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

Monitoring Complex Cases

Diagnostic Questions

The following questions are designed to guide members in evaluating their current approach for managing complex cases. Based on the number of affirmative responses, each member will fall into one of the categories on the opposite page. These categories can be used to identify tactics particularly well suited to member circumstances. Note: questions should be answered from the perspective of the BIT Chair.

1. Does your BIT assign cases to team members based on their previous interactions with a student and/or on their expertise in dealing with the student’s specific concern(s)?
2. Does your institution employ a dedicated case manager outside of Counseling Services?
3. Does the assigned lead or case manager have clearly defined responsibilities for following up with the student, recordkeeping, and updating the BIT?
4. If your institution has a dedicated case manager in Student Affairs, does this individual provide regular reports about interactions with students of concern, campus outreach efforts, and consultations with the BIT?
5. Does your team maintain a list of high-priority, ongoing cases that are reviewed regularly in BIT meetings?
6. Is the BIT notified about students who have withdrawn from the institution if the reason for withdrawal falls under the team’s mission and responsibilities?
7. Before a student of concern returns to campus, does the BIT make a recommendation about the student’s needs for future academic and personal success?
8. Is the BIT’s role in supporting students returning from leaves written into its policy statement or procedures manual?

Understanding Your Current State

Number of Yes Responses

0-2 Minimal Case Management:The BIT chair handles the majority of follow-up and management for long-term cases.

The Forum recommends that teams at this level adopt the Assigned Case Leads strategy to reduce the burden on the BIT Chair and spread long-term cases among team members.

3-5 Basic Case Management: BITs either employ a dedicated case manager or assign cases among team members based on “best fit.”

Teams with basic case management strategies should consider hiring a Dedicated Case Manager and begin holding Semester in Review Sessions to prevent long-term cases from falling off the BIT radar.

6-8 Advanced Case Management: The institution employs one or more case managers outside of the Counseling Center. These individuals facilitate BIT activities and coordinate resources for students of concern.

The Forum recommends that institutions in this category consider implementing monthly case manager reports to understand emerging trends and ensure that this individual is not overwhelmed with low-level tasks. Some universities may also wish to consider setting up a Dedicated Student Assistance Office to manage a wide range of student concerns, behavioral intervention needs, and threat assessment/management.

The Frequent Flyer Problem

Ongoing Cycles of Distress Consume Disproportionate Share of Resources

The Forum’s analysis suggests that BITs are seeing growing numbers of frequent fliers and complex cases, situations that require more time, ongoing support, and increased coordination between various constituencies. If left unchecked, these trends have the long-term potential to overwhelm campus teams. 

As a result, some Student Affairs executives are starting to recognize that the BIT as a full group is not the most efficient or effective resource for conducting regular follow-up and support for these extreme cases. 

The Frequent Flyer Problem

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Consolidating Case Information

Practice #14: Student-Facing Case Management