Just as instructors determine academic standards and evaluate student performance accordingly, it is recommended that instructors determine social conduct standards for the classroom (no cell phones, sleeping, etc). For courses with online components, expectations regarding electronic communications should also be established.
These expectations should be clearly explained in the syllabus and also reference the Student Code of Conduct. This not only sends a message to potentially disruptive students but also communicates to all other students that the instructor will ensure a classroom environment free from disruption.
It is important for instructors to address undesirable behaviors immediately. This will prevent the perception that the behavior is acceptable maintain a calm and positive learning environment for both faculty and students.
Step 1: Issue a verbal warning to the student. Make sure the student understands the issue and that failure to correct the behavior will result in a written warning. For documentation purposes, the instructor should follow-up with an email to the student’s VOLMail account restating the issue discussed in the verbal warning. This would also be a good opportunity to suggest possible resources, if appropriate, such as counseling or tutoring.
Step 2: If the verbal warning does not remedy the situation and the inappropriate behavior continues the instructor should:
Step 3: If the situation persists and the inappropriate behavior continues:
NOTE: Instructors may direct a disruptive student to leave for the remainder of a class period. Longer suspensions or involuntary withdrawals require further disciplinary action through the student disciplinary process. Instructor documentation of the issues and steps taken to address the student are critical in the process.
Instructors should not meet alone with a student who may be a threat to their personal safety. Instead of asking to meet after class, instructors should schedule a specific appointment so that they have time to prepare for the meeting. Instructors should call a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) for consultation prior to the meeting and, if needed, ask the member to attend the meeting. They should also alert the Assistant Provost for Instruction or Student Affairs of the situation.
If a staff member suspects that a student is suffering from depression or anxiety, they should express their concern to the student and refer them to the Student Success Center for counseling services. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to approach the student or what to say to a student who appears to be in distress.