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ASC Webinar Transcripts

Crisis Management: Uncovering the Fourth Component of Student Success and Persistence

Recorded on Thursday, October 4, 2018

View the Recording

Last Updated on October 26, 2018


Visual: Opening title slide “Crisis Management: Uncovering the Fourth Component of Student Success and Persistence”

Audio: Instrumental music

Visual: Slide changes to “Learning Outcomes” and include the outcomes:

  • Explain the relationship among student success, persistence, and crisis management.
  • Identify procedures and resources based on industry practices to assist in addressing crises experienced by students.

Audio: Dr. Alvenetta Wilson: According to research conducted for the study, as noted in our references, there are three components to the student success.  We propose a fourth, crisis management.  So in doing so, we want to sort of engage the audience in discussing maybe four three minutes crisis management. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Astin’s IEO Model” and includes a graphic/flowchart.

Audio: Dr. Athea Vanzant: Thank you so much, Alvenetta.  We chose to use Astin's IEO model to approach because this model is particularly used in student persistence research and by student affairs.  Otherwise referred to as inputs, and institutional factors otherwise referred to as the environment, these elements together affect the potential student has to produce the desired outcome which we're calling academic success.  For the sake of brevity, inputs are comprised by the demographics, skills and attributes which students enter the learning environment such as age, marital status and parental status.  As external factors affect the student's demographic or input, institutional support made available to the student can contribute to the student's ability to produce the desired outcome in the face of an external factor.  In our case, the desired outcome is academic success, which is a culmination of student persistence, retention, academic achievement, student learning and ultimately, program and degree completion.  We propose that as external factors affect students, faculty and staff can follow established procedures to offer institutional support as a part of the learning environment to help students overcome these external factors, which we are calling crises to produce the desired outcome, which is satisfactory academic persistence towards program or degree completion. 

Visual: Slide changes to “The Flow Completion” and includes a flow chart from support, to persistence, to completion.

Audio: Althea: Institutional support directly affects student persistence towards program or degree completion.  In fact, support services are essential to improving persistence.  When crises happen in students' lives, what recourse do they have?  Obviously, they can choose to either withdraw or continue to pursue their studies.  The few that do persist usually only do so solely based on grit or considerable intestinal fortitude.  Directly speaking, though, how many more students will be retained if they could be connected to the right resources and feel the support that they need by the university?  High attrition rates affect persistence of the institution, be it nonprofit or for profit institution.  Lack of knowledge of student services, family illnesses and caring for children are some of the reasons that students drop out.  By providing additional support and by making students aware of resources available as an approach to crisis management, institutions can potentially lower attrition rates and increase student persistence towards completion. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Crisis Management” and includes three bullet points.

Audio: Althea: So for the purpose of this presentation, we have concluded that the concept of crisis management entails a process of gaining knowledge, assessing the situation, managing spillover effects, and helping to prevent the reoccurrence of the same unpredictable incident which may occur with our students.  This process involve creating a greater awareness of resources available to students through the use of a standard procedure, assessing the student's need and making the proper referral as necessary. 

I'll now hand the presentation back over to Alvenetta. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Recommendations” and includes the 6 R’s to Relief and Retention and Crisis Intervention Resources Guide.

Audio: Alvenetta: Based on Astin's IEO model and the flow of completion, it's very important as professionals and students that we have a system in place to help students overcome crisis.  We propose two recommendations.  Step 1, the 6 R's to relief and retention.  And step 2, the crisis intervention resource guide.  We'll go through both of these as we progress through the slides. 

Visual: Slide changes to “6 R’s to Relief & Retention” which include read, research, reaffirm, resource, refer, and reassess.

Audio: Alvenetta: Next, we have the 6 R's to relief and retention.  The first one we'll take a look at is read.  Read the situation.  Identify an anxiety or behavior of students.  Then we'll go to research.  Reach out to students to investigate if or how assistance is needed as well as identifying which university services may be helpful to the students had reaffirm, provide comfort to students, assuring him or her that the university is a community that supports our own.

Resource.  If applicable, provide students with resources to assist them. 

Refer.  Connect students with departments within or without the university to provide additional services as needed and closure.

And the last one, reassess.  After agreed upon time, follow up with the student to either bring closure or repeat steps as necessary.  Now I'll turn it back over to Dr. P, Dr. Pitt. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Crisis Intervention Resource Guide” and contains a link to the University of St. Thomas.

Audio: Tina: So part of my task in developing this presentation was to find out what other educational organizations were going to support their students in crisis, and I'm going to be very honest with you.  It was very difficult to locate organizations that were addressing this problem.  Some student service professionals sent me to websites to help students in crisis but most were quite limited and some were even blocked from me as a faculty member or even as a visitor to their site. 

So the call to action is clear.  Universities need to provide easy to access resources for students in crisis.  Serving a worldwide population online involves a larger identification of resources along with establishing the training procedures needed to support our students in their time of need.  Now, I'm going to take a look and share with you a training example that was developed for the staff and faculty from the University of St. Thomas. 

Visual: Screen changes to include a screen share of a website link.

Audio: Tina: The first page is really a nice indicator of basic instructions for faculty and staff along with the actions that can be taken to support students in crisis.  So real common sense pieces like stay safe, trust your instincts, share what you know.  These are all very, very obvious and things that we should be doing to help these students as well as the most important component, which is follow up.  And then you see on the right side, there's a ton of resources for faculty and staff to access.  Now, if we go down to the second page, you'll see that these are possible scenarios that faculty and staff can identify.  So it's almost like a scenario fact.  If you feel that the person seems depressed, here are some ways of being able to identify that.  Here are some ways of being able to respond to it.  Here's a resource to refer students to and yourself to report to the appropriate office so that students can be helped.  And there are two pages.  If you scroll down, Shawn ‑‑ listing all of these scenarios. 

And then let's take a look at the final page, and this has very important information about the policies and the procedures, federal policies, the institutional policies that we all need to comply by.  So these policies are important in framing our responses.  Thank you, Shawn.  You can go back to the slides. 

So in addition to this training piece…

Visual: Slide returns to the previous “Crisis Intervention Resource Guide” slide.

Audio: Tina:  what's also needed is a website where students can go and get more information on resources.  So there should be links to organizations that help others in the time of need, such as the American Red Cross or even the ASPCA so students in crisis can take care of their pets in an emergency. 

An online university as an additional challenge in trying to support students from all over the world.  So some links that we could establish could be worldwide organizations that can help people. 

It's really difficult to know how to help a student in crisis.  But with the resources provided, such as the example from the University of St. Thomas, along with an easy to find website for students listing general resources, we can play a much stronger role in supporting students in crisis. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Q&A”

Audio: Bill Schulz: Thanks, this is Bill Schulz.  I want to thank you guys.  This is very interesting.  Melanie and I are in the office taking notes.  Because we don't have the answers ourselves right away at the finger tips on what we would do at Walden if there were issues.  I think it's interesting you talk about faculty, what they can and should do.  I've been teaching at Walden for about a dozen years and thankfully haven't had too many incidents of this choice.  It's an interesting two fold thing.  I think you're right that we need to do a better job of preparing our faculty to be there to listen and train them to steer our students to the appropriate folks that are really experts in helping our students.  I think that's a take away from me is to help our faculty learn to listen, take notes, be very mindful and supportive and then find resources that we do have and help the student find those expert resources.  I can say that we have a service ‑‑ I'm going to go figure out in the classroom how to access it.  But every student, we have a service students can reach out to where you would be able to talk with a counselor, and that counselor would then be able to refer you to specific specialized resources in the immediate area.  So we do have that service available to all of our students.  But you bring up some really good points about thinking about a care team and certainly one of the takeaways that we're going to have is have conversations with our academic leadership to see if we can make those services more available to students.  So I want to thank you for this really stimulating conversation and see if others have some good questions for you. 

Audio: Althea: Thank you, yeah.  Absolutely.  There are several questions popping up in the chat.  We'll try to get to as many as we can.  I do see a question about the 6 R's to relief.  If we can just back up to that slide just for more explanation to reiterate those different pieces. 

Visual: Slide changes to “Visual: Slide changes to “6 R’s to Relief & Retention” which include read, research, reaffirm, resource, refer, and reassess.

Audio: Althea: This 6 R's to relief and retention.  So these steps don't necessarily have to go in this particular order.  In a perfect situation, they kind of would, but this is a crisis, right?  So they may not.  Our goal then is to make sure we're reading the situation and assessing what's going on, identifying what the anxiety or the atypical behavior for that student may be.  And then from there, we're going to continue to research or investigate to find out more.  Sometimes you may have to do a follow up question or follow up call just to kind of get more clarity on what exactly is going on.

The reaffirmation is to make sure that that student is receiving the fact that we have support within our community.  We mentioned about using the tone of voice and the positivity in the voice.  That's to reassure the student that we can provide students to help them.  And that takes us to the next step which are the resources, in order to provide that student with the list, like, what was exemplified in the resource guide.  So that may be kept or that may be contacting the dean or Student Success Advising or whoever else might be the perfect resource for this particular type of situation. 

And then also referring because sometimes, it may be outside of that professor's scope or capability to handle one on one.  So we may need to make a referral.  And lastly, the reassessing is just to follow up with that student, making that touch back and also seeing if we have adequately adjusted that problem.  And if not, then we proceed through those steps again in order to make sure that we bring some closure to that situation.  I hope that answers your question regarding explaining the 6 R's. 

Visual: Closing credits

Audio: Instrumental music