Faculty Spotlight: Talking to Students

When you have a concern about a student, you may need to talk to the student one-on-one before you refer them for other services. Or, students may come to talk to you about difficulties and seek help. This could seem overwhelming, but we have some easy tips for the best way to talk and help students.

When talking with a student:

  • Speak to the student in private. Whether you approach the student or the student reaches out to you, it is best to speak to the student in a private, safe space.
  • Give the student your undivided attention and listen. Allow for enough time to talk to the student without distraction. Being attentive to what the student has to say shows general interest and care.
  • If you have concerns about the student, express them directly and non-judgmentally. For example, you might say that you have noticed that the student hasn’t been as engaged in class.
  • Reflect back what the student has said to you. For example, if the students has been describing problems with their sleep, you might say, ‘It sounds like you’ve been having a lot of difficulty sleeping lately, and that has made it hard to concentrate in class.’
  • Ask questions. Use open-ended questions to clarify what the student is saying or seek additional information. Make sure your questions are non-judgment and not critical.
  • Offer hope to the student. There are many resources on campus and within the community to help the student. Below is a list of specific resources you can offer to the student.

If the student…

  • Is struggling academically: The Center for Learning offers tutoring services, resources on study skills, and the writing center.
  • Needs help with finding a major or career direction: The Center for Career and Calling has many professionals that can help students explore options for majors and careers, find jobs and internships, and gain experience mentoring other students.
  • Has financial aid problems: Student Financial Services can help the student manage loans, grants, and scholarships.
  • Needs help managing a disability: As part of the Center for Learning, Disability Support Services can help students with physical, medical, psychological, or learning disabilities. This includes arranging accommodations for accessible classrooms and housing, alternative format books and class materials, sign language interpreters, use of assistive technology, and note taker services.
  • Is struggling with health concerns: The Health Center is staffed by Nurse Practitioners who are available for primary care needs as well as Wellness visits at a reduced cost.
  • Is struggling with mental health concerns: The Student Counseling Center is available for students; staff can also provide outside referrals as necessary for students.

If you still have concerns about the student, you can contact the Student Support Team here.

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