Faculty and staff at Fredonia are involved in students' lives through a number of
important roles that may include being an educator, advisor, mentor, and counselor.
Faculty and staff are in a unique position to directly observe students on a regular
basis and notice emotional, social, or behavioral troubles or concerns.
Often times, faculty/staff contact or refer students to the Counseling Center based
on written assignments or conversations in which a student shares emotional experiences
or traumatic events. Students receiving counseling at the Counseling Center often
say that such services enable them to better cope with the difficulties they face,
and to remain in school and maximize their college experience.
If you are a member of the faculty or staff, you should know that your intervention
in assisting students to seek psychological services is significant to a student's
career and retention at Fredonia.
What To Watch Out For
The following is a list of indicators that may signify that a student is struggling
in some way, and may need a referral to the Counseling Center:
- Recent Crisis
- Talk of Suicide
- Social Withdrawal
- Drop in Academic Grades/Performance
- Negative Changes in Physical Appearance
- Psychosomatic Complaints
- Bizarre Behavior
- Illogical/Unusual Thoughts
- Increased Irritability
- Alcohol or Other Substance Abuse
STAFF GUIDELINES FOR RESPONDING TO DISRUPTIVE OR THREATENING STUDENT BEHAVIOR - PDF
If you are concerned about a student, you may contact the Counseling Center at (716)
673-3424 for a consultation, or you may refer the student directly: how to refer students.
The Counseling Center provides a 24-hour emergency service to the College (while classes
are in session). If a crisis arises during working hours, contact the Counseling Center
directly. Outside of regularly scheduled working hours please contact University Police (673-3333). If your emergency requires medical attention, University Police should
be notified immediately.
Based on faculty responses to our recent needs assessment survey we are providing
suggestions for dealing with students whose academic performance is affected by traumatic
events or other mental health concerns. The amount of flexibility and assistance you
provide is completely at your discretion. It may be in the student’s best interest
to be held accountable to the class contract as set out in your syllabus, and we are
careful not to lead our clients to expect any particular accommodations.
Counselors will occasionally provide documentation to faculty that a student is seeking
services at the Counseling Center. If you have a received this notification, be aware that the counselor has encouraged the student to be in contact with you to
discuss his or her academic concerns. The student may request assistance, flexibility or may simply want you to be aware
that recent poor performance has not been due to lack of interest or concern.
We suggest you begin by having a frank conversation with the student about his or
her current standing in the course. If you feel the student is not going to be successful in your class this semester,
please encourage him or her to consider other options as appropriate, such as taking
an incomplete, withdrawing from the course or taking a medical leave from school.
The Office of Student Affairs, Residence Life, the Financial Aid Office and the Counseling
Center can all provide further information and counsel to a student who is considering
If the student is going to attempt to make up missed work and complete the class successfully,
you can help him or her make a plan and schedule for doing so. This schedule may
help the student organize and complete the work or it may quickly make it clear to
the student and to you that the student is not getting back on track and that leaving
the course is the student’s best option. Requiring the student to check in with you
periodically may be helpful.
Some suggestions for working with students who have recently endured a significant
loss or traumatic life event or who are dealing with a serious mental health issue
might include such things as:
- Encourage the student to make use of academic support services such as the Learning
- Extend deadlines or allow more time to complete assignments
- Give permission to audiotape lectures
- Extend forgiveness for absences, within reason.
- Give permission to step out of the class and return if experiencing distress.
- Arrange tutoring sessions with a strong current or former student if such sessions
are not available through the Learning Center.
- If the student has had to miss class, share your own notes or arrange for your student
to get notes from a strong student in the class.
If you find yourself with further questions about how to handle a particular student
in such a situation, please feel free to call us at 716-673-3424. We may not be able to give you more information about the student’s situation, but
we will be happy to discuss your options with you and give you further general suggestions
for dealing with these situations.
Mental Health Statement for Faculty Syllabi
The Counseling Center regularly receives calls from faculty and staff regarding students
who might be experiencing distress. In an effort to be more proactive in minimizing
the potential negative outcome of students in distress, the statement below was generated for
faculty members to consider including on their syllabi; the statement might also be
used to encourage classroom conversations about the stigma that keeps students from
getting professional help.
Reducing the stigma about accessing mental health care can lead to a culture on the
Fredonia campus where students seek professional help when it is needed. We invite
you to work with us toward reducing the stigma about accessing mental health care
so that students are not afraid to seek professional help.
Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry,
or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance.
The source of symptoms might be strictly related to your course work; if so, please
speak with me. However, problems with relationships, family worries, loss, or a personal
struggle or crisis can also contribute to decreased academic performance.
Fredonia provides mental health counseling to support the academic success of students.
The Counseling Center provides cost-free services to help you manage personal challenges
that threaten your well-being. Visit www.fredonia.edu/counseling for more information.
In the event I suspect you need additional support, I will express my concerns and
the reasons for them, and remind you of resources (e.g., Counseling Center, Health
Center, etc.) that might be helpful to you. It is not my intention to know the details
of what might be bothering you, but simply to let you know I am concerned and that
help, if needed, is available.
Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for your loved
A Note About Confidentiality
There have been occasions when faculty/staff have referred a student to the Counseling
Center and wanted some type of follow-up contact in order to know that the student
actually did come for an appointment. Counselors are bound by legal and ethical guidelines
to maintain confidentiality. Thus, faculty and staff should be aware that counselors
cannot tell anyone that a student is utilizing services.
Information can only be released with the written consent of the student, except in
situations where a student poses a threat of serious harm to self or to others, or
in the case of abuse/neglect of a minor, or in the case of a court-ordered release
of information. An attempt will be made by the Counseling Center staff to get a release
signed by the referred student so that notification and coordination of services will