Support, Engage, or Challenge an Individual Student

General study hall or open lab hours
Some departments host general study hall or open lab hours for students. This gives them a dedicated space and time to study, ask questions of the host(s), access needed classroom materials, and connect with other students. Curious about what already exists at IC? Contact the Academic Service Coordinator in each school. 

Discipline specific help rooms
Several departments have “help rooms” or “resource centers” that can be used by students across campus:

Peer success coaches 

Ithaca College's peer success coaching program pairs students who need support with student leaders who act as mentors.

Some departments and programs at IC may have similar programs that pair upper-level students with students in introductory classes to provide academic and non-academic guidance and support.

Honor societies

Many disciplines have honor societies. Inviting students to participate in these societies can help boost engagement for both high-achieving and other students.

Student clubs

Some departments and programs have student-run clubs. Inviting students to participate in these clubs can help boost engagement. Visit Explore - IC Engage ( to see existing clubs.

Host events and opportunities with an academic focus

Many departments and programs host events that focus on building cohorts, such as inviting speakers, going on field trips, game/movie nights, etc. Some departments and programs have programs to connect students with alumni in the discipline, hosting community conversations about timely topics, or engaging current students in recruitment events. These activities can help boost student engagement.

Connecting students with research and scholarship opportunities 

Engaging in research is a high-impact practice that can boost student retention. Many disciplines have various opportunities for students to engage in research and scholarship. 

Create an academic plan

Begin by helping students identify the classes required for their major, the prerequisites for each class, and then plan when they'll need to complete each class to make progress in their degree. Some departments have an 8-semester template that students can use to help them plan.

Degreeworks has a built-in planning tool that students can use to help them plan their academic path. The registrar's office has tutorials posted to help guide students.

A pair of useful tools to help students map their path through one or more degree programs is:

Check their schedule before the end of the add/drop period

It is important for students to be registered for the correct number of credits and courses to make degree progress. AND to balance the academic demands of their courses. Have students check that their courses will help them make progress in their degree, that they haven't scheduled too many back-to-back courses, and that they have considered the reading/writing loads, exam/paper loads, and difficulty levels of their courses so they can be successful.

Connect with faculty and tutoring services if midterm grades are at or below a C

If a student is not performing well academically, encourage them to connect with their instructor to develop a plan for success in their classes. After they have done this, Tutoring and Academic Enrichment Services can connect students with a peer tutor to help them in specific classes.

Ensure students are aware of degree-progress related policies

If students are struggling and considering withdrawing from or dropping a class, make sure they are aware of academic policies for credits and grades, including:

  • Incompletes
  • Rules about repeating classes
  • The S/D/F option

In addition, students should be aware of the following when considering dropping a class:

  • The potential financial implications, particularly if they have a scholarship
  • The grade requirements for college and each major (e.g., number of grades below a C- for particular programs)
  • Whether their current classes are prerequisites for future planned classes

Student success and retention hinges on their developing a sense of belonging, both in- and outside of their classes, so it is important to help them engage co-curricularly and socially. Below are some resources to help students do this:

  • The Office of Student Engagement is a great resource for ALL students, from those struggling to fit in to those who have the social scene completely figured out. OSE is home to student organizations, leadership experiences, and community engagement. OSE utilizes the talent of student leadership consultants to provide peer-to-peer advise on how to get involved at IC
  • The office of student engagement maintains a list of Student Clubs & Organizations
  • The Social Engagement webpage has links to student organizations, co-curricular events, programs for first-generation and new students, and resources for inclusion and for LGBTQ+ students.
  • IC Engage is a student-facing software application that features profiles from over 150 student organizations, an array of student events, and many IC office programs (e.g., Student Leadership Institute)
  • The IC Events Calendar lists official IC events such as concerts, workshops, presentations, and more

It's a challenge for many students to manage their personal expenses. There are many resources at Ithaca College for supporting students financially:

  •  Ithaca College offers financial security support, including a student emergency relief fund, support for buying course materials, food security support, support for purchasing professional clothing, laptop loaners,  tax preparation, technology loaners, and resources for summer internships.
  • Students who need assistance covering college expenses can benefit from emergency loans and advances.
  • The College has several programs to address food insecurity
  • Information Technology maintains a loaner program for students who need laptops for a day, week, or semester.
  • The Student Financial Services site has information about financial aid, financial support programs, and resources to support students' financial literacy.

Students - particularly in their first semester - go through what is known as the "W curve" in which their experiences naturally swing through five phases: the "honeymoon", cultural shock, an initial adjustment, mental isolation, and, finally, integration. In some of these phases, students tend to think about transferring, and it is important to help them identify the underlying reasons for wanting to transfer.

Some of the top reasons students provide for wanting to transfer are: social isolation, a desire for a major that isn't available at IC, a desire to compete in a particular sport, poor academic performance, a financial barrier, school prestige, or another aspect of the environment such as the school being too big/small, wanting to be closer to home, or the school placing more or less emphasis on academics than they desire.

  1. Start by asking the student to tell you about their interest. Do they have somewhere particular in mind or do they just want to leave IC?
  2. For first-year students, discuss the natural ebb and flow that many students experience (i.e., the W curve) and, if you think it would help, encourage the student to try exploring available resources and seeing if their desire to transfer might change.
  3. Then, the key is to connect a student with resources that might address these issues, particularly if they don’t have a specific plan in mind yet. Use the information provided on this website to start your search for resources, and contact your Dean's office if you're not sure who to connect them with.
  4. Let the Dean’s Office know of their interest in transferring so that a withdraw referral can be put into the system (the referral triggers the application to withdraw.)

Although it isn’t our job to keep a student at IC if another school might be better for them, we can and should address issues of concern that will apply to more than just this student.

  • Academic Alert Program Form: Faculty can share academic concerns about a student like absenteeism, poor grades, missing assignments, being disengaged, etc.
  • iCare Referral Form: Submit an iCare referral if you have concerns about a student such as: uncharacteristic behavioral concerns, changes in mood/hygiene/appearance, coping with a stressful life circumstance (like death of a loved one, financial strain, physical illness, etc.), considering harming themselves or others, aggressive or reckless behavior, lack of social support, etc. 
  • The iCare website has additional information, including lists of concerning behaviors and suggestions for how to have a conversation with a distressed student.
  • If appropriate, share any concerns—both academic and non-academic—with a student's academic advisor. Their advisor can help to identify the student's sources of struggle and coordinate support. You can identify a student's advisor by searching for the student's information on Homerconnect.
  • You can also share concerns with the Dean's office in the school that houses the student's major.
  • CAPS (Counseling & Psychological Services): CAPS offers faculty consultations, a mental health crisis prevention training for faculty & staff called “Pathways,” same-day crisis services on weekday afternoons, individual and group counseling for students, and support for off-campus mental health referrals. After hours phone support is available 5 PM-8:30 PM weekdays and all day/night on weekends at 607-274-3136. 
  • Center for Health Promotion: CHP is our campus resource for wellness-related support and education. Confidential services include 1:1 meetings for students focused on alcohol & other drug use (the BASICS Program) or other health concerns such as sleep, exercise, stress management. Free safer sex supplies, tick removal kits, and sleep kids are also available.
  • Office of Religious and Spiritual Life: ORSL is available to all students regardless of religious, spiritual, or secular worldview. Their staff is trained to listen, care, and counsel students. Weekly drop-in hours.
  • Title IX Office/Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education: Students who experience dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence, or sexual discrimination based on gender or sexual identity are encouraged to report their experience to the Title IX coordinator for resources and reporting options
  • Bias Impact Reporting: If you know a student who experienced or witnessed a bias incident on campus, via social media, virtually, or at a college-affiliated event, encourage them to use the form link.

Students appreciate being appreciated! You can do this formally or informally. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Establish a department- or office-wide kudos board to highlight the work of individual students.
  • Talk with a student after class to personally share your appreciation for their contributions or hard work.
  • Write notes of appreciation on individual assignments.
  • Acknowledge individual students' achievements, creativity, or hard work through announcements in class.