When a faculty member is concerned about a student

Faculty and instructors have a unique opportunity to intervene when a student is in or heading toward distress.  Students at CMU, by and large, are committed to performing well academically.  When a student’s academic performance is poor or declines throughout the semester this may be indicative of the student struggling in other areas.  Faculty/instructors are often the first to know when students need additional support.

Listed below are some things faculty/instructors should consider when identifying a student of concern:

  • Class attendance – Has the student missed multiple classes? Is the student failing to meet your attendance policy? Have you noticed a change in the student’s attendance as the semester has progressed?
  • Quality of assignments – Has the quality of the student’s assignments declined? Is the student turning assignments in later or not at all? Does the content of the assignment concern you or allude to other problems the student may be experiencing?
  • Receipt of concerning information – Has the student shared information with you that seems to imply distress in other areas of the student’s life? Did you receive an email that shares personal information not relevant to your course or assignment?
  • Noticeable changes in the student’s behavior or appearance – Do you have concerns about a student’s behavior in class? Is the student having trouble connecting with peers? Have you noticed a significant change in the student’s appearance or mood?
  • Is the student still enrolled in your course? – If you have concerns about the student’s attendance and whether he/she is still enrolled in your course, you may choose to contact the Registrar’s Office.
  • Mid-semester warnings – While mid-semester warnings are not always an accurate representation of how the student is doing in your course, it may be worth considering whether this piece of information, combined with any of the others listed here, may be indicative of a greater concern.
  • Please consider filling a CARE Report if you have concerns about a student’s academic performance.  While one of the concerns listed above, alone, may not trigger a CARE Report, a combination of these concerns may be cause for concern.  Any information you submit may initiate the process of identifying a student in distress or may add to the information we already have about a student of concern.

Submit a Care Report

Care-related resources available to faculty and instructors

One-on-one consultations

If you have concerns about a student, are unsure how to engage with a student of concern, or would like to talk through a challenging situation, one-on-one consultations are available with the CareTeam Coordinator.  The meeting can be held over the phone, in your office, or another on-campus location - wherever you prefer.  Appointments can be scheduled by contacting the Care Team Coordinator at 989-774-2273 (Care Line).

Case conferences

In certain circumstances a case conference may be necessary to discuss the best approach for a student in crisis.  The Care Team Coordinator and other Care Team members are available to attend a case conference established by members of your department or to call a case conference with other campus officials if the situation warrants this approach.  If you believe a case conference is necessary, it is important to share information about the student in distress via a Care Report.

Department presentations

The Care Team Coordinator is available to provide presentations to your department based on the department’s needs and desire for more information.  If you or your department would like more information about working with students in distress, how/when to submit a Care Report, establishing healthy boundaries in your classroom, or recognizing signs of concerning behavior please contact the Care Team Coordinator at 989-774-2273 (Care Line).

For additional information see:

When concerned about a student

When possible, we encourage faculty and staff to address their concerns about health, wellbeing, safety and academic performance with the student prior to submitting a Care Report, although we are aware this is not always possible.  Speaking openly with the student about a faculty/staff members concerns and his/her decision to submit a Care Report lets the student know that the faculty/staff member cares about the student’s success and that resources are available to support and assist the student.  Talking with the student about submitting a Care Report also affirms the usefulness of the Care Team, engages the student in his/her own process, and creates a transparent relationship between the student and helping providers.  The following text may assist you in this effort.

For some related additional ideas about approaching a student that you are concerned about see also the following: Information on Helping Others

Counseling-related concerns

If you believe a friend would benefit from using the services provided by CMU’s Counseling Center, or have questions about the resources it offers, please contact the Counseling Center.  Counselors are available to discuss your concerns and offer suggestions based upon the confidential counseling and counseling-related resources that are available at the Counseling Center.  The center can be contacted at 989-774-3381.  See the Counseling Center’s website for additional information on the center, community referrals, self-help resources, and other related counseling information.

See also the following: Information on Helping Others

Email correspondence

It is not uncommon for faculty members to receive email communication that causes them to be concerned about the student who sent the email.  The following is one possible faculty response to such an email:

Thank you so much for sharing this with me - it sounds like you are going through a tough time.  Do you know about the Care Team? The Care Team is one of the ways that we support students at CMU.  It allows me to send a note to a few administrators who may be able to help you with this situation.  The people who get this information will not spread it widely throughout campus-they will only share limited information if it is necessary to assist you.  I use the Care Report system when my level of concern for a student indicates that the student may need inclusive, multi-layered support from the campus community.  I think you could benefit from this support so I plan to write to the Care Team. Do you have any questions about this?