Dr. Erin Fisher’s first posts in the ATLE blog series, “Reducing Stress in the Learning Environment,” introduced us to the research that explains “How Learning Occurs” and “How Stress Impacts Learning (and Teaching!)”. Today we turn to the very practical issue of how we connect our stressed-out students to the resources they need to support their learning.
Oftentimes, as faculty members we are the first people our students turn to when they run into obstacles. Whether those obstacles arise within our classrooms or come along with the student from their off-campus lives, we have a remarkable opportunity to intervene and point students in the right direction.
If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself speaking with a student about an issue and respond with something like, “I know there’s a program on campus that addresses this, but I’m not sure who to contact…..”. On my best days, I pull out my phone or turn to the classroom computer and dig up the information. On my less-than-best days, I direct the student to the Student Center hoping someone there will funnel the student appropriately.
To make such interactions more functional, the ATLE has curated a list of common resources to which we often direct our students and put that list in an easy-to-find place. The next time you find yourself in this situation, simply Log into EAGLE, click “Help” at the bottom of the left navigation pane, and then, “RVC Resources.” You’ll be taken to a list inside of EAGLE to which everyone has access.
We’ve organized the links into four groups: Community Resources, Academic Resources, Personal Resources, and Technological Resources. There are a lot of useful links here, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what’s listed. I’ll highlight a few.
The two links in the Community Resources module are both straightforward means of accessing a whole host of community resources. The first link is a description of the United Way’s 2-1-1 telephone service. You may recall from January Development Day that Linda Sandquist, VP of the United Way of the Rock River Valley, discussed how the 2-1-1 service is a one-stop shop for students to get immediate connections to local social service agencies. Essentially, it’s the 9-1-1 for non-emergency social service needs.
The second link is to a PDF booklet of Social Service Organizations put together by RVC’s Student Services. In it you’ll find a listing of social service organizations in our community, organized by categories such as Medical Services, Homeless Services, Financial Assistance, and Nourishment. Both of these resources are access points to many other key service providers in our area.
In the Technical Resources module there are two links to often-overlooked campus resources. The first is the RVC Laptop Rental Program; our students who do not have a home computer or laptop are able to rent a laptop for $50/semester. The second points to instructions on how students can download a free copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office.
The other modules collect other commonly used RVC services like the Tutoring Center, Disability Support Services, Academic Advising, and so on. P.A.I.C., Safe Zones, and the recently created RVC Food Pantry are all there too.
It’s our hope that making these links to resources more readily available to you and our students will help us in our unofficial roles triaging student’s social needs. If you think we’ve overlooked a key service, please email me direct (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can update it immediately.
– Dr. Mathew Oakes has taught Composition and Literature at Rock Valley College since 2010.