Academic Affairs and Student Life have been working together to create a process by which any member of the Dickinson community with concerns about a student can bring that concern to the attention of the people on campus who can best assist that student. The College Deans offer a level of support and intervene when necessary with students who may be dealing with a variety of issues that may be interfering with their academic and personal success. These low-level issues may range from mental health, family problems, roommate issues, or conduct issues, to feeling like Dickinson is not a good fit academically or socially.

Dickinson’s CARE Team meets weekly to discuss situations that are escalating and may need more timely intervention. The CARE (Coordination, Assessment, Response, and Education) Team exists to assess potentially unsafe situations within the Dickinson community.  The team reviews individual cases and coordinates an appropriate action plan for response.  The team is comprised of administrators and seeks to review information from various areas across campus to provide a whole view of the situation.  It includes the Associate Dean of Students (team chair), Executive Director of the Wellness Center, Dean of Academic Advising, Chief of Public Safety, and the Vice President & Dean of Student Life.  As needed, the team will include the College Dean and other administrators or staff.

Often times, students who are experiencing challenges in one aspect of their lives also struggle in other areas. For example, a student who is having a roommate issue may be suffering academically as a result. Or, a student who is under great stress academically may act out in unhealthy ways in their social lives. The purpose of this collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Life is to connect different pieces of information about students who are experiencing difficulties in order to have a larger context for what is happening in the students’ lives. This, in turn, allows better consultation with students, to refer them to the most appropriate resources. Maximizing student success and improving retention rates are among the goals of our collaboration.

In many instances, students experience levels of anxiety or distress, for which concerned others can provide adequate support through empathic listening, facilitating open discussion of problems, and offering basic advice. There are times, however, when students require more serious intervention and support by the appropriate staff members. The following guide is intended to provide the Dickinson community with general guidelines for what to do if you are interacting with a student who is experiencing difficulty.

Severity of the Student Concern Suggested Action

LOW (red flag behaviors)

Evidence of behaviors that may be negatively interfering with academic or personal success, and warrant discussion by the Academic Affairs/Student Life team for appropriate support to be provided and information sharing to be facilitated.
Examples include:

  • Academic or social performance deteriorating
  • Missing class frequently
  • Falling asleep in class
  • Difficulty adjusting to college life
  • Significant roommate difficulties
  • Discussion of transferring
  • Changes in physical appearance/hygiene
  • Time management/procrastination
  • Lack of cooperation when requests are made
  • Potential leave of absence

In this category, the line between what is an academic concern and what is a social/personal concern can be blurred, as one often influences the other. Please refer to the student’s College Dean.

In weekly meetings, the College Deans will collaborate to cross-reference information that may indicate that a more serious intervention with a student is warranted.

MEDIUM (escalating behaviors)

Conduct is temporarily manageable but requires that an appropriately trained staff member speak with the student to assess the situation and determine an appropriate response.
Examples include:

  • Attempts to instigate fights
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Covert or indirect threats
  • Physically acting out in anger
  • Comments about weapons
  • Increased isolation or irritability
  • Severe emotional distress
  • Increased consultation needs
  • Suspicion of drug abuse or dealing
  • Alcohol problems that impair social or academic performance
  • Emotionally erratic behavior
  • Behaviors that significantly disrupt classroom or residence hall
  • Increased hopelessness or helplessness
  • Disturbing content in academic work

Document the situation with as much detail as you can and file a report online with the CARE Team.

The CARE Team will convene the necessary parties, decide the appropriate intervention, and take action based on the assessment of the student.

While the behaviors in this category are not likely to be immediately life-threatening, they should be reported at the earliest opportunity.

HIGH (very dangerous behaviors)

Conduct poses an imminent safety concern for the student in question, or for others or the general campus community. Examples include:

  • Clear intent to harm self or others
  • Physical assault
  • Intense anger
  • Overt threats to kill
  • Showing a weapon
  • Suicide attempt or expression
  • Drug or alcohol overdose
Call the Department of Public Safety immediately at 717-245-1111. Public Safety officers are the emergency responders on campus and are trained to intervene in emergent situations. They will also marshal other resources as needed. These resources may include outside law enforcement or medical personnel, the College’s Emergency Response Team, the Student Life staff member on-call, and/or Wellness Center personnel.