Division of Student Affairs > Resources > Faculty & Staff > Common Faculty Questions > Student Behavior

Student Behavior

We all share the responsibility to address student concerns at the earliest and lowest level possible. As soon as you notice or become aware of a behavioral concern (i.e showing up late, texting during class) speak directly with the student and reiterate expectations for behavior.

Approach the conversation from a caring perspective while describing how their behavior impedes the teaching and learning environment. The Dean of Students Office is available for consultation on student-specific concerns. You may also refer the student to the Dean of Students Office directly through go.depaul.edu/dos “report a concern.” The Dean of Students Office may meet with the student and discuss the best resources for the particular situation. The office will make referrals to other campus departments including University Counseling and Psychological Services (UCAPS) and the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD). Additional resources for faculty are available on the Dean of Students Office website under “resources.”

Students can speak to a mental health clinician 24/7 by dialing 773-325-CARE (2273), select option #1 or schedule a consultation by dialing 773-325-CARE, select option #2. Keep in mind that some students may reject your efforts, deny all troubles, and/or feel intruded upon. On the other hand, they might feel appreciative of your interest and concern, and your contact with them might be an important step toward their dealing with their problems. Learn more about University Counseling and Psychological Services.

The Dean of Students Office has academic processes, including an administrative withdrawal process and absence notifications, to assist students who are facing significant personal circumstances that affect their ability to be academically successful. The Dean of Students Office will also provide the student with appropriate campus and community resources.

Visit go.depaul.edu/studentservices for information on counseling, health and wellness, peer support and other resources.

It is generally more helpful to comment on a student’s observable behavior and avoid diagnostic labeling. Attempt to:

  • Establish a supportive relationship with the student.
  • Check-in with them in a direct and empathic manner and see what the student is willing to share. Students who tell you directly that they are emotionally distressed and have been unable to resolve their concerns on their own may be reaching out for help and ready to accept it. In this case, you should feel comfortable referring the student to University Counseling and Psychological Services or the Dean of Students Office. Additionally, the Dean of Students Office can confer with faculty on the most appropriate next steps for the student depending on the situation.

The situation is more difficult when students do not confide in you directly, but when you infer from their behavior that they are emotionally distressed. Depending on the particulars of the situation, you may or may not choose to approach the student. The decision depends on such factors as:

  • What specific behaviors of the student are of concern
  • How troubled the student seems to be
  • Your relationship with the student
  • How approachable the student is
  • Your personality style and your feelings about intervening

The most appropriate response to students who disclose their personal concerns to you is to:

  • Listen.
  • Empathize with their feelings and be genuinely supportive.
  • Keep your own limits in mind; do not get more involved in the student’s life than is comfortable or appropriate for you (in terms of how long the conversations continue, how frequently personal conversations occur, when and where they take place, and how much is expected of you).

For students who seem to need more than you are able or willing to provide, or if professional counseling seems necessary, refer the student to UCAPS for an initial consultation and individual brief counseling or a referral. Tell the student that these services exist to provide confidential assistance to students managing problems like theirs. 

While it is important to respect the student’s privacy, faculty or staff members are not bound by professional standards of confidentiality, as are licenced clinicians. There are times when it is appropriate and necessary to discuss concerns and observations about a troubled student with others who might be helpful. For example, Title IX requires that when an individual who is a "responsible employee" learns of sex discrimination, including harrassment and sexual or relationship violence, the responsible employee must promptly report specific information, including the identity of the reporting student to DePaul's Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate designees. This may be done via an email to the Title IX office, titleixcoordinator@depaul.edu, or through the system used by that office for receiving reports.

With the limited exception of confidential reporting resources listed, all university employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator all details about any sexual harassment and/or misconduct incidents of which they become aware. More information about reporting can be found on the Title IX resource page.

Should a student disclose other personal or medical circumstances to you, it is important to provide them with information about campus resources including University Counseling Services. You may also refer the student to the Dean of Students Office directly through go.depaul.edu/dos report a concern.

If a member of the DePaul community has shared information with you related to sexual or relationship violence, please refer to this Step by Step Faculty and Employee Guide.

If there is any question of imminent risk (an emergency situation), or if you become aware of a student who is more than simply distressed and upset but is out of control, violent, and/or is suicidal or homicidal, then immediate intervention is needed.

If the situation is an emergency, call 911 and then Public Safety at (773) 325-7777 for the Lincoln Park Campus or (312) 362-8400 for the Loop Campus. If it is a non-life-threatening situation, attempt to get the student to the Dean of Students Office or University Counseling and Psychological Services (UCAPS). If the student refuses to go, call the Dean of Students Office or UCAPS to consult with a staff member about what else can be done. You can make a report of the situation to the Dean of Students Office directly through go.depaul.edu/dos under report a concern.

Talk about your concerns with the student and focus on observable behavior (tardiness, slurred speech, cognitive impairment or other behaviors that interfere with new learning ability and may be suggestive of overusing substances or medications). Remind the student of the resources that are available at the counseling center. 

Assessments about use and abuse of medications are very difficult to make, so feel free to call University Counseling and Psychological Services (UCAPS) at 773-325-CARE (2273) option #1 for after hours or option #2 during regular business hours, or the substance misuse prevention specialist in the office of Health Promotion and Wellness at (773) 325-4550 to consult with a counselor.