Knowing When to Intervene
In most cases, students should resolve their own issues. College is a time when students should learn how to negotiate challenges. But there may be times when you need to intervene.
What are these times? Here are some criteria you might follow. Intervene when:
1. Your student has exhausted every possible remedy, but has made virtually no progress.
2. Your student is getting no response from university staff or faculty
3. Your student is being given obviously wrong guidance
How do you intervene? Here are suggestions.
1. If your campus has a parent advocate, start there. Often the parent advocate will get the attention you need.
2. When you reach a responsible university person
- Give the background on the issue
- Ask for help
- Determine the best resolution
- Follow up the resolution with a written understanding of the resolution. Whatever you do, don’t threaten or raise your voice. University faculty and staff are notoriously stubborn when being threatened. Name dropping also doesn’t work.
3. If the issue isn’t resolved satisfactorily, you’ll need to assess whether the issue should be pursued further. At some point, continued pursuit of the issue could be counter productive. If you do decide to take the issue further, take the issue to the dean of the college. Generally the dean will want to get the issue resolved amicably.
As a rule of thumb, there are very few cases where you will need to intervene. But if you do, starting at the lower level of the dispute is always best. .