From the contacts faculty make to the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) and Dean of Students Office, we know how invested you are in our students’ wellbeing. Research backs up our common sense in knowing that professors make a huge difference to students’ success in a number of ways:
- Personal connection with faculty members leads to higher student satisfaction and sense of belonging at the University.
- Having a supportive professor or adviser leads to higher retention.
- Faculty are on the front lines in being able to identify a student in distress and refer them for help.
Planning Your Syllabus and Your Course
There are also some practical steps you can take in designing your syllabus that will contribute to students’ wellbeing. Consider…
- Making assignments due at 5 p.m.
- Assignments due in the morning encourage students to "pull an all-nighter" and contribute to disrupted sleep, which contributes to poor mental and physical health.
- Not grading on a curve.
- Grading on a curve encourages competition and decreases healthy collaboration among peers.
- Being flexible with grading and deadlines.
- Drop the lowest grade; lay out the process to request an extension; remove shame for students who hit a rough spot.
- Give students the benefit of the doubt.
- Including mental health resources on your syllabus.
- Remove any stigma and note that taking care of one's mental health is likely to have a positive impact on learning and academics.
Students in class may exhibit signs which cause concern with faculty members. If you are concerned about one of your students, the following resources may help you to decide what is the best course of action.
Responding To Disruptive Students
Professors set the expectations for classroom behavior. Speak to the student privately to address his/her actions which fail to meet those expectations. If the behavior continues, consult with your Academic Dean and consider referring the student for administrative action to the Dean of Students office (973) 761-9076.
We can also provide any department/school or interested group of faculty with an interactive workshop on how to prevent and respond to a wide variety of student disruptions and disruptive behavior. We'll even provide the refreshments!
Tips for Addressing Disruptive Behavior
- Clearly outline expectations, including non-acceptable behavior in the syllabus.
- Remind the class of your expectations throughout the semester and before a certain behavior or problem escalates.
- Avoid singling out a student in class; a general warning or observation to the class may effectively stop the behavior.
These resources are helpful especially for new faculty members for classroom management tips. These may also help you to recognize signs of distress in your students quickly and efficiently.
- Faculty Checklist: Steps to Respond to Classroom Incivility
- Practical Solutions for Problematic Classroom Behaviors
- Effective Classroom Management – Higher Ed Teaching Strategies
Responding to Disruptive Students in One-on-One Situations