Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What if a student goes missing?

Thoughts to consider

What may have happened to the student?

Further immediate investigation is required to ascertain the possible extent of the potential crisis. It is no good assembling the crisis management team until we have some preliminary facts to work with.

As Head of International Student Services I would: (not necessarily in this order)

  • Advise my line manager - Group Manager, Student Affairs of the situation, my plan to ascertain facts in this case and expected timelines.
  • Engage the assistance of an international student counsellor and administrative staff to make and report on their enquiries to:

    • Students landline, mobile, email address'
    • Faculty administrators / program coordinators,
    • Lecturers and Tutorial staff - in all enrolled subjects
    • Known friends
    • House mates
    • Class mates
    • Known religious, sporting or community affiliations
    • Employer

  • Drive to the students last known residential address with an international student counsellor.
  • Report on investigative work undertaken and results obtained to line manager with the recommendation to either assemble the Case Management Team or that the student has been located.
Who needs to be a part of your case management team?

  • Line Manager, General Manager, Student Affairs. (Authority / Guidance / Support)
  • General Manager / Registrar of the University. (University administrative / financial issues / family liaison)
  • Vice Chancellor or nominated delegate. (Head of University & important symbol of involvement / Television / Radio spokesperson)
  • Head of Media services. (Measured media control / Press releases)
  • International Support, Student Services team. (Leg work)
  • Representative of students Religious affiliation OR failing that, the Chaplaincy. (Guidance / Support)
  • Bi-lingual staff at university / trusted ethnic community spokesperson. (Translation assistance, if and when needed.)
What would you do if one of your students goes missing?

Author: Eileen Hjertum - PIER Online Diploma student

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