The Office of Student Affairs—the class deans and colleagues in Case Management and the Center for Counseling and Mental Health—are eager to partner with faculty members as part of the college’s efforts to provide wrap-around support for Amherst students who may experience challenges during this academic year.  In order to aid the Office of Student Affairs in providing help to students who may have urgent needs, we suggest that professors inform their students that they will be reaching out to students’ class deans, even with minor concerns, and that class deans will then reach out to students. 

The information below is intended to assist faculty who are concerned about a student’s well-being.

  • If a student is missing class, not submitting work, and is not responding to your emails, send the details to the student’s class dean and inform the student that you are making this notification.  It is possible other faculty or staff are noticing the same pattern, or that the class dean has some information that will help with context and overall support.  When possible, class deans will also update faculty advisor(s).
  • If you have concerns about a student’s well-being, submit a Care Report using  Here are some examples of when to reach out: suicidal ideation indicated in conversation, email, or written work; deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene; emotional volatility, including angry or hostile outbursts, yelling, or aggressive comments, expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness, unusual crying or tearfulness; excessive fatigue, exhaustion, falling asleep in class repeatedly; indications of self-injury including noticeable cuts, bruises, or burns; shakiness, tremors, fidgeting, or pacing; disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion.  If you are concerned that a student may harm themselves please contact ACPD immediately by calling 413-542-2111. Care Reports are not monitored 24/7. 

    Once you notify a class dean or submit a Care Report, staff in the Office of Student Affairs will attempt to reach the student and check in on the student’s well-being.  Depending on the circumstances, severity of concern, and our history with the student, we will determine the nature and timing of intervention and outreach. This could include interventions such as a phone call or text, an in-person wellness check in their residence hall, or outreach to their emergency contact, and referrals to resources such as the Center for Counseling and Mental Health or Health Services. 

Frequently Asked Questions—And Some Answers

Should I contact the Class Deans if a student does not respond to a single email?

We recommend trying email contact a few times before contacting a class dean.  Often, students are simply not as responsive to email as we might wish, and the lack of a response does not necessarily indicate that the student is struggling.

Should I contact the class deans if a student misses a single class? If not, when? 

Students sometimes miss classes for innocuous reasons.  It’s always helpful to reach out to students if they have missed class to check in and ensure they are not experiencing a significant challenge.  If a student does not respond to you after missing a single class, use your best judgement to determine whether contacting a class dean is appropriate.  It certainly makes sense to reach out if the student misses a second consecutive class, which is typically one week of course material, without responding to your outreach. 

When should I reach out if a student is not turning in assignments? 

We suggest that you reach out if a student doesn’t submit an assignment and also doesn’t respond to you when you check in about it.  If a student is responsive to you but continues not to submit assignments, it would be helpful if you would reach out to the student’s class dean as soon as the pattern becomes apparent.  This allows us to offer assistance proactively, identify plans for success, and reduce myriad negative outcomes. 

If the student continues to miss classes/generate concern, should I continue to reach out or is once sufficient?

It would be helpful if you would keep us apprised of a student’s ongoing lack of engagement in your course.  It is not uncommon for students to report to us that they are doing fine when, in fact, their participation and performance in a course has been very shaky.  Knowing the faculty perspective helps us assess how to support students who may be avoiding uncomfortable realities about their current level of academic and/or personal functioning. 

What happens when I submit a Care Report?  Who reads it, who reaches out to the student, and will the student know that I submitted it?  What if I don’t want the student to know I reached out?

When a community member submits a Care Report, a Student Affairs case manager receives it and reaches out to the reporting party to gather more information about the concern, typically within a business day.  We find it most helpful to be transparent with the student about the reason for our outreach, and for that reason we encourage reporters to let students know when they’ve submitted a report.  On rare occasions, it may be counterproductive for the student to know who reached out with concern.  Our goal in making initial contact with the reporter is to assess the student’s current challenges and understand the nature of the relationship between the student and the reporter, as well as the student and other support networks being utilized. If you are concerned about the student knowing that you reached out, we are eager to brainstorm about the situation with you and to consult on the best next steps. 

May I consult with a Center for Counseling and Mental Health staff member about supporting students with mental health concerns?

Yes!  After alerting the class dean about your concerns, it can be very helpful to talk with a mental health professional about ways to support students who may be struggling with emotional or psychological concerns.  We can think through with you possible academic strategies that may help a student succeed, identify various approaches for how to talk with a student about your concerns, review ways to set appropriate boundaries if that is necessary, and/or explore if there are other actions that might be needed from you, the Center for Counseling and Mental Health, or other campus resources. All you need to do is call the Center for Counseling and Mental Health and ask to consult about a student, and we will usually get back to you the same day if we are not available immediately. 

Contact Information

Accessibility Services - Information for Faculty

Case Management - Case Management staff and overview

Class Deans: Class Dean staff and overview

Center for Counseling and Mental Health: Center for Counseling and Mental Health Quick Facts and FAQs