Student Care Philosophy
Student Care and Outreach collaborates with campus partners to provide outreach and support for students with significant and complex concerns affecting their academic and personal success at Elon. Our office works with students to highlight their personal strengths, increase their access to resources, and to help them navigate challenges that might impede their goals of success.
Student Care staff work with students to recognize and support their growth, using the following guiding philosophical principles (click to expand):
Support is Individualized and Interactive:
- We believe that support and services should be tailored to the specific needs of a student based on an interactive process. In most cases, advice is provided only after a direct, interactive process of collaborative conversation. When appropriate, a face-to-face interaction is preferred.
- We believe that parents and friends are vital partners who cannot replace the value of an interactive process with the student directly. As parents and friends approach Student Care with need of support, our office will provide general advice with understanding that any specific advice is naturally limited.
Support is Collaborative and Honest:
- We believe that student support is a collaborative process. Except in very rare situations involving immediate student safety, students can expect that their ideas and goals are valued and that no advice or support will be forced upon a student. Similarly, students can be expected to participate actively in their own support, through a demonstrated willingness to share their needs and brainstorm solutions based on their internal strengths.
- We believe that collaboration involves transparency and trust. Whenever possible, we encourage students and families to be open and honest about their goals, including those aspects of our support that do not match with their goals. In return, we will be transparent and honest in our assessment and the advice we provide. We will also be honest about information that cannot be shared, when that is relevant.
Support is Inclusive and Equitable:
- We believe that individual identities matter. Students are encouraged to share any identities that would allow us to better support their goals and to feel comfort in knowing that their identities will be honored.
- We believe that the programs, processes and policies designed to support students should be equitable. Our office is committed to rooting out systems that tend to hinder access and success for marginalized communities. Whenever possible, we will use our access to data and other patterns of feedback to highlight and seek change for individuals and groups.
Support is Strength-Based:
- We believe that support for a student should begin by highlighting their strengths and the opportunities that exist. While a focus on “gaps” can be useful at times, we believe that identifying known deficiencies does not always result in positive growth. Students can expect to be asked, “what’s working” and “where do you see yourself making some progress.”
- We believe that support involves leveraging strength opportunities with a focus on maximizing resources. Students with a singular focus on negative outcomes might be challenged to consider the strengths of their situation. Students might be asked to stretch their skills and find strengths that have been underutilized in the past.
Support Involves Student Self-Agency:
- We believe that students ultimately have agency (control) over their behaviors and decisions, as well as the consequences of those decisions and behaviors. Our relationship with students, while collaborative and interactive, depends wholly on a student’s willingness to maintain strategies for success.
- We believe that students must develop their sense of agency through developmental skill building. Students learn through practicing and can be expected to take ownership of simple behavioral steps designed to maintain their success. As a result, students can be expected to communicate on their own with faculty, staff, employers, and parents. Students can also be expected to engage in our interactive process without significant assistance from others and can be expected to follow through on any support that is offered or suggested without detailed monitoring.
Student Care staff hold themselves to a high standard of ethics, including the following principles (click to expand):
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
- Whenever possible, Care and Outreach staff will avoid potential conflicts of interest. Staff will be transparent regarding situations where our role in providing support and advice might conflict with a student’s own interests. This includes situations where information must be shared based on federal regulations (such as Title IX) or where a student’s privacy cannot be maintained. This also means avoiding situations where a staff member may be asked to hold a student accountable from a disciplinary standpoint while also providing support.
- In situations where a conflict of interest exists and cannot be mitigated, staff will notify the student and provide an alternative support process.
Remain Objective and Impartial
- Whenever possible, Care and Outreach staff will remain fair in their dealings with students by providing support and advice that is relevant to the student’s needs and that does not rely on any implicit or explicit bias. Staff will remain honest, objective, and impartial in their interaction with students, parents, and others involved with student support.
Maintain Student Privacy
- Whenever possible, and within the limits of federal regulations, Student Care and Outreach staff will attempt to maintain the privacy of student interactions and referrals. As a general practice, staff will not share the source of a given Care referral nor disclose details about a referral that would unnecessarily reveal the source. As a general practice, staff will not share referrals with other offices where a conduct process could result, except in some situations where community health or safety is at risk.
- In certain situations involving student safety, staff will make contact with individuals identified as emergency contacts in order to get in touch with the student or to ensure student safety. In other situations, staff will make every effort to obtain appropriate releases in order to best advocate for a student’s needs.
Recognize the Scope of Care
- Whenever possible, Student Care and Outreach staff will recognize and avoid situations where the issues presented exceed the scope of their position. As a general practice, staff will not engage in the practice of therapy or counseling regardless of any certification or degree that might exist. Similarly, staff will avoid providing advice on specific areas of focus that require professional or expert assessment.
- In situations that exceed the scope of care offered, staff will make efforts to connect the student with appropriate resources and continue to support the student in ways that meet the scope available.
- Students will have a greater knowledge of Elon’s resources and access points.
- Students will express greater efficacy in connecting with appropriate resources at Elon.
- Students will demonstrate an ability to self-advocate through active communication, problem solving, and use of healthy coping skills for managing future concerns.
- Students will be able to describe how well-being and health are central to their academic, social and personal success.
- Faculty, staff, students and parents will recognize behaviors that indicate student distress and need for personal outreach.
- Faculty, staff, students and parents will understand how and when to share concerns for a student in need.
Our Commitment to Non-Discrimination:
Student Care and Outreach is committed to providing an environment that supports an inclusive and safe space for all student and community members. Student Care and Outreach does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its support or advocacy.