We’re Here to Help!

Student Outreach and Support coordinates the initial and follow-up case management services for students. In collaboration with the CARE Team, we proactively assist students experiencing personal, psychological, emotional, and / or academic concerns. For students in need of assistance, the Student Outreach and Support (SOS) staff provide the initial assessment, and refer students to appropriate, ongoing support services both on and off campus. These services include:

  • Check-in with students via email, phone, room visits, or RA check-ins to offer support
  • Assess the student’s concerns and the level of need for support
  • Refer to on campus resources (Counseling Services, the Office of Accessibility, academic coaching, etc.)
  • Educate the student on options available to help them make a decision that best meets their individual need

The Student Outreach and Support staff, coordinated through the Dean of Students Office, is typically the first contact when gathering information about how to help a student or when trying to connect a student with resources on campus. If a student is struggling and you are unsure how to get them help, our staff can provide assistance.

Privacy

Student Outreach and Support staff are not counselors. Case management, although supportive and personal, is not the same as psychotherapy; therefore confidentiality guidelines that apply to medical or professional counseling situations (HIPAA) are different for case management.

Student Outreach and Support operates within the confidentiality rules outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This means that without a FERPA release provided by the student, Student Outreach and Support staff can not share educational records with a parent, or anyone outside of the College, unless there is concern for the health and safety of the student. Within the rules of FERPA, Student Outreach and Support staff can share information with college officials on a need-to-know basis. When sharing information with other staff or faculty, Student Outreach and Support will only share information that is vitally important and always works to respect a student’s privacy.

For a broader explanation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act please visit the Registrar’s page.

Students: If you wish to give college officials permission to disclose your educational records to someone outside Eckerd, please complete the online FERPA release form.

Brown Hall – Student Affairs
Mon-Fri: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

CARE Team

Get support for a student

The CARE Team at Eckerd College receives referrals, provides assessments, and makes recommendations for students experiencing personal, psychological, emotional, academic and / or medical concerns.

The CARE Team is made up of representatives from various departments on campus so that a well-rounded, holistic support system is in place for students. The CARE Team serves as a centralized reporting source for any community member (faculty/staff, students, parents, etc) who is concerned about a student and would like assistance.

The Director of Student Outreach and Support serves as the chair of the CARE Team and along with the Student Support Coordinator, reaches out to students to offer assistance and connect them with on and off campus resources.

The CARE Team is a multidisciplinary committee which includes individuals in both Student Life and Academic Affairs.

  • Director of Student Outreach and Support (Chair)
  • Student Support Coordinator
  • Associate Dean for Counseling, Health and Wellness Services
  • Associate Dean of Faculty
  • Assistant Dean for Community Standards
  • Director for Campus Safety and Security
  • Director of Residence Life and Leadership Programs
  • Director of Accessibility
  • Other staff members may be asked to join on a case-by-case basis to best support a student

As a staff, faculty, friend or parent you are in a good position to identify who might need help as you see and talk to students on a regular basis and often in stressful situations. If you notice that a student is exhibiting one or more of the following academic, physical or emotional signs, or you just have a “gut-feeling” that something is wrong, make a referral to the Intervention Team.

Academic Indicators

  • Excessive procrastination and very poorly prepared work, especially if this is inconsistent with previous efforts.
  • Missing assignments or exams.
  • Multiple absences or excessive tardiness.
  • Decline in interest or enthusiasm.
  • Inability to follow assignment instructions or tasks, despite repeated attempts to clarify/encourage.
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g. deadline extensions).
  • Dependence on professor/tutor that is beyond what is usual for a student needing assistance in your class.

Emotional Indicators

  • Emotions (sadness, nervousness, fearfulness, etc.) that are displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period of time.
  • Change in typical personality (e.g., more outgoing or more withdrawn than usual).
  • Difficulty connecting with the community, making friends, etc.
  • Difficulty dealing with a life event (e.g., death in family, relationship break-up).
  • Expressions of hopelessness, isolation, or worthlessness; themes of suicide, self-harm or reference to death and dying.
  • Marked irritability, anger, hostility.
  • Direct mention of thoughts of self-harm, harm to others, or suicide.
  • Mention of dealing with a mental health issue (depression, anxiety, BiPolar disorder, etc), substance abuse, eating disorder, etc.
  • Strange or bizarre behavior that is obviously inappropriate to the situation (e.g., seeing or hearing things other people don’t).

Physical Indicators

  • Chronic fatigue or falling asleep at inappropriate times.
  • Marked change in personal hygiene or appearance.
  • Noticeable or dramatic change in energy level.
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain.
  • Impaired speech or confused disjointed thoughts.
  • Frequently appears “hung-over” or attends class intoxicated.
  • Noticeable signs of self-harm on student (cuts, burns, etc. that seem unusual).

Once the Intervention Team receives a referral, the Student Outreach Support staff begins a response by gathering more information and reaching out to the student to offer support. How Student Outreach Support reaches out depends on the content of the referral and the assessed level of concern. The response can range from an email offering support or a phone call to the student to visiting the student in their room or finding them on campus to assess safety and immediate concerns.

Additionally, the Intervention Team meets weekly to discuss all referrals. The team works together to assess the level of concern for the student, identify areas of need, and provide holistic support services.

Due to the high volume of cases and the priority of contacting students, it is not always possible to provide updates back to the original referral source. If you would like updates or information on the student(s) you refer, please contact Outreach Services directly to inquire about the student.

Meet the Staff

Ryan Hiller, MBA
Director of Student Outreach Support
hillerrm@eckerd.edu
727,864.8407

Ann Sherman-White, M.Ed.
Student Support Coordinator
shermanwhitead@eckerd.edu
727.864.8904

Tips to Help a Friend

As fellow community members, you know your friends, roommates, students, etc, quite well. Often, you are in a position to offer considerable help to your friends and students since they already know and trust you. Here are some tips you can use when offering support to someone before (or in conjunction with) getting them professional help.

  • Stop what you’re doing and focus on the person you are talking to.
  • Acknowledge what you’ve heard and make sure you are understanding what the person is saying.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings.
  • Express concern and interest.
  • Convey warmth and empathy with your tone of voice and body language.
  • Avoid becoming defensive or judgmental.
  • Remember, even if the problem does not sound serious to you or even if you may have heard of or experienced situations that seem much worse, each crisis is personal and significant for the person experiencing it.
  • Ask questions about what the student has already tried or what they think might be helpful.
  • Help them in determining their strengths and where they might need extra support.
  • Ask questions to find out if this is an emergency or if the person is thinking of hurting themselves. If they are, call Campus Safety at 727-864-8260  or 911 right away.
  • Brainstorm options and encourage the use of campus resources (RA, Peer Mentor, Outreach Services, Counseling Services,etc).
  • Offer to walk with the student to the campus resource.
  • Do not agree to remain secretive or confidential about the issue. Explain your limitations and that you are not a professional.
  • Make a referral to the CARE Team
  • Contact the appropriate staff on campus based on the issues discussed with the student. For example, if the student is struggling with a roommate issue, contact Residence Life. When in doubt, contact Outreach Services or Campus Safety for assistance or dial 911.

Recognizing boundaries

When supporting a friend or student, it can often take a toll on you as the support person. It is important to maintain personal boundaries while communicating warmth and creating a supportive environment. You are not a mental health professional and should not place unreasonable expectations on yourself regarding how you can help. Recognize the limits of what you can do and ask for help.