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Optimize your BIT/CARE team size and composition

May 2, 2018, By Liz Rothenberg, PhD, Managing Director

During research interviews, our experts are frequently asked about BIT/CARE team size and composition. At its best, a BIT/CARE team leverages a range of perspectives to generate a course of action to respond to a referred student. At its worst, a large team quickly becomes unwieldy and raises concerns about efficiency and privacy.

Average team size: Wide consensus around the most commonly represented units

As the Student Affairs Forum team began updating our BIT/CARE team work across the last year, we were again asked about optimal group size and composition. Currently, teams can vary from three to 20 members, but the average team size is ten. EAB recommends that teams try hard to keep the core team between six and ten members.

Counseling is the most commonly represented unit, with 95% of institutions including a member from this office on their BIT/CARE team. Other areas frequently included on teams were the dean of students office, student conduct, public safety, residence life/housing, and health services. Less than 20% of institutions include representatives from either university human resources or inclusion, equity, and diversity.

Ensure the BIT/CARE team allocates time effectively

As BIT/CARE team workloads continue to increase, standing meetings must strike a delicate balance between triaging new referrals, getting updates on open cases, and reviewing students who are in ongoing case management.

To ensure they are maximizing their efficiency, some teams reassess how they allocate the group’s time on a semester or yearly basis. The goal being to ensure that the bulk of the group’s standing meeting is being spent on complex cases where multiple perspectives are needed vs. situations where there is less urgent follow-up that can be handled by a case manager or another staff.

The rise of case managers

Recently, more and more colleges and universities have employed case managers to help manage the growing volume and complexity of BIT/CARE cases.

EAB benchmarking data finds that 86% of institutions report having one or more case managers on campus. These individuals tend to be located in the dean of students office instead of in the counseling center.

Where to focus now

To ensure your institution has a high-functioning BIT/CARE team, EAB recommends you review the following questions on an annual basis.

1. What is the current size of your BIT/CARE team?
If you have more than 10 members, we recommend using referrals and case data to see if there are some individuals who could be shifted from permanent members to “as needed” status.

2. When was the last time a member was added or removed from the BIT/CARE team?
If membership has been static for 2+ years, we recommend reviewing the data to ensure that team composition matches referral demographics and common interventions. For example, some institutions have added a team member from the graduate school after seeing a spike in referrals while other institutions found themselves consulting more on a flexible basis.

3. Do BIT members receive periodic trainings on team procedures, legal and policy updates, and case evaluation protocols?
EAB data demonstrates 85% of BIT/CARE teams do not have a dedicated budget. It’s important to ensure the team has an opportunity for professional development and ongoing training whether through in-house resources, professional organizations, or outside consultants. Some institutions reported collaborating with nearby colleges and universities to share the costs for BIT/CARE team professional development.

4. Do you evaluate team success through a performance audit?
EAB recommends BIT/CARE teams conduct a yearly audit to identify strengths and diagnose weaknesses in order to improve their overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Download the BIT audit this school uses

Learn how Buffalo State College regularly assesses their BIT/CARE team performance.

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