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September 2018 Newsletter

News from the Office of Undergraduate Studies

September 2018

From the Dean's Desk

I hope your semester is off to an engaging start! If your teaching experience is anything like mine has been, student engagement in the early weeks of the semester is telling.  Are your students off and running looking for ways to further engage in your course or with the campus community? Are you sensing their academic or personal struggles and wondering how you can support them? Some of our own campus projects and research on student success suggests that the early weeks of the semester can be predictive of their academic success and can create perfect opportunities to provide the timely extra support students are seeking (KuhKinzie, Schuh & Whitt, 2010). With this issue, we hope to direct you to campus resources that can assist you in helping students. 

The Office of Undergraduate Studies, housed within Academic Affairs, works across all four colleges and the library and also works cross-divisionally on campus, most significantly with Student Affairs and Community Engagement.  In this issue, we have reached out to our partners in Student Affairs to highlight your significant role with Cougar Care Network (CCN), CSUSM’s early support initiative to improve student success, retention, and persistence.  This support network works cross-divisionally to support students. If you sense a student is in need of assistance inside or outside of class (Pistilli, 2017), I encourage you to make use of CCN. Faculty and staff will receive acknowledgement of receipt of their referral and additional follow-up will occur as needed or appropriate.  

May you find the resources and suggestions below helpful! 


Dawn M. Formo, Ph.D. 
Dean, Undergraduate Studies 
Divison of Academic Affairs

From our Student Affairs Colleagues: Cougar Care Network & the Dean of Students' Office

Since its inception, Cougar Care Network (CCN) has been CSUSM’s early support initiative. CCN is designed to assist with student success, retention, and persistence. Students are referred to CCN for academic, personal, financial, and other concerns. More specifically, referrals can be made for academic distress, change/disruptive behavior, lack of attendance, and significant life changes. In 2017-2018, there were over 1,300 students referred to CCN with faculty as the largest referral source - 56%! This is the fourth year of CCN, and we have seen an increased need to support students experiencing mental health (primarily anxiety and depression) and basic needs (food and housing insecurity) issues.  

While the Dean of Students Office houses the Cougar Care Network program, students’ needs are addressed through a network of campus partners across all campus divisions (e.g., Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement). The network is a testament to the collaborative and caring nature of our faculty and staff. If you would like to learn more about CCN, please visit the CCN website or  request a presentation for your department. 

Refer a student to the Cougar Care Network. 

Thank You, 

Jason Schrieber & Jennie Ruiz

Dean of Students & Associate Dean of Students
Divison of Student Affairs 

How Can You Help?

This will come as no surprise to you - Research shows that student-faculty interaction can often help students'  academic performance. Additionally, research also suggestes that students can benefit from faculty showing interest in their academic progress (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).

Faculty, thank you for being a positive influence to students in need.

Student Attended Class And Has Been Absent For Over a Week

  • Faclty are encouraged to email the student first; students are more likely to respond to an instructor than others. Students appreciate the personal touch of your email.
  • Submit CCN Referral

Student Tells You They Have Been Dealing with Personal Issues and Indicates a Level of Stress

  • Depending on the level of information, invite the student to come speak with you in-person.
  • Submit CCN Referral
  • Call UPD if you sense a threat of harm to self of others.

A Student Has Stopped Attending Class and Is Considering Withdrawing From One Or More Courses

  • Discuss issues with student; perhaps a referral to support programis an option (e.g. CLASS, PASS, SHCS)
  • Refer the student to Academic Advisor or Special Program Advisor
  • Refer the student to speak with Financial Aid or Student Financial Servicesfor an financial consequences
  • Submit CCN Referral 

Working with a student who needs help now?

Refer a student directly to Cougar Care Network (CCN):   ccn referral

Where should you refer a student?