Mental Health Institute for Deans of Students: Legal and Case Management Considerations

Mental Health Institute for Deans of Students: Legal and Case Management Considerations

June 20 - 21, 2019 | Savannah, GA



Better strategize and respond to student mental health concerns in your role as a Dean of Students.

When it comes to the breadth of mental health services on campus, setting clear expectations about scope of service, as well as being able to navigate the complex legal landscape is critical for all Deans of Students. As the demand for student mental health services grows, more and more institutions are grappling with the following questions:

  • How do I best meet the increasing demand for student mental health services?
  • Just how far should institutional mental health services extend?
  • Where is the line between student conduct and discrimination laws?
  • At what point does the institution have a liability to act / notify parents about suicidal ideation?

In response to these challenges, we’ve developed a comprehensive, unique, and intimate learning experience exclusively for current and aspiring Deans of Students. This training is much more than just a mental health compliance training; you’ll work through some case studies and tabletop exercises that will prepare you with the strategies and tools you need to better manage mental health support on your campus.

During this event, you will have time to network with your fellow Deans of Students during breaks and our networking reception. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to build relationships with your peers from other institutions.


Who Should Attend

This course was designed for current or aspiring Deans of Students who provide direct oversight and a coordinated response to students with mental health concerns. Professionals who oversee Behavioral Intervention Teams will also benefit from the content of this training.


Bring your team and save!

Save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.


Your registration for the event includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and the networking reception on Thursday, breakfast on Friday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day 1 | June 20, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Welcome and Introductions



The Changing Role for Deans of Students

Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the evolution of the Dean of Students role in Higher Education including the changing priority to manage student mental health concerns. This session will briefly highlight the main, critical responsibilities that a Dean of Students “should” be doing as it relates to managing these types of cases for their campus.



Scope of Service for Mental Health Services

Defining and communicating the university’s scope of service with emphasis on the importance of defining the university’s scope of service when it comes to mental health and enumerating ways that others have done this effectively via website, parent programming, communication during the admissions process, and other means will be at the core of this session.



Campus Analysis for Scope of Service for Mental Health Services

Participants will conduct their own campus analysis to determine the reach and scope of mental health offerings on their respective campus and how they are currently defining and communicating their scope of service to the campus community and parents.



Parent Notification Protocol and FERPA

In life-threatening situations, Deans of Students must make difficult decisions to notify parents about their student’s mental health condition. Recent court cases will be highlighted prior to table top exercises that will be facilitated with participants. Discussions around when to notify parents, what information must be shared versus should be shared, and how FERPA intersects with parent notification will be discussed.



Weighing Disciplinary Action and Discrimination Laws

Another role that Deans of Student have to exercise is serving as the campus adjudicator for high-level cases and/or serve as the designated sanction officer once a student conduct case determined a finding of responsibility for a policy violation. Sometimes these disciplinary decisions become more complicated when the accused student or student found responsible for violating campus policy also has documented information on file regarding their mental health concerns. A review of discrimination laws, in this context, is a critical topic of discussion for Deans of Students to analyze when weighing disciplinary action for a student who also happens to have a reported mental health concern.



Parent Notification and Discrimination Laws Tabletop Exercise

Participants will be provided a student mental health case study to practice applying some of the new concepts introduced in the morning sessions. Participants will work in small groups and answer a series of questions to process through a complex case and share their “plan of action” with the larger group as they would attempt to resolve it on their own respective campus.



Networking Reception



Day 2 | June 21, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.


Faculty Collaboration for Student Mental Health Concerns

Communicating and managing professional relationships with faculty around student mental health issues is a core responsibility of Deans of Students. Calibrating faculty perceptions of student conduct in cases of student mental health, managing expectations around confidentiality, navigating classroom management issues, and communicating liability standpoints are some of the topics that will be addressed in this session.



Faculty Collaborations Case Study

In small groups, participants will have the opportunity to review and resolve a case study, referred by a faculty member, and discuss strategies and approaches that they learned from the conference to resolve the case. Tips and expert advice from the conference facilitators will be shared on how they may resolve a case involving a student mental health concern.



Final Questions & Wrap-Up

June 20 - 21, 2019
Savannah, GA

Conference Hotel Information:

Andaz Savannah
14 Barnard Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Room Rate: $209
Room Block Dates: nights of June 19 and 20, 2019
Rate Available Until: May 29, 2019
Reserve Your Room: Call 912.233.2116 to make your reservations and indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate. Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.



Bonnie Gorman

Dean of Students and Associate Vice President, Michigan Technological University

Dr. Gorman is passionate about the need to help students address issues of mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention in a systemic way. As the Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at Michigan Technological University, she has made student mental health a priority on campus and has facilitated the introduction of Mental Health First Aid and QPR Suicide Prevention training for students, staff, and faculty.

Read Bonnie's full bio here.


Carolyn Reinach Wolf

Executive Partner, Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP

Ms. Wolf is the only attorney in the country with a family-focused mental healthcare practice. Supported by a team of expert clinicians, she specializes in guiding families through the complex landscape of legal issues that impact loved ones with serious mental illness and/or substance abuse issues. Ms. Wolf is immediate Past President of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA), a membership association serving more than 1,500 professionals in schools, colleges, and workplaces whose role is to support individuals in need of mental health intervention and to minimize the potential for school and workplace violence.

Read Carolyn's full bio here.


Kelly Wesener Michael

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Northern Illinois University

Throughout her career, Dr. Wesener Michael has gained significant experience with behavioral intervention and crisis management. Dr. Wesener Michael played a leadership role in the campus response to NIU’s campus shooting in 2008. Following the tragedy, she led a team, working collaboratively with Virginia Tech and the Department of Education, to establish national standards and protocols for threat assessment teams. Additionally, she has led numerous responses to campus tragedies including student deaths brought about by murder, falling from a high rise residence hall, an off-campus shooting, and hazing in a fraternity house.

Read Kelly's full bio here.

Can't Attend? Buy the Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?


Rabia Khan Harvey
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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