You are here: FAQ on Dealing with Student Problems

Frequently Asked Questions on Dealing with Student Problems 

Q. Where can I refer a student who is having difficulty writing or otherwise keeping up in class?

A. The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) supports the academic development and educational goals of all American University students, and is committed to providing access for individuals with disabilities within the university's diverse community. Service include the Writing Lab, individual instruction in time management, reading and note taking strategies, and exam preparation, study skills, referrals for peer tutors, and group tutoring in traditionally difficult classes.


Q. Where can I refer a student who seems to be having personal or emotional difficulties that are interfering with their academic work?

A. Counseling Center offers counseling, self-help resources, referrals to private care, workshops, and discussion groups to help students gain the skills and insights they need to overcome adversity and thrive in their life and learning.

For a discussion of students' stress and mental health issues, and how to respond, see the CTRL lunch discussion, January 18, 2016.


Q. What should a faculty member do if a student is seriously disruptive in class and cannot be calmed?

A. The faculty member should ask the student to leave. If they do not comply, the faculty member should call Public Safety (x3636). The language from the Student Conduct Code on classroom management states:

VII. Standards of Classroom Behavior 

Primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the faculty. Students who engage in any prohibited or unlawful acts that result in disruption of a class may be directed by the faculty member to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. Longer suspensions from class or dismissal on disciplinary grounds must be preceded by a disciplinary conference or hearing, as set forth in Sections XIV and XV of this Code.

The faculty member should also report the problem to AU's Care Network, a reporting mechanism designed to provide support for students in distress. A report can be submitted through the myAU Portal (select Life @ AU, then Care Network). Faculty may wish to consult with the Dean of Students at 202-885-3300 regarding options and the best way to manage the situation moving forward.


Q. What should a faculty member do if they have a student who makes them feel uncomfortable and they are concerned that there might be potential danger?

A. Faculty should file a Care Report so that the Dean of Students can reach out to the student and offer support. Guidance may be found at http://www.american.edu/ocl/dos/How-We-Can-Help-Faculty-and-Staff.cfm. If the faculty member believes there is a threat, they should notify Public Safety first, and then file a Care Report.


Q. Since adjunct faculty do not have private offices, where can I find a place to meet with students that safeguards their privacy?

A. Your department chair or program director should be able to direct you to the available options within your department, program, School, or College.