Conversation Partner Resources
Thanks for serving as a Conversation Partner. Below you will find some resources to support your role. You may also find the PDF slide deck from the Conversation Partner Information Session helpful. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Community Standards staff by calling 574-631-5551 or sending an e-mail to: email@example.com.
GETTING CONNECTED WITH A STUDENT
- A staff member from the OCS will contact you to gauge you interest in participating as a Conversation Partner for a particular student.
- The OCS will answer any questions that you may have to prepare you.
- If you are interested in serving as a Conversation Partner, the OCS will provide the student your preferred contact information.
- The student will be asked to contact you via phone or e-mail to schedule an initial appointment.
- Once you confirm your participation, the student will contact you (typically within 2-3 days).
- Please attempt to schedule your meeting with the student within one week.
AFTER YOUR INITIAL MEETING
Please complete our brief online SUMMARY FORM after you meet with a student. Please try to complete the form on the same day as you meet with the student.
ITEMS TO CONSIDER AS YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR CONVERSATION
GOALS OF THE PROGRAM
- Engaging with the broader University community
- Making connections
- Providing support
- Offering an opportunity for introspection
- Gaining an understanding of issues related to their decision making
- Thinking about the future
WHERE TO MEET
You are welcome to meet the student wherever you feel most comfortable. The most appropriate location for an initial meeting is likely your office.
FRAMING THE CONVERSATION
- Be welcoming
- Be non-judgmental
- Not feel like a conduct setting
- not focus on the Conduct Process
As you are meeting with the student, consider your skills and resources and how you can personally help the student succeed.
HOW TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION
- Set aside at least 45 minutes in your schedule
- Have a prepared, brief intro statement, such as: Thanks for taking the time to connect with me. I meet with students in a variety of settings, and I am hoping that I can get to know you and find ways for you to be successful and reach your goals while at Notre Dame.
- Let the conversation go where the student wants to take it.
- If the OCS provided insight into possible topics for conversation, find a way to weave those topics into your dialogue (e.g. discuss career plans, campus involvement opportunities, etc.)
Here are a few suggestions for how to get a conversation started:
- Tell me about yourself
- How are things going?
ENGAGEMENT-RELATED QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
- What do you enjoy most about your time at Notre Dame?
- What are your goals for your time at Notre Dame?
- What can I do to help you achieve your goals?
- What are your plans for the weekend?
- What are you plans for (fall break, winter break, summer, etc.)?
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
- I will keep our conversation as private as possible.
- I will, however, need to share some information with the OCS to let them know that you completed your outcome.
- Also, please know that some information cannot be kept confidential. For example, if you share information about a sexual assault involving a friend, I am required to report this to the University to investigate.
IF THE STUDENT IS NOT ENGAGED
At times, a student may not be as engaged in the conversation as we hope. That's OK. Try engaging the student on different topics (see above for some suggestions). If the student is still not engaged, consider using one of the following statements to wrap up your conversation:
- It sounds like we are not making a good connection here. Would you like for me to contact the OCS to see about connecting you with someone else on campus?
- I'm getting the impression that you are not all that interested in talking with me today. How about we wrap up?
If you think a student is not engaged, please provide insight on the online Summary Form so that the OCS can determine if additional outreach to the student is needed.
MAKING CONNECTIONS ACROSS CAMPUS
Making connections on campus is one of the most important goals of the Conversation Partner Program. The student you meet with may benefit from connecting with other services on campus. Here are a few to consider:
- Career Center: If a student shares with you that he/she is discerning future career plans or that he/she is thinking about internships or a job search, the student can call 1-5200 to schedule an appointment.
- Campus Ministry: The Campus Ministry staff can support students in a variety of support services for students, including: grief, spiritual direction, gender identity, sexual orientation, vocational discernment, and more. The student can call 1-7800 to schedule an appointment.
- Counseling Center: If a student discloses to you that he/she is struggling, depressed, or has another significant issue they are working through, the UCC is a great resource for students to engage with. The student can call 1-7336 to schedule an appoinment. (note: see below about crisis services)
- Gender Relations Center: The GRC is available to engage students in conversation regarding topics related to healthy relationships, dating, marriage, and many other topics, including support for students who are questioning their gener identity and/or sexual orientation. The student can call 1-9340 to schedule an appointment.
- Student Activities: If a student expresses an interest in getting involved on campus in a club or organization, the student can call 1-7308 to schedule an appointment. (note: The student can also search for clubs/organizations online using SAO360)
- Housing: If a student discusses wanting to move off-campus, Dan Allen (Assistant Director, Summer Housing and Off-Campus Student Services) can meet with students to discuss options. The student should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected.
If you are unsure of connections on campus, the OCS is here to help. E-mail us at email@example.com or call us at 1-5551, and our staff can provide recommendations for ways to get students connected across campus.
Although rare, it is possible that a student will share with you that they are having thoughts of self-harm. If a student at any time shares that they are having thoughts of harming themself (e.g. "I've been thinking about suicide") inform the student that you want them to get the help they need (for example, you can say "I appreciate you sharing this information with me. I am concerned for your well-being. Whenever a student discloses information with me about their well-being, I want to make sure that they get the help they need. I would you like to walk over to the Counseling Center. Are you comfortable with this?"). If a student expresses self-harm, you should do everything in your power to get them connected at the UCC (regardless if they want to or not).
The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides crisis services to Notre Dame students. If a student is in crisis and needs to be seen , the student can use the UCC walk-in hours of 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and be seen by an on-call crisis counselor. The UCC asks that an advance phone call be placed (by you) to 1-7336 to let the staff know that a student will be coming over for crisis support. Please tell the receptionist that you have a student in crisis and the student needs to see someone as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT: If you refer a student to the UCC for a crisis situation (e.g. self-harm), please contact the OCS immediately so that we can follow up the UCC, the student's rector, and any others who need to be kept abreast of the situation.
ANY QUESTION, ANY TIME
If you have any questons or need support with your conversation with a student, please do not hesitate to contact the OCS by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-5551.