Responding to a Student of Concern
Listening, responding and making a referral
Tips for Responding
When speaking with a student about concerns, follow these guidelines to make the situation more comfortable for you and more helpful for the student.
- Talk with the student when both of you have the time and are not rushed or preoccupied. Privacy will help minimize embarrassment and defensiveness. Express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms. For example, “I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned.”
- Listen to the student in a sensitive, understanding way.
- Communicate understanding by repeating back key points the student shared. Try to include both content and feelings. For example, “It sounds like you’re not accustomed to such a big campus and you’re feeling left out.”
- Assure the student that help is available and that connecting with campus student support is a positive and appropriate step. Help the student identify options for action and explore the possible consequences.
- Be clear with the student about the limits on your ability to help them. Be straightforward about boundaries and expectations. Do not promise confidentiality.
- Consult resources such as academic advisors, department heads, college academic deans and the Office of Student Life to develop strategies to help the student.
- Refer if the problem is more serious than you feel comfortable handling or you have helped as much as you can. Faculty and staff who are concerned about a student may submit a Student of Concern Reporting form or call the Office of Student Life at 785-532-6432.
Classroom or campus disruptions (no threat to self or others)
If a student is not responsive to discussions you have regarding concerns and becomes disruptive, or for serious or chronic classroom issues, utilize the following options:
The Office of the Provost provides guidelines for classroom management of disruptive students. Following these suggestions with assistance from the college dean’s office or the Office of Student Life can provide support to faculty and appropriate response to student issues.
Refer or walk the student to the Office of Student Life for consultation about appropriate classroom behavior or consideration for violation of the K-State Student Code of Conduct, which includes “disruption of the academic environment.” The Student Code of Conduct is an avenue for addressing on-campus violations of expected student behavior. For more information read about the Student Judicial Program.