Summer to-do list for behavioral intervention teams

Colleges and universities across North America are experiencing an uptick in the number of students being referred to their Behavioral Intervention Teams (BIT) or Campus Assessment & Response (CARE) Teams each year—with some institutions managing caseloads that are 10 times higher than they were just a few years ago. The good news is that much of this growth is due to the teams' intentional outreach and educational efforts to build awareness of mental health and institutional resources on campus.

With this rapid growth, teams must adapt to not only a higher volume of cases, but also a more diverse set of issues and concerns facing students, often in an ad hoc manner. This leaves less time for teams to pull up and assess their work. With fewer students on campus, summer provides a rare opportunity for BIT to review and reflect on their work across the previous year.

This four-item checklist will help you evaluate your campus BIT.

1. Analyze student demographic and case data for trends

Access the Students of Concern Resource Center

It is important for teams to review case and student demographic data to highlight trends and understand how 2016-17 compared to previous years. For example, teams might notice a sharp uptick in the number of international students referred to the team or an increase in the number of cases that involve reports of eating disorders. Identifying these patterns is essential not only for the team's work, but for divisional strategic planning as well.

2. Audit your team membership

As part of reviewing their data, teams should also audit their current membership. While there is a benefit to having multiple perspectives in the group, BIT become unwieldly with more than 10 permanent members. We recommend keeping the number of permanent team members between six and eight individuals. The summer provides an excellent opportunity to discuss adding permanent members and/or moving someone to as-needed status to stay within that recommended window.

3. Use referral data to strategically target Fall outreach efforts

Aggregating referral data allows the team to explore general trends and pinpoint gaps and populations that are underrepresented. For example, the team might notice that they aren't receiving many referrals from the engineering school. As they plan their fall outreach strategy, they can proactively work with the engineering dean as well as department chairs to increase faculty awareness through training, roadshows, and just-in-time reminder campaigns.

4. Gather feedback from team members

Even high performing BIT have areas where they need to improve. Over the summer, the team chair should gather the group for a half- or full-day retreat. While data analysis and case reviews are a key part of the agenda, we also recommend that the team engage in reflection. Buffalo State College, for instance, uses a series of quantitative and qualitative questions to help the group identify what they are doing well as well as pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

Download the Buffalo State College audit tool

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