, which can be a help in figuring out what to do about the academic side of the situation. And if this is news to them, they will follow-up with the student.
About mid-way through the term, you'll receive a request for information on any students having problems in your class. Be sure to send in names of any students who seem to be in trouble. And no need to wait until mid-term if you can see problems earlier.
International students and Intercultural Life The Intercultural Life office provides support for U.S. students of color as well as international students. Staff members in this office can be helpful for any problems with cultural, personal or academic adjustment that you think may affect a student. The office also develops programming to promote diversity and is a resource for issues involving race and ethnicity. It can be a valuable resource for advice about situations where cultural tensions or misunderstandings on the part of th student or the professor may be causing problems in the classroom.
Counseling Service The counseling service is a key resource for students experiencing personal difficulties. The office is staffed by a full-time college counselor and 4-5 additional counselors from Bridgeway (a private counseling service). Short-term counseling is provided here; for ongoing therapy, students are usually referred to counseling services in town. (See section on "Resources in the Community/Region.") Some students may sense a stigma attached to seeking psychological help, or may hesitate to admit that they might need such help. They may come to you with problems that you believe would be helped through counseling. Offer whatever encouragement you can. Many of us have found that relating our own counseling experiences defuses a negative reaction. Or try: "If you've got a medical problem, you wouldn't hesitate to see a person professionally trained to deal with it. If you've got an emotional problem, why not see someone professionally trained to deal with it?" Or, you can refer the student to the Dean of Students staff, who can also provide some immediate help, plus encouragement to seek counseling.
Other faculty As we are a small community, it is often easy to find other faculty who have had the student in question. You can find a student's advisor and class schedule via the registrar. Talking with other faculty can help you determine if the problem you're encountering is perennial or unusual, part of a long-standing pattern or a developing crisis. And they might be able to help you figure out how to handle the situation--even if it's just confirming that this is one for which you should call one of the Deans.
The Center for Teaching and Learning Students may from time to time require special support to help them with general academic skills. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is located in a house at 466 S. West St.; it serves any student seeking academic help. Extensive services in support of writing are offered, and peer tutors are available for science, math, and other subjects as well as for oral presentations. Encourage students to seek help!
The Educational Development Program is a federally-funded program; its office is located in the same house as the CTL. EDP provides a wide variety of help sessions for students experiencing difficulty with reading, writing or study skills, but the students served are limited by federal regulation to a certain group defined by economic and demographic criteria. The program functions on the basis of outreach, i.e., the staff identifies eligible students and brings the services of EDP to their attention.