The first Supporting Students at Risk Seminar for FASS was held on 18 March 2010 at the Central Library, in conjunction with the inaugural exhibition by The Society of Social Work on the theme: “Trapped by Situations, Freed by Your Actions”.
On one hand, the exhibition highlighted the concerns and challenges faced by the disabled, the mentally challenged and victims of abuse within the family setting. It consisted of a static display of artworks and posters, a series of movie screenings, talks, workshops and interactive sessions. On the other, the seminar addressed concerns frontline staff may have in identifying and referring students at risk within the faculty and university.
Indeed, coping with university life and studies can be a trying and stressful time for some students. Frontline staff who are in frequent contact with such students are in an excellent position to render help as early as possible.
Dr. Rosaleen Ow, Department of Social work, said, “The seminar was helpful in knowing exactly how and when we could engage Counselling and Psychological Services (CPS). Although trained in social work, we need to be clear about the boundaries between academic support and providing counselling services to students, to avoid possible conflict of interest and biases in grading and appraisal. The seminar provided avenues for discussing actual scenarios, and useful tips on how to link students with varying degrees of social-emotional needs to CPS.”
Representatives from four departments attended the seminar. They were: Social Work, Japanese Studies, Philosophy and Southeast Asian Studies.
The seminar covered the following areas:
- Emphasising the relevance of being aware of and responding to students who are potentially at risk
- Clarifying key risk indicators
- Outlining how a staff member can respond to such students
- Knowing where one can seek assistance within and outside the university
- Highlighting the need for self-care
“I found the seminar very interactive and useful for frontline staff in identifying and responding to students at risk. I would highly recommend the seminar to my colleagues,” said Ms Anjana, Department of Philosophy, who felt better equipped in assisting students at risk after the seminar.
If you would like to us to organise a customised seminar on Supporting Students at Risk for your department, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 65167274.
– By Ignatius Pang, FASS Student Support