Responding to Students of Concern

Best Practices for Behavioral Intervention Teams

Topics: Student Affairs, Student Health and Wellness, Mental Health and Counseling, Student Health Centers, Alcohol and Drug Use, Student Experience, Special Populations, Academic Support Programs

Practice #13: Case Recordkeeping Systems

The Basic Necessities of Recordkeeping

EAB Research Reveals Key Metrics and Data Points for BITs

The Forum’s work illustrates how the growing volume and complexity of cases means that BITs must develop systems to record and track information about student cases. The Forum strongly recommends that all teams capture information about referrals, cases, and resolutions in a central repository. The basic information recorded for each case should include items such as student name, referrer, nature of the concern, and actions taken. 

Institutions with well-established teams or those who want more robust records may wish to capture additional metrics for cases including gender, GPA, affinity group information, and home country. Teams can use these additional data points to assist with identifying population trends and making resource asks.

The Basic Necessities of Recordkeeping

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An Inexpensive Recordkeeping Solution

UNC-Wilmington’s Excel Spreadsheet

Forum research uncovered a variety of strategies for tracking and storing team records. One of the easiest and least resource intensive options is to track information via a secure Excel spreadsheet. For example at UNC-Wilmington, the case manager in the Dean of Student’s Office keeps all BIT records in Excel. Key fields tracked in the spreadsheet include referral date, type of concern, and whether the case was brought to the institution’s BIT. 

The Excel spreadsheet is password-protected and the case manager is the primary user. The Dean of Students also has access to the document.

An Inexpensive Recordkeeping Solution

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Choosing the Low-Cost, Flexible Option

Excel Allows for Quick Customization but Creates Challenges over Time

Forum analysis reveals that a password-protected Excel document is the most basic form of centralized BIT recordkeeping. The Forum recommends that teams consult with senior Student Affairs leaders, representatives from the General Counsel’s office, and the IT department before implementing this tactic. To help you consider whether BIT recordkeeping in Excel is right for your institution, the pros and cons of this approach are outlined below.

Choosing the Low-Cost, Flexible Option

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A Growing List of Recordkeeping Systems

EAB Research Identified Various Databases for BIT Work

While Excel is a low-cost and flexible option for BIT tracking, Forum research highlights a growing trend for teams to use a vendor database for recordkeeping. These third-party systems aim to make data entry, case tracking, and reporting more consistent and efficient for teams. Currently, there are a range of companies offering “off the shelf” solutions for college and universities. 

The Forum also surfaced a handful of examples of institutions using homegrown databases. Although these systems can be challenging to build and maintain, interviewees highlighted how homegrown systems allow institutions to tailor databases to their exact assessment needs and security specifications.

A Growing List of Recordkeeping Systems

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At the Front of the Pack

Maxient and Symplicity Emerge as Top Systems Among Interviewees

Maxient and Symplicity emerged as the top vendor solutions among Forum research contacts. Common elements among third-party systems include customizable user rights, online reporting forms, on-call technical support, and the ability to connect with the institution’s student information system (SIS). 

At the Front of the Pack

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Building on a Conduct Background

Maxient Expanding to Serve Behavioral Intervention Teams

Created by practitioners with extensive experience in student conduct, Maxient initially began as an online system for judicial affairs cases. Since its launch, Maxient has expanded the system to include behavioral intervention work, helping to ease recordkeeping and tracking burdens for campus teams. Interviewees emphasized highly customizable user rights, automatic alerts, and outstanding customer service as some of the key benefits in working with Maxient. 

The system also records all activity in a read-only fi le, a feature the Forum found particularly useful. In case of lawsuits or records requests, administrators can review the system’s audit trail to determine who interacted with the system, when, and how.

Building on a Conduct Background

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The CARE Module

Symplicity Incorporates a BIT Component into Advocate System

Symplicity’s CARE Module is part of their broader suite of products for colleges and universities. Created as an add-on to the Advocate system, the CARE Module allows universities to capture and track BIT work. Interviewees pointed to the interactive dashboards and preloaded reports as key benefits as well as staff members’ familiarity with Symplicity’s interface through their products for other units such as career services or residence life. 

The CARE Module also includes a student survey feature, which allows teams to automatically send surveys to students when a case closes so they can get feedback on his or her experience with the process. Although practitioners may not wish to use this functionality in every case, the Forum believes this feature might help teams ramp up their assessment efforts and collect systematic feedback from students who interacted with the BIT.

The CARE Module

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Implementing a Successful Recordkeeping System

Lessons Learned from Fellow Practitioners

The Forum’s work demonstrates that choosing a BIT recordkeeping system is only the first step. To have a successful implementation, teams must make a commitment to use the database on a regular basis and to track information in a consistent manner. Interviewees also stress the importance of a developing a superuser who can ensure the campus gets maximum value out of the system. This person can help answer basic questions, run reports, and train new users on the system. 

Overall, the Forum believes that the key benefits of recordkeeping (such as an audit trail, historical records, and longitudinal data) make this tactic worthy of serious consideration by colleges and universities across North America. As a result, the Forum recommends that members evaluate recordkeeping systems including Excel spreadsheets, homegrown databases, and vendor products in order to identify a method that fi ts best with their team, mission, and institutional culture.

Implementing a Successful Recordkeeping System

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Practice #12: Pre-Meeting Briefings

Monitoring Complex Cases