February 18, 2020

Creating a culture of CARE

Dean of Students Office, partners encourage campus community to help connect students with resources

College can be a stressful time, and students experience a variety of pressures related to academic work, relationships and other aspects of their busy lives. In keeping with Wayne State University’s mission to create a welcoming community for all students, the Dean of Students Office (DOSO) has positioned itself as a command center for care.

With nearly 28,000 students, DOSO can’t do it alone — and they don’t. DOSO works closely with many partners on campus to connect students with helpful resources, and all students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to play a role in making those connections by submitting a CARE Report online in the event that they are concerned about a WSU student.

“We know that student wellness and student success are directly connected,” said Dean of Students David Strauss. “By submitting a CARE report on behalf of a student that you are concerned about, you can help us connect them with support and services.” 

A CARE Report, which is confidential and can be filed anonymously, is not at all punitive in nature and entirely separate from academic and non-academic misconduct reporting forms. Some common examples that may lead to the filing of a CARE Report include:

  • A student is struggling with a difficulty life circumstance or health issue
  • A student is displaying unusual or out-of-character behavior
  • A student is communicating thoughts of harm to self, others or locations
  • A student is experiencing a significant loss such as the death of a family member or loss of safe housing
  • A student is communicating that they are the victim of harassment, stalking, interpersonal violence or sexual assault
  • A student is missing class for an extended period of time
  • A student is nonresponsive to outreach attempts
  • A student is displaying unhealthy or dangerous patterns of behavior
  • A student is experiencing a high level of stress
  • A student is displaying behavior that is disruptive or negatively impacting the classroom or work environment
  • A student is posting concerning messages on social media

Strauss works closely with a team of dedicated professionals — including Associate Director and Student Conduct Officer Nikolina Camaj and Program Specialist Angela Gabriel — to ensure that each CARE Report is addressed in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner.

“In all that we do, care comes first and we want people to view the CARE Report as a powerful tool in helping our students,” said Camaj. “For some students, challenges may stem from a new experience or environment, while others may be the result of ongoing issues. Early identification and intervention can help in both situations. Our students should know that the entire Warrior community cares about them and that we’re here for them.”

Each report is reviewed within one business day, and DOSO typically consults with the person filing the report to confirm its receipt and discuss the information provided. From there, the team attempts to connect with the student, which often takes the form of a phone call or an invitation to come speak with someone at DOSO. While the privacy of students is treated with the utmost importance, DOSO will contact the person who filed the report to confirm that an outreach attempt has occurred.

Once connected with a student, DOSO can help connect them with vast resources from many campus partners, through the comprehensive Warrior Life and Wellness program. Partners include (but are not limited to): Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Disability Services, Housing and Residential Life, the Wayne State University Police Department, the Office of Financial Student Aid, the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, the Academic Success Center, Career Services, and Title IX Director Brandy Banks.

DOSO also recently launched its Warrior Chat program in collaboration with the College of Education and Counseling and Psychological Services, which offers free, nonclinical peer counseling to all currently enrolled students. DOSO is also able to connect students with services on campus, including The W Food Pantry, the Warrior Wardrobe and transportation opportunities, among other resources.

“We treat all students with respect and empathy, at all times,” Gabriel said. “Many of us can relate to the feeling of needing a little extra support and encouragement, but not quite knowing where to find it. The CARE Report process lets Warriors help guide other Warriors in the right direction.”


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