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2 Online Courses Help College Resident Advisors Identify and Manage Troubled Students

Magna Publications has begun offering two new online courses for college resident advisors (RAs) to help them identify and manage troubled students. The two courses--Aggression Identification and Management for the Resident Advisor and Suicide Assessment and Mental Illness Awareness for the Resident Advisor--are led by Brian Van Brunt, director of counseling and testing at Western Kentucky University and the president-elect of the American College Counseling Association.

Each course features three separate video presentations by Van Brunt, as well as case studies, quizzes, a discussion guide for resident directors, and an online forum. Students who score at least an 80 percent on the final exam will receive a certificate. The courses are offered on demand, and students can watch at their own pace, go back and review key concepts, and even continue their online dialog with fellow participants after completing the courses. Each course takes about 90 to 120 minutes to complete.

"Resident advisors are often the first line of defense when it comes to assessing and addressing aggressive or unhealthy behaviors in today's residence halls," said Van Brunt. "These online courses are a convenient way for colleges to ensure their incoming RAs are properly trained to recognize and manage unwanted and potentially dangerous attitudes, emotions and behavior."

Aggression Identification and Management for the Resident Advisor provides strategies for dealing with difficult, possibly violent, student residents, including how to:

  • Recognize and describe the trigger, escalation and crisis phases of aggression;
  • Control their emotions when faced with escalating situations;
  • Identify the differences between cognitive and primal aggression;
  • Assess and manage behavior that may not be threatening, but still disrupts the sense of community on the floor, such as students who are highly negative, disengaged, complainers, or confrontational; and
  • Apply the art of persuasion and safe escape when dealing with extreme aggression.

"Suicide Assessment & Mental Illness Awareness for the Resident Advisor" is designed to help viewers better understand the mental health issues of today's college students, with particular emphasis on suicide awareness, management, and referral. It also provides an overview of the mental health concerns most often experienced by college students (depression, anxiety, adjustment problems, learning difficulties, attention problems, eating disorders and social difficulties), including a discussion on assessing risk levels, and knowing when/how to intervene.

The two courses are priced at $199 each or $359 as a set for 20 participants.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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