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Resources for Faculty & Staff
Faculty, staff and administrators are often the first people to notice when a student appears to be in distress. In these situations, it can be very hard to know what might help the student, and to find the right balance between offering assistance and supporting a student’s privacy and autonomy. Likewise, it can be difficult to tell, and to know what to do, when a student’s distress poses a safety risk.
In some cases, it may make sense for a faculty member, staff member, or administrator to refer the student to Counseling Services. How a faculty or staff member makes this referral will depend on the situation. Most often, faculty/staff refer to Counseling Services by initiating a private conversation with the student, noting concern about the student, recommending that the student might benefit from counseling, and giving the student contact information for CUNY SPS Counseling Services, email Counseling@sps.cuny.edu and phone number 646-664-8647. There may be situations where this method of making a referral does not feel appropriate or possible — in such situations, please call Counseling Services to discuss referral strategies.
When a student contacts Counseling Services, the office will offer the student an Initial Consultation appointment. This appointment is free and confidential (as are all of our services) and most often takes place over the phone, though a student can request an in-person meeting if they wish. In the Initial Consultation, the student will speak with a licensed clinical psychologist about their current situation and history. At the end of this appointment, student and psychologist will together create a plan to address the issues discussed. These plans are individually tailored to the student’s needs and situation, but usually include a combination of immediate strategies, ongoing services through CUNY SPS, and off-campus resources. When off-campus resources are part of a student’s intervention plan, SPS Counseling Services provides ongoing support to the student as they access these services.
It is important to note that seeking a Faculty, Staff and Administrator Consultation about a student is not equivalent to making a formal report of the student’s distressed or disruptive behavior. At SPS (and at most colleges and universities) there are important distinctions between Counseling Services and other services like student conduct and public safety. Often a faculty member, staff member, or administrator will consult with Counseling Services precisely because they are not sure what other campus constituents should be involved in addressing a student’s needs/behavior. Such a consultation is best thought of as brain-storming session aimed to help the faculty member, staff member or administrator balance the needs of the student, the needs of the institution, and their own job role.
Email and Confidentiality
When you email, please remember that email is inherently not a confidential medium. We recommend that you use email to communicate only about scheduling, not to discuss the details of what brings you to seek consultation. Also, please avoid using student names in emails.