DSU faculty, staff, advisers acknowledge their role in students’ lives outside classroom

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Dixie State University faculty and staff are pivotal in students’ on-campus lives, and, in some cases, the on and off campus lives are integrated. 

DSU faculty and staff provide guidance, knowledge and advice to students. The core values for DSU employees are integrity, collaboration, vision, transparency and service, according to DSU’s Office of Risk Management and Safety. These values are guidelines on how faculty and staff interact with students during school hours, but guidelines for interactions off campus can be vague.

Communication adviser Bryan Jacobs said the faculty and staff’s responsibility to students off campus relies on personal ethics.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Jacobs said. “However, I think a lot of that falls into the good neighbor, good citizen category. We’re all kind of responsible to help out other people when we see there’s an opportunity.”

Neither the policy and procedure  or The Office of Risk Management and Safety page on DSU’s website provide concrete answers about how off-campus student issues should be handled. The policy and procedure page focuses on textbook, curriculum and graduation information.

Jacobs said students need to be aware of off-campus expectations in order to best succeed on campus.

“It’s not necessarily a defined policy that I’m aware of,” he said. “There’s no real specific training. Although, we’re just so sensitized to every need and every resource that’s available to students. There is certainly ethical considerations all the time and what’s proper and what’s legal and illegal.”

The athletic department is more clear with expectations of students and staff off campus. The student athlete handbook states that behavior off campus can directly affect students on campus. The handbook provides rules for student athletes, including everything from drug use to how the student-athlete represents DSU.

Athletic Director Jason Boothe said along with maintaining a specific grade point average, student athletes are expected to behave appropriately off campus.

“They have to meet certain grades to maintain their eligibility, so coaches are very concerned about that,” Boothe said. “Obviously they want them to have the best grades possible to have the best GPA possible for the team. As for personal life, there’s really no involvement unless there is an issue where (the student) is getting arrested or embarrassing the program, the athletic department or the school.”

According to the student athlete handbook, there is a link between on and off campus actions, and club advisers are expected to ensure students are meeting Dixie State University Student Association standards. 

Rosemarie Watterson, a junior medical laboratory science major from Magna, said she has reached out to a professor to get advice about personal issues and was glad she did so. Watterson said students can benefit from involving professors in their off-campus lives.

“I did ask my communication professor how to talk to my husband,” Watterson said. “I asked for advice, but I didn’t get overly involved; I didn’t get too specific with her. (The professor) helped me be able to talk with my husband without getting in a fight with him.”

Watterson said to take advantage of what faculty and staff have to offer, but be mindful of what information you’re sharing and receiving.

“I think students can benefit personally from professors to a certain extent, but it goes back to boundaries,” Watterson said. “There [have] to be boundaries with how much you let in and let out.” 

Jacobs encouraged students to utilize faculty and staff because they are people who have access to other outlets that can help with off-campus issues.

“Obviously if a student comes to us on campus, into our office and asks for help related to an (off campus) problem, then we have campus police, the health and wellness resources; we have a list of all the places that we can refer them to or literally take them to if needed,” Jacobs said.