Talking to a student about your concerns

Guidance for faculty and staff on how to approach a difficult conversation with a student and how to make a referral in the case where more help is needed.

Students in crisis or who are exhibiting concerning or worrying behaviors often need additional attention in order to ensure they are safe, the community is safe, and that they can continue to be successful while at UW-Madison.

Communicating and supporting students

The Office of Student Assistance and Support recognizes that most faculty and staff are not counselors, psychiatrists, or law enforcement officers. Instead faculty and staff should have the skills and knowledge to respond to students appropriately and make referrals.

Responding to specific concerns

Mental health support

Guidance on what to do when you observe a student who may be struggling emotionally.

Disordered eating

Supporting students health and well being, including what to do, and what not to do.

Student anxiety

How to recognize symptoms, types of anxiety, what to do, and what not to do.

Demanding behavior

Working with students who may be intrusive, persistent and require extra time and attention.

Financial support

Crisis loans can support students experiencing financial hardship.

Disoriented/psychotic behavior

Working with students who may show signs of disorientation or psychotic behavior.


Whether it’s a feeling that cheating might have taken place, or something more serious, misconduct is typically handled in two ways: Academic or Non-Academic. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards are the people who help guide faculty, staff, and students through these situations.

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Academic Misconduct

This may involve questions of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, and stealing an exam or course materials are all examples.

There are steps to take in this process, which the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards can help guide you through.

Learn more about academic misconduct

Report academic misconduct

Non-Academic Misconduct

This may include things like reporting hate or bias, sexual violence, hazing or other issues that may work against the university’s living and learning environment that is safe and free from violence, harassment, fraud, theft, disruption, and intimidation.

Learn more about non-academic misconduct

Report non-academic misconduct