The Dean of Students Office Makes Student Care its Primary Focus
One of the primary goals of the UNT Dean of Students Office (DOS) is to help students resolve university-related or personal issues. Through the CARE Team, Seeking Options and Solutions program, UNT Food Pantry, Early Alert Response System, student complaints and the withdrawal process, DOS Office staff are able to address students’ needs in a number of ways.
The mission of the CARE Team is to: assist in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the students and members of the UNT community; support student success; and provide a comprehensive response to students whose behavior is disruptive to themselves or the environment. The CARE Team handled 325 referrals in fall 2017.
Through the Seeking Options and Solutions (SOS) program, the DOS Office assists students and their families in navigating diverse concerns, as well as identifying resources for personal, academic, financial and social issues. In fall 2017, the DOS Office assisted 1,251 students through SOS, including 132 students with medical concerns, by developing creative solutions for the issues facing them throughout the semester.
Launched at the start of the spring 2015 semester, the UNT Food Pantry provides an accessible on-campus food source for students in need. Any current UNT student in need can visit the Food Pantry 8am-6pm Monday-Thursday and 8pm-5pm on Fridays. In fall 2017, the Food Pantry had 672 visits.
In fall 2017, the DOS Office took over supervision of the Early Alert Response System, which works as a supplemental communication resource for faculty to identify struggling students and connect them to resources for academic and personal success. Often times, having a point person to assist with university processes or simply directing the student in the most efficient way can impact the student’s experience in a very positive way.
UNT provides students with a procedure for resolving complaints against UNT faculty, staff and the university in matters where no other formal process for resolution of complaints has been established. The DOS Office connects students to the proper department and policy if the complaint falls under another policy or facilitates assistance through the formal complaint procedures.
The DOS Office also handles the student-initiated withdrawal process. Staff not only assist students with the necessary paperwork but also work with them to see if anything can be done to help them stay at UNT. Thanks to their efforts, the DOS Office retained 8.4% of students that sought to withdraw in fall 2017.
“Our primary focus in the DOS Office is to assist students with issues they are facing outside the classroom that could impact their ability to succeed at UNT,” said Maureen “Moe” McGuinness, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs. “We are here to help students navigate through some of their concerns. We are the advocate and provide assistance when it comes to managing a crisis, understanding campus policies and procedures and connecting students with the proper university resources. This support system, which extends beyond the walls of the DOS Office, will help students find their way through any obstacle they may face while they are here.”
In addition to the former mentioned services, the DOS Office is home to the Center for Leadership and Service, Conduct, Greek Life, Office of Spiritual Life, Student Legal Services, Student Sustainability/We Mean Green Fund, Substance Abuse Resource Center (SARC) and Survivor Advocacy.