Advocacy and Success2019-08-12T17:50:00+00:00

Advocacy and Success

What is Advocacy and Success?

In the Office of Student Life we are committed to helping you navigate Ferrum College. We care, we advocate, and we can refer you to campus and community partners. We want to help you succeed in class and life. We encourage you to maximize your educational experience, and we prepare you for involvement in the larger community and life beyond college. Additionally, we aim to empower you to overcome obstacles and to assist in resolving issues. This section can help you help yourself, your student, or your friend in their path to graduation!

Are you worried about a friend?

Being away at college can be a stressful time for anyone. Stress may stem from family, classes, responsibilities on campus, friend conflict, relationship issues, etc. Sometimes we can cope without too much anxiety or interference, but other times stress may cause significant problems or concerns. At times, you may find that, while you are coping with stress effectively, your friends are not.There are general warning signs to look for if someone is struggling:

  • Feeling sad for an extended period of time (crying, feeling fatigued, unmotivated).
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself.
  • Odd or bizarre behaviors.
  • Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors.
  • Sudden overwhelming fear or worries.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drastic changes in behavior or personality.
  • Drastic change in eating or weight.
  • Change in sleep patterns—sleeping very little or too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Withdrawn from friends and social events.
  • Feelings of extreme highs or lows.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Strange Thoughts (delusions) / Paranoia.
  • Inability to cope with daily problems.
  • Academic problems, not going to class.

What to Do:

  • Respect their personal space.
  • Find an area to talk that is comfortable and private.
  • Let them know that you have noticed a change, and you are concerned.
  • Ask if they would like to talk about it.
  • Remain judgement-free; just listen to what is going on.
  • Ask if they would feel comfortable talking about this with a Resident Advisor, counselor, family member, Area Coordinator, etc… If so, connect them with that resource by walking them over or helping them make an appointment.
  • Listen carefully and be supportive.

 

Even if your friend does not want to talk with anyone, many of the behaviors listed above can be signs of crisis or distress. Reach out to the Office of Student Life for a consultation – you can make a difference for your friend.

Emergency Information

We know that the transition from high school to college can be a challenge for both students and their families. Though it is always our preference to empower students in their growth toward independence to seek assistance themselves, we know that family members often have questions about the College or concerns about their student that they wish to share. We are pleased to have the opportunity help you navigate through issues as you help your student. If you cannot find what you need on this page, please email or call us and we will do what we can to help.

General information

  • Emergency Information
  • Student Handbook
  • Ferrum College Police Department
  • Campus Map

Campus Resources

There are general warning signs to look for if someone is struggling:

  • Feeling sad for an extended period of time (crying, feeling fatigued, unmotivated).
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself.
  • Odd or bizarre behaviors.
  • Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors.
  • Sudden overwhelming fear or worries.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drastic changes in behavior or personality.
  • Drastic change in eating or weight.
  • Change in sleep patterns—sleeping very little or too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Withdrawn from friends and social events.
  • Feelings of extreme highs or lows.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Strange Thoughts (delusions) / Paranoia.
  • Inability to cope with daily problems.
  • Academic problems, not going to class.

What to Do:

  • Respect their personal space.
  • Let them know that you have noticed a change, and you are concerned.
  • Remain judgement-free; just listen to what is going on.
  • Listen carefully and be supportive.

 

Even if your student does not want to talk with anyone, many of the behaviors listed above can be signs of crisis or distress. Reach out to the Office of Student Life for a consultation.

Our mission is the same all across campus – we want our students to be successful! In every department from academics to dining to housekeeping to alumni, we want to give students the best chance at being successful as a student here and each and every one of us has chances to impact that. We all know the best way to do that is as a Ferrum Family. Thank you for all you do to support and advocate for our students every day.

You may be the first to notice a student who is experiencing difficulty or the first person a student turns to on campus. What we need you to do:

  • Notice signs of distress
  • Have direct conversation with student to gather information, express concern, and offer resources
  • Communicate these to the ARC, counseling, or the Office of Student Life

 

Often, there are indicators that a student is experiencing distress long before a situation escalates to a crisis. A crisis is a situation in which an individual’s usual style of coping is no longer effective, and the emotional or physiological response begins to escalate. As emotions intensify, coping becomes less effective, until the person may become disoriented, non-functional, or attempt harm.

All of us experience life’s “ups and down,” but significant distress experienced over a period of time may suggest a more serious problem. There are different levels of distress and these can be represented through a continuum. How you go about helping a student will depend on several factors: their level of distress, the nature of your relationship, the type of setting you are in and your comfort level.

Examples of Academic Indicators:

  • Repeated absences from class, section, or lab
  • Missed assignments, exams, or appointments
  • Deterioration in quality or quantity of work
  • Extreme disorganization or erratic performance
  • Written or artistic expression of unusual violence, morbidity, social isolation, despair, or confusion; essays or papers that focus on suicide or death
  • Continual seeking of special provisions (extensions on papers, make-up exams)
  • Patterns of perfectionism: e.g., can’t accept themselves if they don’t get an A+
  • Overblown or disproportionate response to grades or other evaluations

Examples of Behavioral/Emotional Indicators

  • Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or loss
  • Angry or hostile outbursts, yelling, or aggressive comments
  • More withdrawn or more animated than usual
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness; crying or tearfulness
  • Expressions of severe anxiety or irritability
  • Excessively demanding or dependent behavior
  • Lack of response to outreach from course staff
  • Shakiness, tremors, fidgeting, or pacing

Examples of Physical Indicators

  • Deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Excessive fatigue, exhaustion; falling asleep in class repeatedly
  • Visible changes in weight; statements about change in appetite or sleep
  • Noticeable cuts, bruises, or burns
  • Frequent or chronic illness
  • Disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
  • Unusual inability to make eye contact
  • Coming to class bleary-eyed or smelling of alcohol

Examples of Other Indicators

  • Concern about a student by their peer
  • A hunch or gut-level reaction that something is wrong
  • Written or verbal statements that mention despair, suicide, or death
  • Severe hopelessness, depression, isolation, and withdrawal
  • Statements to the effect that the student is “going away for a long time”

How To Help

If mild/moderate distress:

  • Deal directly with the behavior/problem according to classroom or campus protocol
  • Allow the student to speak freely about their current situation and the
    variables that may be affecting their distress
  • Consult with a supervisor, colleague, Dean, Student Life professional, or counselor
  • Refer the student to one of the College resources

If severe distress:

  • Remain calm and know whom to call for help, if necessary – find someone to stay with the student while calls to the appropriate resources are made
  • Remember that it is NOT your responsibility to provide the professional help needed for a severely troubled/disruptive student
  • When a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, call Campus Police.

If you choose to talk with the student, here are some tips

  • Never promise confidentiality, only privacy
  • Accept and respect what is said
  • Try to focus on an aspect of the problem that is manageable
  • Avoid easy answers such as, “Everything will be alright.”
  • Help identify resources needed to improve things
  • Help the person recall constructive methods used in the past to cope; get the person to agree to do something constructive to change things
  • Trust your insight and reactions
  • Refer & share information
  • End the conversation in a way that will allow you or the student to revisit the subject at another time. Keep lines of communication open.
  • Invite the student back to follow up.

Other Resources:

Are you worried about a friend?

Being away at college can be a stressful time for anyone. Stress may stem from family, classes, responsibilities on campus, friend conflict, relationship issues, etc. Sometimes we can cope without too much anxiety or interference, but other times stress may cause significant problems or concerns. At times, you may find that, while you are coping with stress effectively, your friends are not.There are general warning signs to look for if someone is struggling:

  • Feeling sad for an extended period of time (crying, feeling fatigued, unmotivated).
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself.
  • Odd or bizarre behaviors.
  • Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors.
  • Sudden overwhelming fear or worries.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drastic changes in behavior or personality.
  • Drastic change in eating or weight.
  • Change in sleep patterns—sleeping very little or too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Withdrawn from friends and social events.
  • Feelings of extreme highs or lows.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Strange Thoughts (delusions) / Paranoia.
  • Inability to cope with daily problems.
  • Academic problems, not going to class.

What to Do:

  • Respect their personal space.
  • Find an area to talk that is comfortable and private.
  • Let them know that you have noticed a change, and you are concerned.
  • Ask if they would like to talk about it.
  • Remain judgement-free; just listen to what is going on.
  • Ask if they would feel comfortable talking about this with a Resident Advisor, counselor, family member, Area Coordinator, etc… If so, connect them with that resource by walking them over or helping them make an appointment.
  • Listen carefully and be supportive.

 

Even if your friend does not want to talk with anyone, many of the behaviors listed above can be signs of crisis or distress. Reach out to the Office of Student Life for a consultation – you can make a difference for your friend.

Emergency Information

We know that the transition from high school to college can be a challenge for both students and their families. Though it is always our preference to empower students in their growth toward independence to seek assistance themselves, we know that family members often have questions about the College or concerns about their student that they wish to share. We are pleased to have the opportunity help you navigate through issues as you help your student. If you cannot find what you need on this page, please email or call us and we will do what we can to help.

General information

  • Emergency Information
  • Student Handbook
  • Ferrum College Police Department
  • Campus Map

Campus Resources

There are general warning signs to look for if someone is struggling:

  • Feeling sad for an extended period of time (crying, feeling fatigued, unmotivated).
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself.
  • Odd or bizarre behaviors.
  • Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors.
  • Sudden overwhelming fear or worries.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drastic changes in behavior or personality.
  • Drastic change in eating or weight.
  • Change in sleep patterns—sleeping very little or too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Withdrawn from friends and social events.
  • Feelings of extreme highs or lows.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Strange Thoughts (delusions) / Paranoia.
  • Inability to cope with daily problems.
  • Academic problems, not going to class.

What to Do:

  • Respect their personal space.
  • Let them know that you have noticed a change, and you are concerned.
  • Remain judgement-free; just listen to what is going on.
  • Listen carefully and be supportive.

 

Even if your student does not want to talk with anyone, many of the behaviors listed above can be signs of crisis or distress. Reach out to the Office of Student Life for a consultation.

Our mission is the same all across campus – we want our students to be successful! In every department from academics to dining to housekeeping to alumni, we want to give students the best chance at being successful as a student here and each and every one of us has chances to impact that. We all know the best way to do that is as a Ferrum Family. Thank you for all you do to support and advocate for our students every day.

You may be the first to notice a student who is experiencing difficulty or the first person a student turns to on campus. What we need you to do:

  • Notice signs of distress
  • Have direct conversation with student to gather information, express concern, and offer resources
  • Communicate these to the ARC, counseling, or the Office of Student Life

 

Often, there are indicators that a student is experiencing distress long before a situation escalates to a crisis. A crisis is a situation in which an individual’s usual style of coping is no longer effective, and the emotional or physiological response begins to escalate. As emotions intensify, coping becomes less effective, until the person may become disoriented, non-functional, or attempt harm.

All of us experience life’s “ups and down,” but significant distress experienced over a period of time may suggest a more serious problem. There are different levels of distress and these can be represented through a continuum. How you go about helping a student will depend on several factors: their level of distress, the nature of your relationship, the type of setting you are in and your comfort level.

Examples of Academic Indicators:

  • Repeated absences from class, section, or lab
  • Missed assignments, exams, or appointments
  • Deterioration in quality or quantity of work
  • Extreme disorganization or erratic performance
  • Written or artistic expression of unusual violence, morbidity, social isolation, despair, or confusion; essays or papers that focus on suicide or death
  • Continual seeking of special provisions (extensions on papers, make-up exams)
  • Patterns of perfectionism: e.g., can’t accept themselves if they don’t get an A+
  • Overblown or disproportionate response to grades or other evaluations

Examples of Behavioral/Emotional Indicators

  • Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or loss
  • Angry or hostile outbursts, yelling, or aggressive comments
  • More withdrawn or more animated than usual
  • Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness; crying or tearfulness
  • Expressions of severe anxiety or irritability
  • Excessively demanding or dependent behavior
  • Lack of response to outreach from course staff
  • Shakiness, tremors, fidgeting, or pacing

Examples of Physical Indicators

  • Deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Excessive fatigue, exhaustion; falling asleep in class repeatedly
  • Visible changes in weight; statements about change in appetite or sleep
  • Noticeable cuts, bruises, or burns
  • Frequent or chronic illness
  • Disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
  • Unusual inability to make eye contact
  • Coming to class bleary-eyed or smelling of alcohol

Examples of Other Indicators

  • Concern about a student by their peer
  • A hunch or gut-level reaction that something is wrong
  • Written or verbal statements that mention despair, suicide, or death
  • Severe hopelessness, depression, isolation, and withdrawal
  • Statements to the effect that the student is “going away for a long time”

How To Help

If mild/moderate distress:

  • Deal directly with the behavior/problem according to classroom or campus protocol
  • Allow the student to speak freely about their current situation and the
    variables that may be affecting their distress
  • Consult with a supervisor, colleague, Dean, Student Life professional, or counselor
  • Refer the student to one of the College resources

If severe distress:

  • Remain calm and know whom to call for help, if necessary – find someone to stay with the student while calls to the appropriate resources are made
  • Remember that it is NOT your responsibility to provide the professional help needed for a severely troubled/disruptive student
  • When a student expresses a direct threat to themselves or others, or acts in a bizarre, highly irrational or disruptive way, call Campus Police.

If you choose to talk with the student, here are some tips

  • Never promise confidentiality, only privacy
  • Accept and respect what is said
  • Try to focus on an aspect of the problem that is manageable
  • Avoid easy answers such as, “Everything will be alright.”
  • Help identify resources needed to improve things
  • Help the person recall constructive methods used in the past to cope; get the person to agree to do something constructive to change things
  • Trust your insight and reactions
  • Refer & share information
  • End the conversation in a way that will allow you or the student to revisit the subject at another time. Keep lines of communication open.
  • Invite the student back to follow up.

Other Resources:

Emergency Information

Student Emergency – Immediate Attention Needed

Medical Emergencies

The essential first step is immediately seeking medical care. Please dial 911 or contact the Ferrum College Police Department at (540) 365-4444 immediately.

Some examples of medical emergencies may include the following:

  • Injury or illness
  • Any attempt to harm oneself or others
  • Significant impairment of normal functioning
  • Physical assault or any other violent behavior or physical altercation
  • Unconsciousness or the inability to communicate clearly (incoherent, garbled, slurred speech)

For consultation in assessing the situation and responding appropriately, it is best to call 911 or FCPD at (540) 365-4444.

Emergency Care and After-Hours Medical Attention

Psychological Emergencies

Psychological emergencies may include the following signs or symptoms:

  • Any threat of harm to oneself or others (verbal, written, or otherwise)
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, paranoia)

For consultation in assessing the situation and responding appropriately, call the Office of Student Life at( 540) 365-4461, or FCPD at (540) 365-4444.

In a psychological emergency, immediately seeking psychological care is the essential first step. In matters where harm to oneself or others is likely or inevitable, contact emergency services immediately by dialing 911, FCPD at (540) 365-4444 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Emergency Care

Behavioral Emergencies
Some examples of behavioral emergencies include the following:

  • Highly disruptive behavior
  • Aggression that may be verbal and/or physical
  • Threatening behavior
  • Unusual, odd or strange behavior
  • Any behavior that jeopardizes the safety of any one person or group
  • Presence or threat of a weapon
  • Any behavior that is out of the norm for the person, the situation or the circumstances could indicate an emergency or that intervention is needed.

Psychological and/or medical issues can present themselves as a behavioral problem or emergency. For consultation in assessing the situation and responding appropriately, call the Ferrum College Police Department at (540) 365-4444.

Make a Report to the Office of Student Life

This report function is a way for families, friends, former mentors, and others who love and care about our students to let us know when they see that their student is struggling or when something happens at home that may impact their student on campus. Often, you will have information that we could use to help strategize and connect to help our students be as successful as possible. We thank you for sharing information with us and partnering with us to work towards our students health, well-being, and success.

Faculty should report concerns through the Student Success Alert form on Panther Portal.

Filing a report is NOT appropriate if the student or situation requires immediate attention or there is an emergency of any kind. Instead, please call 911 or the Ferrum College Police Department at (540) 365-4444.

Make a report (Button with link to webform)

Important Additional Information
If a current student poses a threat of harm to self or others, please call the Ferrum College Police Department immediately at (540) 365-4444.

Reports will be reviewed within one (1) business day; however, these reports are not reviewed outside of business hours (Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.) or during holiday breaks.

Once the report has been reviewed, a clearly defined level of protocol is used to determine the most appropriate steps.

We will follow up with the person(s) who submit reports only when additional information is needed.

If you have submitted a report and have more information to share or questions, please call us at (540) 365-4461.

The Office of Student Life is designed to be a way to help connect current students with the resources to help support them. Common reasons for a referral can include, but are not limited to the following:

Academic Concerns
Adjustment Issues
Behavioral Concerns
Career or Graduation
Death or Grief
Financial
Personal Health or Wellness
Parenting or Pregnant Students
Relationships or Student Engagement
Other Concerns

Resources

Academic

Academic Resource Center
Library
Dean of Academic Affairs
Office of the Provost

Adjustment

Office of Student Life
Office of Student Engagement
Counseling Center
Dean of the Chapel

Career or Graduation

Career Services
Registrar
Office of Alumni and Family Programs

Death, Grief, or Loss

Office of Student Life
Counseling Center
Dean of the Chapel

Diversity

Dean of Campus Diversity, Wellness and Student Leadership
Office of Student Life
Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator

Financial

Financial Aid
Student Accounts

Housing

Office of Student Life

Legal issues or concerns

Ferrum College Police Department
VA BAR Association
Office of Student Life

Mental Health

Suicide Hotline
Counseling Center
Dean of the Chapel

Parenting or Pregnant Students

Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator
Counseling Center
Office of Student Life

Personal Health & Wellness

Dean of Campus Diversity, Wellness and Student Leadership
Office of Student Life
Counseling Center
Dean of the Chapel

Student Involvement/Engagement

Office of Student Engagement
Intramurals
Office of Student Life
Dean of the Chapel

Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, & Harassment

Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Life
Ferrum College Police Department
SARA (hotline)
Counseling Center

Parking

Ferrum College Police Department

Alcohol and other Drugs Support Groups
Local Grief Support Groups
Find Grief Support Groups Anywhere
Find a Counselor or Psychologist Anywhere
Find a Support Group for Any Need, Anywhere
Find a Treatment Center or Program Anywhere

Care Assessment Team (CAT)

The Care Assessment Team (CAT) exists to ensure the success of members of the campus community.  While the primary work and focus of the team will be on students, it also receives, and acts upon, reported concerns for faculty and staff.

The team receives, and acts upon, reported incidents of behavior on the part of any member of the campus community that creates concern about the individual’s well-being or that of others. These concerns may include, but are not limited to: academic deficiencies; mental or medical issues; family, personal, or transitional struggles; and/or conduct. Team members evaluate the information received, undertake further investigation as needed, and determine the appropriate intervention strategies.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that the community member can be successful at Ferrum College and that at all times, the campus community is safe. The team will always work in the best interest of the community.

WHO WE ARE
Jim Owens* – Chief of Police – Co-Chair
Nicole Lenez* – Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator – Co-Chair
Aime Sposato* – Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Jessica Stallard*, LCSW – College Counselor
Courtney Brown – Presidential Assistant & Liaison to the Board of Trustees
Vanessa Stone – Coordinator of Student Support Services

HOW TO REPORT
To make a report to be reviewed by the team, please contact any of the members listed above.

*member of Threat Assessment Team