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Is Your Approach to Student Support Inherently Biased?

Episode 92

February 22, 2022 35 minutes


EAB experts Alexa Silverman and Meacie Fairfax examine why traditional student-advising approaches and early alert systems may be perceived negatively by students of color. Meacie and Alexa offer suggestions on ways to build trust and engagement with these students early on, so they are more receptive to offers of support.

The two also discuss the importance of enlisting multicultural student groups as advocates in helping to normalize conversations with university officials about academic, financial, or emotional hurdles that students may need help to overcome.



0:00:12.1 Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. On today’s episode, we explore what’s missing in current approaches to supporting student success and the way we use technology in that effort. In particular, we look at how early alerts and related outreach from the faculty and student advisors can be perceived by students of color who may not fully trust university leaders, especially if those leaders haven’t exactly bent over backward to connect with these students early on. Our experts share some hard truths along with some suggestions on how to build trust so that students are more accepting of your invitations to connect, to discuss possible stumbling blocks and hurdles, they may need help to overcome. Thank you for listening and enjoy.


0:01:04.4 Alexa Silverman: Hi everyone and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. My name’s Alexa Silverman. I’m a researcher with EAB and I’ve been working on topics around student success and faculty affairs since 2015, though it is my first time on the podcast today. In particular, I’ve spent the last year or so really focused on one of the biggest challenges in higher education, which is that despite many investments in curricula, technology and student support, we’re still not doing a great job of graduating our students. Almost a third of students who enter college do not graduate. And unfortunately, those roots are even worse for students of color. One of the elements of student success that I’ve been taking a deep dive into over the past year or so is students’ sense of belonging. We know that one of the greatest factors in whether students stay in college and graduate is, do they feel like they belong on campus? Do they feel welcome? Do they feel supported as an individual? And to that end, I have one of my colleagues joining me today, who you’ll know if you’re a long-time listener of the podcast, Meacie Fairfax. Hi Meacie.

0:02:06.3 Meacie Fairfax: Hey, good morning. Great to be here with you and to share the mic.

0:02:09.3 AS: I’m here with Meacie today because she’s been taking a deep dive on one of those elements of student sense of belonging, which is students’ trust in institutions, faculty and staff. And in particular, Meacie’s been taking a look at the role that technology can play in help building… Helping to build trust between students and institutions. Meacie, can you tell us a bit about what we’ve been seeing in the data around student trust?

0:02:33.5 MF: Yeah, absolutely. Again, it’s interesting when we’re thinking about levels of trust, and trust is underpinned by sense of belonging. So as we’re thinking about making sure that students connect with our services especially in the midst on the pandemic, we wanna make sure that students have a sense of trust to reach out and to have those connections with college personnel or college agents. So as we’re talking about whether that’s faculty, that’s advisors, support staff and other mental health counselors, etcetera. But what we do know and what we found and continue to find is that trust is highly contextual. So that basically means that essentially across race, gender, and other identities, we’re finding that students have lower levels of trust. Now, this is concerning because when we’re thinking about students wanting to have a bit of efficacy and advocating for themselves. If that sense of belonging as a trust is not there, it makes them even more hesitant to want to reach out, especially when they’re in a very, very vulnerable position. So as Alexa mentioned, I’ve been looking at this for some time and because I do a lot of work to support the technologies and our student success technologies, I wanted to look at how we could create or if there was a way that we create and foster those deeper connections through the use of tech.

0:03:56.5 MF: And so one of the things I wanted to kinda bring up here though, is that… And I think as a pause for people who are listening on the line is that we’re basically asking our students to trust us and to trust that we have their best interests in mind. This is all amidst a backdrop of a lot of things that are happening on campus, where students are still feeling micro-aggressions and validations, gas lighting about incidences that are happening on campus, and so that’s really a lot to ask of the student to come in, especially when they’re not in a really good place to ask and to ask for that support or to seek out that support. And so one of the things I wanted to bring up, which I think is really, really interesting in terms of what has been going on here, is even just thinking about how we get a sense of how students were doing across campus or campus climate… Campus climate assessments, quite honestly. Nancy who does a survey engagement… And I think it was back in 2020, had actually added into their survey belongingness indicators, which just tells you the degree to which so many of our diverse student population.

0:05:02.4 MF: So we mentioned and talked about race, but we’re talking about part-time students, we’re talking about student parents, we’re talking about international students, we’re talking about a whole host of student identities who are not feeling supported and not feeling as if they can reach out to really get the support that they need on campus.

0:05:19.6 AS: Yeah, exactly that idea of the trust gap that Nancy really highlighted in their research. I think it’s a really concerning topic when the institution needs to pay more attention to. And one of the things that we found in the student sense of belonging research is that a lot of students’ interactions with campus services can feel really inter-personal and the students don’t really necessarily feel like they have an individual connection with someone on campus, whether that’s another student appeared, whether that’s an advisor or another staff member or faculty member on campus. Meacie, why do you think it’s so hard to build connections with students? Those deeper connections, and what do you think institutions can do to better reach students as individuals?

0:06:00.6 MF: Well. I think what’s hard, especially as we’re thinking about the historically excluded identities, these marginalized student groups, is that we’ve never really done a good job of making those connections or making those connections easy for our students.

0:06:12.9 AS: Yeah.

0:06:13.4 MF: So as we think about where the majority of a lot of the interactions take place, we think about within the college classroom, and we think about our faculty. We’ve had conversations about this before. The majority of our faculty are majority white. The majority of our faculty when they gravitate towards students to give them these opportunities for… We talk about high impact practices, we talk about this kind of extracurricular learning and mentorship, it tends to be those students who are doing very well. The students who tend to do very well, typically don’t have issues with sense of belonging because we know that that impacts their academic success. And so we see this furthering of the connections that do happen tend to mirror the identities of the faculty and the support staff and others who are majority white at a lot of these primarily white institutions.

0:07:10.8 MF: The other thing I would say as well, is that we haven’t really built in a system or even a way for students to connect. I think now we’re getting better at doing that. And so I’ll talk about briefly a few other things that I know a lot of campus leaders have done over the last year or so in the midst of the pandemic. We’re talking about virtual communities, we’re talking about study buddies, which is through our Navigate technology in terms of connecting with your peers. We’re talking about ways that… Now they have ways to submit or self-submit ways through various technologies to get those connections. But it was never really easy and it was always kind of the nine to five typical Office Hours. It wasn’t the 24/7 or… Even some of these AI chat bots if we’re thinking of people having a way to interact and have questions at various times, and at various stages, when we’re talking about acute needs and chronic needs.

0:08:07.8 MF: So I think those are part of the ways that they’re trying to get there. But there’s also one thing I do wanna talk about in terms of technology, and it’s about our advising technologies. When we think about early alert systems, which have been around for over 20 years… Close to 20 years, they have been and continue to be a very critical part of the student success strategy at many colleges and universities. And so here at EAB, this is where I went really deep. It’s like, “Okay. Well, how well are they working?” And not the technology itself but the early alerts, ’cause we know this is where when students need support, faculty, support staff, many other individuals and actors across the campus can reach out and let us know and… Well, I say let us know, I take this very personally. But let these support services know that the student has been flagged for a concern, anywhere from basic needs, academic concerns, financial struggles, and even mental health issues. So flagging these concerns has always been important. But what’s even important to note about this is that when these early alert systems first came on, we did it because we wanted to move away from demographically flagging these students, because we knew we were going about it wrong.

0:09:27.1 MF: I grew up in the ’90s… Grew up in the… Well grew up in the ’90s… I went to college in the ’90s, and I remember going to my first institution and they said, “Well, because you’re a black student, you probably need this, you probably need this, you probably need this, you probably need that.” I needed some of those, I was mid income. My parents were blue-collar, I was first-gen. But there was a lot of assumptions that they placed on me, and I never even knew that label of first gen. And so that also was ways in which… When we’re trying to support our students that then can be harmful. So as these early alert systems went from being… Went to look at academic and engagement factors of ways to provide that support, then we saw that this was really… Folks were really getting excited because quite honestly, at this point, I think we have… The statistics now are like 80-93% of colleges, it’s really rare if you don’t have some kind of early alert or intervention system, are using this.

0:10:24.5 MF: Now, this is great because this is a tool that catches students where we know that they need the support, but what I was interested in was trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with these systems. And so when taking a deeper look of… It was one of those ones like, what happens to 100 flags essentially or when we raise these alerts with students, what happens with them? Well, if you would have said this about five years ago, Inside Higher Ed had a really good article where they’re talking about alerts, “Early alerts, excuse me, is a mixed bag.” And there’s a lot of reason to say that because we could not necessarily get that faculty buy-in, we could not get staff buy-in to put those alerts through… To put those proactive alerts through.

0:11:06.6 MF: Now, fast forward to where we are at 2022. That’s not really a concern. We’re not saying, they have done the job and they put those alerts in there, but how well are we actually with… How well are we doing with actually responding to the students, getting them connected to the services and further supporting them? ‘Cause at the onset, you talked about the graduation rates, the student outcomes. And we know that it’s disproportionately significantly higher for many of these marginalized identities. And so that was part of the reason too, where I was like, “Okay, we have the assistance in place, how well are we actually doing at this moment?”

0:11:43.2 AS: Yeah, and we see that’s such a powerful point about those assumptions that institutions tend to make about their students based on who they are, where they come from. I wanna come back to that in a bit, the idea of one-size-fits-all assumptions rather than looking at the student as an individual. But let’s dig into the data a little bit. If we did disaggregate data on early alerts, who receives them, what happens next? Do you think that we would see disparities there? For example, would we see faculty and staff not really submitting alerts on students of color at all?

0:12:13.8 MF: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Well, before I answer that though let me back up a little bit and to give a little bit of additional information about how we’re even doing with alerts overall. ‘Cause this will give the broader scheme. The reality is, is that of say 100 flags that we put out there, there is about 50% of them, we never outreach to any student, that’s horrifying. That might be partly… And partly what that may be is as we’re looking at that data, that might be part of something that’s like a quality assurance issue, you’re not closing it, you’re not closing the loop, you haven’t… You’re just not capturing the data. So that’s something where we’re like, “Okay, that’s something for another conversation in terms of how to take care of that on your campus.” I think what’s concerning for us, that we talk about these two other groups, there’s outreach, and then there’s interaction. And what we see when there’s outreach and there’s interaction, there’s almost a 10% increase in the retention rate of these students when they meet with an individual.

0:13:17.5 MF: Now this plays out, and we know this goes along with the data that we saw last year when one of our data scientists went and said, “What’s the impact of advising intervention?” And we saw that was significant across all student groups. And so seeing that… Was very happy to see that. It was a validation of that these efforts are helping. But what was concerning, and this is the third group I wanna talk about a little bit more, is that there was an outreach but there was no response. And so those students tend to have about… Probably about eight or seven percent decrease of retention from that baseline. And so it’s to say… Not that they were putting a correlation there, but there’s something to be said about what could have been the effect of this alert that was received by that student, but yet they still did not come in for help and they weren’t retained… They were retained at lower rates?

0:14:06.9 MF: And so going back to your original question to talk about this aggregation. So this is a good part of that. So how are we doing? Whom are we serving? Who is benefiting? Who might be getting harmed? And those are the questions that I went in with looking at this data set. And so what we found, and we’re talking about colleges. So we’re talking about community colleges, four year colleges, private, regional, public. This data set contains the whole range of institutions across higher ed. And what we found was a bit concerning. What we found is that disproportionately, students of color received the vast majority of alerts. So when we’re thinking about… We had two institutions we looked at that. When we looked at it, it was sometimes two times 2x. Two times in terms of the alerts that if you were black or multi-racial, in some instances, you could receive one or one and a half times the amount of alerts. And it varied across the institutions. But it was very telling in terms of what the cost is, especially as we’re looking to actualize equity on our campuses, this technology can and should be a part of that work.

0:15:18.9 AS: Yeah. First of all, that statistically says a lot. And it’s kind of surprising to me too ’cause it sounds like if things were working correctly, you would see faculty or staff raising an alert on a student, they would meet with their advisor, they would get access to support and that kind of moves them on to our retention and graduation. It sounds like the break in the pipeline isn’t that students are completely falling through the cracks. They’re not never receiving an alert, but there’s a break somewhere else in the pipeline. So if you were to reflect on that, what do you think is getting in the way of building those connections with students? Particularly with the students of color. And maybe why has tech not necessarily been of a help to us as much as we hoped to have?

0:16:00.8 MF: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s underneath the tech, there is the people and the process. And it’s like if you have not changed and took a look to do some of the work there, you’re more than likely mirroring the inequities that are happening on campus. So one of the things I think is really important to think about as we’re talking about the connection and wanting to build greater connections on students and wanting to actualize equity in our campuses is, are we setting out consistent messaging? What are we actually saying as we’re doing this outreach? One of the things we’re… As I was digging a little bit further into this was looking at… Well, you’re saying one thing that you would help me, but when I actually get this email from you, I feel judged, [chuckle] I feel in some ways belittled, I feel harmed and I’m unsure of if you think I can turn this around or if you were just kinda… Am I getting calls from the principal’s office in some way? It feels very punitive and it doesn’t feel good.

0:17:00.2 MF: And so what we found is that the language, the words… That the language that you use has significant impact, and so we really… Across the board, a lot of institutions haven’t spent the time to really reflect on and take a look at the messaging, the messenger, and then the follow-up. And so those are things we could talk a little further, but it really is about… As we’re thinking about that early alert and we’re thinking about getting those students supported, we just haven’t made changes. We’re doing what we’ve always done for all students, and we know that it has to be tailored, we have to tailor our support and our services for our student populations.

0:17:39.9 AS: Yeah. Words matter, absolutely. And that’s what we find in the best practice research too, which is that institutions often don’t use that asset-based or asset focus communication. So we are really thinking about what did the students do wrong? What are the consequences as opposed to… This is great, we’ve identified a student who’s in need of support. We have resources that can help them. Other students have faced this before too. Is that idea of normalizing some of the struggles that students face when they go to college? And which builds academic self-efforts, which we’ve been talking about so much throughout this whole conversation. You also mentioned something that I think has really been a theme today, which is that idea of individualizing or personalizing the messages. And you talked about when you were a student, your experiences kind of being treated as a statistic rather than as an individual person with an individual collection of experiences. And that can really hurt as a student. They have the student feel like they’re not welcome or they haven’t really been seen as an individual on campus. So if you think about the advice that academic leaders and student success leaders should take away, what can they do to better serve students as individuals?

0:18:49.0 MF: Well, there is a number of things that they can do. But before we go there, I wanna talk… I wanna back up just a little bit, to talk about the overall campus conversation that these campuses should have. Because there’s almost… There’s a speeding to get to equity. [chuckle] And equity is this longer kind of ongoing journey that we will all deal with together as we see the needs of our suit populations change, ebb and flow as the circumstances change. We know that we will, in higher education, have to do some changes as what has affected the K through 12 comes up to higher ED in the next decade or so. So there’s something that really… I wanna get to the strategies in terms of what folks could do, but there is also this broader conversation that we need to have. Because my sense is students, in sense of belonging, and we have talked about in some way and there’s plenty of research that supports it. But the conversation, the larger campus conversation of having it, hasn’t been one that we really widely and broadly had.

0:19:57.1 MF: And that I think that is… Until we have that conversation, then the doing that we do will naturally show that we’re not just checking the box in equity, but we’re doing equity. We’re doing it every day in our actions. And our students will feel that. So getting back to when we talk about the different variables that come back into how students think and feel and act. And I say this because there’s so many students at this point who in isolation are trying to figure out whether they’re gonna pause, or completely stop their academic studies. And I wanna make this a crucial moment as folks are listening here that this is very impactful. It’s impactful for that student, it’s impactful for their family, it’s impactful for their communities, and it’s impactful broadly for our society.

0:20:45.8 AS: Absolutely.

0:20:47.5 MF: And that’s the thing. We wanna talk about the guidance of an Advisor or Faculty Staff, we talk about them wanting to make those connections, but what is that in terms of the… How they can foster that sense of belonging and how they can open the door to having these conversations with their students in a way that they never did. I was in a Webinar a couple of weeks ago, and someone said, “Well, my Faculty tend to want to say things in a very neutral tone.” Or ” Want to say things in a certain way.” And I said, “Well, that’s fine.” But what they also have to realize is this persuasive technique, speaking to different audiences, tailing for different students, what that looks like, and how to cultivate that sense of belonging for students in the classroom.

0:21:32.8 AS: Exactly.

0:21:33.5 MF: Because what we see as this norms have really been about the White way of doing things, which I think that… And that’s okay. We just have to admit it. And then we can move forward with making it a broader… Most broader perspective on how to support student success for our Black, our Latino, our Latin X, our Native, our Asian students, our Non-Binary students. The list goes on and on. And the further we open that door and that conversation we are ensuring that students can meet their academic endeavors, we can meet them with a psychological need for safety and belonging and… Before we ask them to focus on academics. And that’s the other key piece about this too, that I’ll talk about in a second. But that’s the other part about this. As folks are thinking about the use of the technologies they have on campus already, and that’s like the broader message.

0:22:27.1 MF: 93% of you have this technology on your campus, and this should actually be an equity tool. Take a look at your alerts, disaggregate it, see who’s benefiting and who’s not, see how that messaging is working for the students or not. Figure out and have a conversation, get that student’s feedback to figure out what’s going on. Now, I got a little bit excited there, I started talking about and giving some suggestions there, so I’m more formally gonna put that out there. But the reality is there’s such a great potential for these tools to work, but what it is, is the individuals… And it’s what that tool is… The tool will be used in the way that the person who wields it uses it.

0:23:08.6 AS: Right.

0:23:09.3 MF: And so that’s really… The cracks of the conversation is that as we think about this Equity Training, these Anti-Bias Trainings, all of these things, we have found that our College Advisors and others have not been able to put that into action. We’re still kind of doing and seeing a little bit of the status quo. But the one thing I wanna talk about… I talked a little bit about the message, I wanna talk about the messenger. So as we’re thinking about those who are wanting to or reaching out on our student’s behalf on whatnot… There was this report from New America about student trust, and they talked about… They did a number of surveys with the students. And students said, “You know what, we’re okay with a couple of different messengers, but what we want to make sure is that whoever is sending that message is who can actually offer us the support.” And I think this was even in your research. There shouldn’t be multiple points of contact.

0:24:04.0 AS: Right.

0:24:04.8 MF: Find this one individual who can support and shepherd the student through versus what we have seen in previous years about the shuffle.

0:24:12.8 AS: Right. We’ve seen some institutions set up something like a Student Ombudsperson. So it really is a single central point of contact. Students just have one place they need to go, and that can be replicated by technology too. So for example, when you log onto your institution’s website, you have to click into lots of different sub-menus to find the thing that you have a question about. Or is there just somewhere that says, “Do you have a question? Contact this person”, and there is kind of one… Again, one single point of contact or one-stop shop, somewhere students can go to resolve all of those questions and issues. I think that’s actually a really interesting place where technology plays an important role too. This technology can bridge the gaps and connect all of these different offices and services when they’re maybe not necessarily formally connected in the org charts.

0:24:57.5 MF: Absolutely.

0:25:00.6 AS: I don’t know if you have any additional thoughts on that, given your research in technology.

0:25:01.8 MF: Well, and I think that’s absolutely right. I love that last part, because what we found is that coordinated care has to be the norm. And that coordinated care has to be those offices. I can’t say, “Oh, student XYZ has a financial issue, has academic issue.” We need that coordination across, so we’re not running around and making that student retell their story each and every time, more than likely.

0:25:24.0 AS: Exactly.

0:25:25.3 MF: Yeah, more than likely. That student will say, “This is actually more stressful in it of itself.” And will stop that process of getting that support.

0:25:33.8 AS: Yeah, exactly. Particularly when students are dealing with multiple factors, multiple barriers to their success, a lot of these things are tough to talk about. If it’s not just that they’re struggling academically and they’re not sure if that’s normal, but they’re also struggling to get food or housing something like that. It can be really hard to talk about because there’s still so much stigmatization in our society. So not making students go through that kind of traumatic experience of having to talk through that story again and again and again, I think that’s really important to helping them again feel that sense of a welcome-ness on campus and then feel like they’re recognized as an individual.

0:26:09.5 MF: Exactly, and that’s why the trust piece is still important. Just bring it full circle around. So one day we saw that survey, we found out like how the students feel and who did they trust, what College Personnel do they trust. Well we found the least… The people they trust the least are actually their peers, which is interesting. As people have done a lot of Peer Programs. So that’s another… That’s another place for folks who are listening on the line to say who is… Who exactly is benefiting from these Peer Programs? Or have them set them up in such a way that there is a diverse perspective and group of students who are actually supporting and can be supportive to various student identities.

0:26:47.1 MF: And then the other thing I would say too, is that when we saw that… The survey data there as well, we also saw that faculty advisers were the most trusted on campus, which is great. They engender their trust, they have multiple interactions with them, so how can we more broadly, build that out. And so that’s the other part, when we’re thinking about these strategies and what to do, we know that trust is earned through positive… Through interactions and positive relationships, and we wanna make sure that students feel they’re connecting with someone they already know, or they can have that introduction with that individual to start that. So I do wanna go in and talk about… Now, as you were saying earlier about ways that we can better serve students, and so I touched on a couple of them earlier. But the one is… It’s just kind of like pre-wiring… One of the things is about pre-wiring your students. ‘Cause one of the things I talked about is, are we getting the cold shoulder from students? Or we cold calling them? Are they knowing that we’re doing this on their behalf? And I think this is definitely a lot of conversation that’s happening out there.

0:27:51.2 MF: I just saw the Washington Post article about George Washington University. They had some data analytics; they were collecting density and proximity of students. But as we’re thinking about the use of our student data, we wanna make sure that we’re so transparent, especially with those who don’t have a bit of distrust with us about how we’re using that information. And so, one of the things I really loved about the practices that some of our campuses were doing, they’re trying to be transparent and provide that support upfront. Is like how Poly Pomona and University of Milwaukee, which is one of our moonshot schools put in these syllabi blurbs. Where it was about resources that they come up, when progress… Are you not doing well in class? I will put through those alerts just so you’re aware of it, and it’ll come up, they have a conversation about it in class, but then they also share that on their syllabi and then also on their LMS system.

0:28:45.8 AS: Yeah, and I love that practice of putting those resources right there in the syllabus, so again, because it can be so stressful and nerve wrecking for a student to ask for help. They don’t have to ask for help directly, they already see in the syllabus, here’s where the resource is, this is the person that you need to go to.

0:29:01.3 MF: Absolutely. And then it’s one of those things too where we talk about what’s the free wiring of the expectation of what it means to have a connection or have a conversation about academic concern. One of the practices that… I do have an upcoming… White paper coming up. Is about Catholic University. Catholic University talks about the way that they actually pre-wire and build rapport into their initial conversations with their students. Now, this is an academic coaches, so a little bit more specialized in advisors, but they knew that when they were thinking about these alerts and going back to when I was talking about students outreach, no interaction, they knew that this students won’t respond to just that one-off messaging. And so they want to make sure that students were reaching out one-on-one, having this conversation, give them a call, following up multiple times, that’s a given part too. It’s not just one time, it’s two times, three times, four times, however many times to get in contact with a student because you know they’re in a stressful situation. But then it’s also humanizing it too. What I love about the practice of Catholic was that they were very much about, I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve been there.

0:30:11.7 MF: And they would also talk about that with them. This is what I could help you with… What’s in it for me? This is what I can help you with as a student with, these are some of the building blocks, so that’s gonna help you with. And it goes along with that kind of learning and development theory that we know in terms of how we’re… These are still young students.

0:30:30.0 AS: Right.

0:30:31.0 MF: And maybe all these are individuals who, depending on their age have never gone through this process before. So we wanna make sure that we’re breaking down that in the curriculum. We’re having conversations with the expectations of the normalization of a lot of the challenges that happen on college campuses.

0:30:47.0 AS: We see that’s actually really similar to a couple of other practices I’ve heard. Institutions like the University of the District of Columbia and Central Michigan University, where they’ve leveraged peers to reach out to students who, for example, didn’t register for the next term, and I think it’s important. Coming back to that really interesting stat you found that students are less likely to trust their peers, these are trained peers. They’ve been given the resources to help build trust with the students that they’re serving as kind of an informal peer mentor to. And we have seen some of those relationships develop into deeper mentorship connections. Meacie, are there other ways that you’ve seen institutions leverage students or peer connections, to really support sense of belonging and trust?

0:31:26.9 MF: Yeah. Absolutely. So even… I’m gonna pull up with Cal Poly Pomona again, because they’ve also realized that there’s relationships that their students have already across student groups and across multi-cultural offices and other parts across campus. And so whenever they receive, the Advising team receives an alert when someone’s a part of that group, they will reach out, let that group know so that they can reach out on their behalf. Those are individuals who are well trusted, they have established relationships and that allows them to further develop and further take care of and coordinate that care with the students, which I think is admirable. As we’re thinking about making sure that our students all have a safe space, a safe conversation, and just a safe ability of… Have safety and their ability to disclose and share what’s going on with them without fear of stigmatizing or potential other repercussions.

0:32:26.8 AS: Yeah. Absolutely.

0:32:28.6 MF: And then the other thing I would say too… This is the other part about thinking about what it looks like is, be there when it counts. So we know that the students they’re in a vulnerable position, but if we are not following up on the bulk of these early alerts, and we’re just leaving our students out there, what does that do in terms of that trust and that sense of belonging that is already eroding our student’s idea that they should even still be on campus. And so, when I think about that, I think again about the automation of processes that some of our campus partners have done to make sure that no matter what the need, somewhat you get in all a quick automated response. It gets escalated. Then from there, there’s a staff response to make sure the follow-up. Then from there is a care unit response, if it’s appropriate. But there’s multiple levels of accountability and care built in to make sure… And then coordination across multiple departments to make sure that no one falls through that crack. And I think that’s another part about it. We know that we can’t always be there for our students, but to be there when it matters the most is instrumental to make sure that we can help them to continue on their academic journey.

0:33:42.4 AS: Absolutely. And I know our time is up, but that’s such a great point to end on the idea of being there when it matters the most. So I think, if there’s one thing for everyone who’s listening in to take away, is that. Well, thank you to everyone who did tune in today. Thanks, Meacie for a really great first experience on the podcast. I hope everyone has a great rest of their week.

0:34:03.3 MF: Thank you, Alexa. Everyone, have a great day.


0:34:12.2 S1: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week when we’re joined by the president of NACAC, who will talk to EAB’s Dean of enrollment management about closing equity gaps in terms of college access and graduation rates. Until next week. Thank you for your time.

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