Student Support Specialists: How We Can Help
The Student Support Specialists in the Dean of Students Office serve as a general resource and support for our students and families. They are available to meet with you, one time or on a continued basis, to listen, advise, and help you navigate whatever challenge it is that you may be facing.
About Our Student Support Specialists
They are a nonclinical support service
This means that, while they can listen and guide you through difficulties you may be experiencing with your physical or mental health, they are not licensed practitioners.
Student Support Specialists are trained and certified in a number of areas such as Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Prevention, NABITA Risk Assessment, Student Support Services and many more!
They are mandated reporters under university policy.
A mandated reporter is an individual designated by Massachusetts State law as required to report, or cause a report to be made, of Child Abuse or Neglect. For this policy, all Wentworth employees and volunteers serving as authorized Adults are mandatory reporters under Massachusetts law.3.
To learn more about what being a mandated reporter and how it works at the university, please click here.
They follow the University's FERPA policy when communicating about a student
When a student reaches the age of 18, or begins attending a post-secondary institution regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer to the student. Therefore, with the exception of a crisis situation, the Dean of Students Office shares information about student concerns only on a need-to-know basis to the extent permitted by FERPA.
Click here to view the university's FERPA policy.
They are members of the CARE Team.
The university's CARE Team works collaboratively to manage our CARE Referral reporting feature. As a part of this team, Student Support Specialists actively review, assess, and develop outreach/support plans for referrals received.
To learn more about what a CARE Referral is and who is on that team, please click here.
We are NOT confidential employees.
Student Support Specialists are not confidential employees. This means that, while we will always respect a student's privacy, we will notify need-to-know staff and report accordingly if:
- there is a concern about imminent harm to self or others
- a serious violation of Wentworth, state, or federal laws
- reports of discrimination, sexual assault, violence and/or harassment
- the information concerns the neglect or abuse of someone who is a minor, elderly, or disabled
How Our Student Support Specialists Can Help You
Connections & referrals
You can connect with a Support Specialist with any question you may have, but sometimes, Support Specialists are not the resource who can help you most effectively. Support Specialists work to make direct referrals between students and other staff, departments, and services on campus who can provide the most relevant information and support.
Support with absences & absence notifications
Students who are going to be absent from class for an extended period of time (hospitalization, serious illness or injury, bereavement, jury duty) may submit an absence notification form. The Dean of Students Office will notify your faculty and assist you with your return to campus. Absence Notifications DO NOT excuse any absences; that is still up to the discretion of the faculty. It does, however, show that the student is getting support from our office.
You may submit an Absence Notification Request by clicking here.
Assistance with changes to enrollment and with taking a medical leave of absence
Students can take a medical leave of absence (MLOA) to leave campus to receive treatment for health concerns. A medical leave of absence is appropriate if a student finds it difficult to productively or safely manage the demands of their academics and campus life due to health concerns. Support Specialist Kayla handles Medical Leave of Absences and works with students throughout the entirety of the process and remains as a resource during their time away. Medical documentation from a medical provider is necessary for your Medical Leave to be approved and for your return to campus.
Financial hardship support & resources
Support Specialists work 1-1 with students who are also experiencing financial hardship or have been impacted financially due to an emergency situation. They work in partnership with the Financial Aid office to assess the student's need and make the necessary connections to hardship resources, on campus and externally, to ease the burden and stress of financial hardship.
Click here, to learn more about the Financial Hardship resources we have on campus.
Work through a challenge with you
Support specialists are here to listen to and support you during your time at Wentworth. Support Specialists understand that inevitable challenges inside or outside of Wentworth will come up during your time as a student. Support Specialists act as the liaison between the student and the challenge and can advocate on behalf of the student if necessary. Support Specialists help student navigate through include time management, difficulty with transitioning to college, medical illness or injury, emotional distress, financial hardship, etc.
Student Support Specialists can work one-on-one with students to aid in skill development. Some examples of this are organization skills, stress management, goal setting, and self-advocacy.
Facilitating mental health support
Student Support Specialists offer non-clinical support, which means they are not certified mental health clinicians and do not provide mental health treatment. However, they can listen and guide you through difficulty and stress. They are also here to help navigate you towards the path of clinical support. If a Student Support Specialist feels that you could benefit from additional mental health support from the Center for Wellness or an external provider, they will work to make that connection with you.
Empowerment & self-advocacy
Advocacy is two-fold: helping students develop self-advocacy skills and advocating for students when necessary. While we are here to help guide you, we also want to empower you and get you to a place where you can advocate for yourselves and peers. Support specialists can help you know your rights as a student, help you navigate social norms in a college setting, help you understand professionalism, and help you get more comfortable with asking for help.
Emergency, crisis, & trauma support
Student Support Specialists often meet with students who are in crisis or are experiencing extreme stress. Support Specialists offer a nonjudgmental listening ear and then can help a student navigate through the situation by getting appropriate support. We aim to eliminate barriers to help students thrive during their time at Wentworth. manage crises, life traumas, and other barriers that impede success. Our staff works to address the needs of students who struggle in such areas as psychological health, physical health, victimization, relationship issues, social adjustment, and academics through a variety of interventions, referrals, and follow up services.