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Teaching & Learning Resources at Camosun: Engaging with Students


Students often come to speak to the chair when they have a concern about a grade or an instructor. Conversely, instructors often rely on the chair for advice about how to handle challenging student issues. It is in the best interest of everyone involved to treat these concerns with respect and fairness. 

Faculty within your department are often the first line of contact for students who are experiencing challenges. Faculty are encouraged to come and consult with you as their chair to help strategize about how to handle difficult student situations. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you are familiar with institutional policies and department guidelines.
  • Know the limits of confidentiality (i.e.: risk of harm to self or others).
  • Document these conversations for future reference, and to ensure there is a written record of decisions made and actions taken.
  • Listen impartially to concerns brought to you from students about instructors, or from instructors about students.
  • Consider potential extenuating circumstances (mental health, disability, socio-economic factors…), and be prepared to bring in other supports as needed.
  • Ascertain the problem, and intervene at the lowest level.
  • Encourage students to make an appointment to speak directly with their instructor, if they haven’t already done so (the same advice goes for instructor concerns about students).
  • Ask for assistance: The Office of Student Support can help you navigate through issues of non-academic student conduct.

Academic conduct

Camosun College students are required to comply with the standards of academic honesty set out in the Academic Integrity policy. The Guide to academic misconduct and how to address it provides helpful direction.

Academic integrity is the responsibility of the entire college community but instructors play a key role in preventing, detecting, and taking action when academic dishonesty is suspected. Be familiar with and follow the Process for documenting and addressing academic misconduct.

The Ombuds office is a place where students can go for help in dealing with conflicts or disputes on an informal basis. Camosun's Ombudsperson is an impartial, independent person whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to students. The Ombudsperson receives and investigates student complaints, reports on findings, and helps achieve just and equitable settlements. Make sure students are aware of other supports available to them, as appropriate (counselling, Centre for Accessible Learning, etc.).

Non-academic conduct

Meeting with students is part of your job – but it can expose you to a risk of violence or accusations of inappropriate conduct. Supporting Students in Distress Guide is an excellent resource that will help you decide what actions to take when you become aware of a student who is exhibiting concerning, distressful or threatening behaviours. For additional information check out the student misconduct policy. If you are concerned about a student's wellbeing, contact the Office of Student Support for guidance or Campus Security if there is an imminent risk.