Guidance on how to approach your concerns about a student, and how to talk about your concerns.
When a student is displaying behaviors that may interfere with their success or disrupts learning for themselves and others, additional intervention may be needed.
Dean of Students help and services
Student of Concern
Any student displaying behaviors that may interfere with their ability to be successful or disrupts the learning of others.
Students are referred to the Dean of Students Office from a wide range of sources, including faculty, staff, family members, or other students. Generally, these individuals express a concern because they care about the students involved. They realize the best way to get the student assistance is to involve others to determine the best approach for helping the student. The goal is to avert more serious difficulties and provide support as the student works toward academic and personal success.
The Dean of Students Office offers services for:
- Resource referral
- Coordination of outreach and information among multiple offices
What is a student of concern?
Simply put, this is a student you might have concerns about because they have displayed behavior that you feel may be disrupting learning, or interfering with the student’s success.
Day-to-day interaction with students is both a vital and essential part of being on a university campus. This interaction provides for teaching moments and creates an environment for learning which takes place both in and out of the classroom, which may include discussions with students about appropriate behaviors on campus.
Examples of concerning behavior
This list is not comprehensive and may not encompass concerning behavior that you are seeing an no two student situations are the same.
Observing any of these behaviors should prompt you to reach out to that student. However, there are many resources to help with that conversation.
- Missing classes or irregular attendance
- Significant change in behavior
- Comments that are inappropriate or irrelevant to class discussion
- Unable to control emotions
- Poor hygiene
- Appears intoxicated or smells of alcohol
- Appears high or smells of marijuana
- Appears tired or is constantly falling asleep in class
- Concerning writing or art
- Extreme change in weight
- Extreme change in appearance
- Unusual bruising or other injuries
- Interrupting class discussions
- Very anxious
- Interfering with other students’ ability to learn
- Making threats or threatening behavior
- Talking or writing about suicide
In the classroom
Faculty and staff should have the skills and knowledge to respond to students appropriately and make referrals. Knowing how to manage issues within the classroom, including student attendance and verbal de-escalation skills are crucial to a safe learning environment.
Guidelines on accommodations, safety, and medical issues on class attendance.
Suggestions to assist instructors when disruptive behavior interferes with learning.
Guidance on what to do when you observe a student who may be struggling emotionally.
Supporting students health and well being, including what to do, and what not to do.
How to recognize symptoms, types of anxiety, what to do, and what not to do.
What to include to support students who may be struggling with mental health issues.
Working with students who may be intrusive, persistent and require extra time and attention.
Crisis loans can support students experiencing financial hardship.
Working with students who may show signs of disorientation or psychotic behavior.
How to support your students and campus community when a student derath occurs.
Resources to help
How DoSo can help
If you feel unsafe, call the UW Police Department at 608-264-2677 or 911. For all other concerns, the Dean of Student’s office can be your starting point. Contact us or review our online guidance on how to have these conversations with students.
The Behavior Intervention team
The Team’s purpose is to provide guidance, recommend interventions and to make referrals for students that have demonstrated concerning, distressed, or disruptive behavior.
Dean of Students Office70 Bascom Hall500 Lincoln DriveMadison, WI 53706-1380
Monday-Friday: 8:30am -4pmduring Fall and Spring semester