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Student Assistance – Early Alert

Friday, July 19, 2024

Mission Statement

UA-PTC Student Affairs Student Assistance Coordinator will create an atmosphere on campus centered on retention and care. The Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) is responsible for coordinating care and advocacy for students via the campus Early Alert system. The SAC establishes positive relationships across campus departments. Students will, with the assistance of the SAC, feel a sense of belonging and support when addressing mental health, medical, financial, or personal issues.

Responding to Students of Concern

Because faculty and staff interact with students often, you play an important role in identifying if a student should use one or more of the campus resources we offer. UA-PTC does not require that you act as a counselor, therapist, or police officer. We have trained professionals to intervene and provide students who are of concern with assistance.

What is a Student of Concern?

Students of concern can best be identified by using the NaBITA Risk Rubric.

NaBITA Risk Rubric - Critical, Elevated, Moderate and Mild

Mild Level

Students here may be experiencing situational stressor, but they may demonstrate appropriate coping skills. Students may miss an assignment and/or a class.

Guideline for Responding:

1. Have a conversation with the student.
2. Ask open-ended questions.
3. Listen for signs and to discovery what campus resources maybe useful.
4. Submit an Early Alert (the Student Assistance Coordinator can create an action plan with the student).

Moderate Level

Students here may be experiencing behavior that concerns others. They may display distressed behavior such as tearfulness, anxiety, irritation, depression, inability to concentrate, excessive absences, frustration, and self-isolation. Students here may also be experiencing financial, medical, and/or personal issues in addition to academic issues.

Guideline for Responding:

1. Speak with student privately about what you are observing and your concerns.
2. Inform student of campus resources.
3. Submit an Early Alert (the Student Assistance Coordinator can create an action plan with the student).
4. Update Early Alert if new information is provided or observed.

Elevated Level

Students here may be expressing inappropriate behavior that is disruptive or threatening. Serious social, mental health, academic, and personal concerns may occur that require multiple departments such as the Dean of Student Affairs, Campus Police, and counseling. They may say inappropriate things, become defiant, show anger, speak of self-injury, or speak of inappropriate use of controlled substances. They may reveal private information about their living situation or financial situation that could be influential in their success and livelihood.

Guideline for Responding:

1. Consult the Student Assistance Coordinator.
2. Consult Counseling Services if needed.
3. Submit a confidential Early Alert (this will go directly to the Dean of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean of Students).
4. Act immediately based on behavior observed.
a. Contact Campus Police and/or the Dean of Student Affairs

Critical Level

Students here may be experiencing a serious crisis. They may have plans of harming themselves or others or being a health/safety threat to the campus community. Student is severely disruptive and dangerous. Social, mental health, academic, and personal life are unstable and need the support of multiple departments such as the Dean of Student Affairs, Campus Police, and counseling.

Guideline for Responding:

1. Act immediately based on behavior observed.
2. Contact Campus Police and/or the Dean of Student Affairs.

Source: The NaBITA 2019 Whitepaper - College and University Edition (2019)

Additional Strategies when Dealing with a Student of Concern

1. Be calm.

When you model a calming nature, the other person will usually match you. Being calm will help you control the situation and lower the stress/intensity of the situation/conversation.

2. Be empathetic.

It is important to not judge students at this time. Acknowledge the students’ feelings when clarifying that you have heard and understand their concerns.

3. Use appropriate body language.

Your posture, gestures, and facial expression will be watched by a student of concern. Be sure you are not using any non-verbal communication that may come off as threatening or uninterested. Your non-verbal behavior needs to align with your verbal message.

4. Maintain boundaries.

You want the student to feel safe, so refrain from touching them or getting too close. You should also protect yourself and keeping a respectful distance will help you to do so.

5. Consult when necessary.

If you are unsure if the behavior the student is demonstrating is of concern, consult with the Student Assistance Coordinator. If you feel like there is an imminent threat, contact Campus Police. If you feel like the student is in great danger of harming themselves, contact the Dean of Student Affairs.

6. Document.

Submit an Early Alert for any student you feel needs some support.

Student Assistance Coordinator Protocol for Early Alerts

The purpose of the Student Assistance Coordinator is to promote the academic progress as well as the mental and physical well-being of students. This is done through the monitoring of the Early Alerts system, constant outreach to students of concern, and New Student Orientation. The anticipated result of the Student Assistance Coordinator is an increase in retention and student success.

SAC Process

When an Early Alert has been submitted or a faculty/staff member has contacted the Dean of Student Affairs office, an advisor, or the Student Assistance Coordinator directly, a system is in place to determine what steps should be taken. Alerts are open for two weeks before being closed. All confidential reports go directly to the Dean of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean of Students.

What happens next after you submit the early alert?

SAC Alert Process - After an alert is received, the SAC contacts the student to implement an intervention. The instructor is informed of the contact/intervention. The SAC follows up with the student before closing the alert.

Need training on the Early Alert system?

Contact Blaise Hale, Student Assistance Coordinator, at [email protected] or call (501) 812-2712. The SAC office is located inside the Campus Center Building, Room 339 and is open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

University of Arkansas- Pulaski Technical College
Dean of Student Affairs Office
Student Assistance Coordinator
3000 West Scenic Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118