Published: Feb. 18, 2019

For many of us, life can sometimes get in the way of our daily routines and responsibilities. Many students will encounter difficult circumstances during their time at CU Boulder, including prolonged illness or injury, a death in the family or other personal emergencies. These circumstances can come up unexpectedly and often affect the student’s academics and overall ability to be successful.

Most of the time, these unfortunate situations are short-term in nature. Student Support and Case Management (SSCM) has information for faculty and staff on supporting students who are experiencing a difficult circumstance.

Have a conversation

Here are some signs that a student may be experiencing a difficult circumstance:

  • Changes in academic performance or class attendance.
  • Frequent or extended absences.
  • Appears exhausted or fatigued.
  • Mentions relationship, financial or other challenges.
  • Demonstrates difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

Whenever possible, talk with the student in private. Show care and concern for the student and base the conversation on what you have observed.

Offer flexibility

If a student approaches you about making up coursework or asking for extended deadlines, do not feel that you have to make a decision in the moment. If you are unsure about the level of flexibility you can offer, or what level of flexibility the student may need, you can offer general flexibility and ask the student to keep you updated.

Connecting the student to resources

When students are connected with the proper support resources, they can get back on track and persist in their academic journey. The SSCM office is a great place to start – case managers meet with students to discuss problems and possible paths forward, including other resources that could be helpful. This process not only helps minimize distress and get the student back on track, but also teaches students how to manage unfortunate circumstances in the future.

There are many campus resources available to support students, and case managers can help students connect with those resources and navigate difficult circumstances they may encounter. SSCM can also partner with other campus resources and discuss the situation as appropriate to find solutions for the student.

Work with Student Support and Case Management

SSCM can consult with you in regards to options for your student. SSCM often works with students on larger issues, and can be a great resource to help faculty and staff determine how to best manage difficult situations and support students. Learn more about Student Support and Case Management.

Always remember to call 911 if you think there is an imminent risk of harm to self or others.