Skip to content Resources News Contact Search Popular Request a ConsultationWorkshops and Virtual ConversationsTechnical SupportCourse Design and PreparationObservation & Feedback About Learn about the Center for Teaching and Learning where we champion excellence in teaching to support student learning. About Our Mission Our History Staff Directory Contact Us Faculty Advisory Board Teaching Support Put our Educational Development team's world-class pedagogical knowledge to use through workshops, events, and one-on-one consultations. Teaching Support Programs Observation & Consultation Resources Scholarship Grad Student & Postdoc Programming Faculty Programming Events & Workshops Build pedagogical and technical skills with WashU colleagues through events and workshops facilitated by the CTL team. Events & Workshops For Faculty For Grad Students & Postdocs Classroom Services On-call classroom and technology assistance for instructors at WashU from our Classroom Services team. Classroom Services Classroom Directory CTL Supported Classrooms Classroom Support Active Learning Classrooms Classroom Design Classroom Technology and Training Reserving a Classroom Class Recording Undergrad Support Learn more about our programs for undergraduate students on the Learning Center site. Academic Programs Resources Our MentorsContact the Learning Center Upcoming Mentor Sessions Resources News Contact Teaching Resources Strategies for Supporting Students Through Tragedy Resource Overview During times of community tragedy, faculty may wish to provide extra support to their students but may be unsure of where to begin. In this resource, you’ll find several strategies and suggestions for supporting your students during difficult times. It’s important to acknowledge that in times of university tragedy, like the death of a student, many in the campus community may experience grief, fear, anxiety, and a host of other emotions, whether directly involved or not. During times of community tragedy, faculty may wish to provide extra support to their students but may be unsure of where to begin. Below you’ll find several strategies and suggestions for supporting your students during this difficult time. Acknowledge the Situation and Check in with Students In times of tragedy and trouble, it is critical to name the elephant in the room. Take a minute at the beginning of class to acknowledge what happened. Say the student’s name when talking about them. Note that many students may be having a difficult week. Ask them how they are doing. If you are experiencing grief and you are comfortable doing so, you can also let students know that you are having a tough week. Do your best to be present and authentic. Avoid telling students how they should feel or what they should do. It’s also important to avoid suggesting that you know how they feel, as everyone experiences grief differently. You Don’t Need All Answers or to Be a Counselor to Help You don’t have to fix anything for your students and you don’t need all of the answers to help. Instead, remind them of the professional supports available to them at WashU. Express a willingness to help them find the right resources. Normalize getting help and talking through difficult life experiences when you remind them of professional, confidential resources that are available to them. Some options for you and/or your students on the Danforth campus include: Make a report to WashU Cares (If you or a student are worried about another student at WashU) Review information about counseling Book an appointment on the student portal Contact Counseling and Psychological Services: (314) 935-6695, [email protected] Use TimelyCare 24/7/365 support: Have the student download the Timely Care app and use their WashU email to register Attend a Let’s Talk session Contact the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center (RSVP): (314) 935-3445 Reach out to the Office for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life, which offers support to students of any/no religious background: (314) 935-5257 If you have questions about a situation with a student, you can call the Counseling and Psychological Services Coordinator during business hours at (314) 935-6695, WashU Cares at (314)-935-3566, or you can call the TimelyCare hotline 24/7 at 833-4-TIMELY. Further resources can be found in the “Red Folder.” Note that official university communications have pointed students to many of these resources, however students may be even more likely to reach out for help if a trusted faculty member is sharing them. Do your best to talk about these resources using “resource-positive” language that encourages them to reach out without shame or concern that doing so would make them less well equipped to succeed than their peers (Addy et al., 2021). Give Students Space to Reflect Consider giving students a few minutes to reflect, journal, or write down something about how they are feeling. This may give students needed space to acknowledge how they are feeling and process grief and trauma that they’ve experienced. Respond to Student Difficulties with Compassion Students who are suffering from grief, increased anxiety, and/or depression, may struggle to stay on task and to meet normal deadlines. If students are struggling and reach out to you for help, approach their concerns with compassion and empathy. You may wish to offer an extension. You may be inclined to offer students extra one-on-one time if they were struggling to focus during class. While deadlines serve an important purpose in keeping us on track in a given semester, offering some flexibility in times of extreme trauma can go a long way in helping students feel supported through difficulties. Circle Back Checking in soon after tragedy occurs is important, but taking the time to check back in a few weeks after an event is also critical, especially in supporting students who indicated earlier that they were struggling. By reaching out later, you’re helping the students feel seen and supported at a time when they still may be experiencing difficulties. Additional Resources Should you wish to talk through any of these strategies or others that you are considering, please feel free to reach out to the CTL for a confidential conversation. In addition, you may find these resources useful: Helping Students in Distress WashU Danforth Campus Counseling Referrals WashU Med Campus Counseling Referrals Outside Resources Addy, T.M. et al. (2021). What inclusive instructors do: Principles and practices for excellence in college teaching. Stylus Publishing. Imad, Mays (June 3, 2020) “7-ways to help students thrive during trauma” InsideHigherEd UCI: Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation “What is trauma-informed pedagogy” National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (2020). “Guidelines for responding to the death of a student or school staff member.” U.S. Department of Education (2007). “Coping with the death of a student or staff member.” Emergency Response and Crisis Management Technical Assistance Center ERCMEXpress. Vol 3, Issue 2, 2007. Back to All Resources Category Inclusive Teaching & Learning Have questions? Request a Consultation Back to All Resources Have suggestions? If you have suggestions of resources we might add to these pages, please contact us: [email protected](314) 935-6810Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. We're Here to Help Center for Teaching and Learning Washington University Eads Hall - Room 105 (314) 935-6810 Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Quick Links Teaching Support Events & Workshops Classroom Services About News The Learning Center FacebookTwitterLinkedinInstagram © 2024 Washington University in St. Louis Terms of Use Privacy Policy WUSTL.EDU

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