Info for Faculty & Staff

Faculty and Staff members at Philadelphia University have the unique opportunity of having ongoing, direct contact with students and can often identify students who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. 

Stress is a natural part of life and not a stranger to college students. Most students cope successfully with the rigors of college life. Those who don’t tend to show signs that they are struggling in some way. You will often see these signs in your encounters with students both in and out of the classroom. 

By being available and ready to listen to those students, you play an important role in helping them to regain the emotional balance that they need to get back on track. 

Counseling Services staff is always available to consult with you regarding students about whom you might be concerned. We can be reached by called 215.951.2868. You may want to encourage the student to stop by Counseling Services (Kanbar 323) to consult with a counselor during Drop-In Hour (4-5pm weekdays). If you feel that the situation is an emergency, follow the procedures on our Emergencies page. 

You may want to click on the Ulifeline link on the right and use the Self e-Valuator to help you assess the level of difficulty your student might be experiencing. 



The following are some practical tips to assist you in your help with troubled students 

What to Look For

Marked changes in performance or behavior

  • Marked decrease in performance or preparation
  • Excessive absence or tardiness
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Repeated requests for special consideration
  • Excessively anxious when called upon in class
  • Disruptive behavior or exaggerated emotional response inappropriate to the situation

Unusual Behavior or Appearance

  • Depressed or lethargic mood
  • Unexplained crying
  • Conversations that don’t make sense
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Coming to class or work high or intoxicated or smelling of alcohol or other drugs

References to Suicide

  • Expressed thought of suicide or self-harm
  • Expressed thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Isolation from friends and/or family
  • Wondering if people would be better off without them
  • ALWAYS take this kind of talk seriously

What You Can Do:

Listen

  • Accept that student’s thoughts and/or feelings without judgment
  • Let the student do most of the talking
  • Communicate your understanding by repeating back the essence of what the student has shared with you

Give Hope

  • Assure the student that things will get better
  • Help the student to understand that there are options and resources on campus to help

Maintain Boundaries

  • Keep boundaries clear and consistent; remind yourself that you are the professor, not the parent, friend or counselor
  • Maintain the professional nature of your relationship and keep academic and other requirements consistent


When to Refer: 

  • The student asks for assistance that is outside of your range of knowledge
  • The problem seems more serious than you feel comfortable handling
  • Helping the student would compromise the faculty (staff)/student relationship
  • The support you are providing does not seem to be enough
  • You are spending more time with the student on personal concerns than academic concerns
  • You feel overly responsible for the student’s welfare or safety

Making the Referral: 

  • Be direct with the student
  • Reinforce that you are speaking out of concern and that you do not feel that the student has done anything wrong
  • Suggest calling Counseling Services from your office to schedule and appointment (215.951.2868) or coming to our Drop-In Hour any weekday between 4 and 5 pm.  (Kanbar Campus Center Suite 323)
  • Meet resistance with acceptance; suggest that counseling is an option that is always available
  • Follow up with the student even if she/he does not follow through with your suggestion

Community and Campus Resources: 

  • Counseling Services:   215.951.2868
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline:   800.273.TALK
  • WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape):   215.985.3333
  • GLBT National Hotline:   800.843.4565
  • Safety and Security Emergencies:   215.951.2999
  • Health Services:   215.951.2986
  • Dean of Students:   215.951.2740


Questions?

Contact Philadelphia University Counseling ServicesCounselingServices@philau.edu or 215.951.2868