Navigating a comprehensive research university and knowing where to find assistance can sometimes be challenging. As faculty and staff, part of our job is to help make this big place a welcoming one. One way to do that is knowing Iowa State University’s network of resources designed to support students throughout their collegiate experience and where to go for assistance.
Steps for supporting your students
The Office of Student Assistance, a unit within the Dean of Students Office, is available to assist students experiencing difficulties or complex situations to ensure that each student has the opportunity to achieve their academic and co-curricular goals at Iowa State University. Student Assistance staff can also guide faculty and staff members who may have concerns about their students.
- Guide for emergencies and non-emergencies, download and review the Student Assistance Faculty and Staff Guide regularly and the SVPP Helping Students Manage Traumatic Events page.
- If you are ever unsure of the best way to help students, consult the Student Assistance staff via phone at 515-294-1020, email email@example.com, or use the referral form on their webpage.
- If this is an emergency, please call 911 or direct your questions or concern to one of these safety resources. ISU Police are also available to provide non-emergency assistance 24/7 at 515-294-4428.
Tips for talking with students
Do you have concerns about talking with your student? Here are a few tips from the Student Assistance staff:
- Be Safe
- Be Aware
- Be Responsible
- Seek Assistance
Always keep safety in mind. If you feel that you or other students are in any danger, call ISU Police at 911 or 515-294-4428.
If you have been made aware of sexual misconduct, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity. The university takes all incidents seriously and has a responsibility to address sexual misconduct. For additional information, see the Sexual Misconduct website.
Review the Responsible Employee page (Office of Equal Opportunity) for confidential and campus confidential resources.
Don’t promise confidentiality to a student. Instead, share with them, "As a reminder, I'm not confidential, but I will only share with those that need to know."
Then, document your interactions with the student in case the situation escalates and share with the Office of Student Assistance.
Refer a student to professional staff for further assistance. Keeping in mind that you are (likely) not a counselor, it may be helpful to take the student aside for a private conversation to communicate your concerns and gather more information. Then, offer to walk a student to Student Counseling Services, located on the third floor of the Student Services Building, or call Student Counseling Services for the student at 515-294-5056.
Talking to a student
The Student Assistance staff team shares these four steps for talking with a student:
- 1. Acknowledge
- 2. Inquire and Listen
- 3. Support and Resources
- 4. Follow Up
"Tell me more about what’s going on."
"How long have you been navigating this?"
- Be specific about the behavior that you’ve noticed
- Express your concern
- Provide examples of your concerns
- Offer to serve as a resource
"Thank you for being comfortable sharing. As a reminder, I'm not confidential, but I will only share with those that need to know."
- Ask open-ended questions
- Demonstrate empathy as they share their concerns
- Be patient and give your full attention
- Remind student that you are not confidential
Use active listening skills to assess the student’s concerns and better understand how to offer the appropriate assistance; see the Listening Skills guide (PDF).
"I’m concerned about you and I want to support you. I’d like to share a few helpful resources with you."
- Locate a resource (see below and use the Division of Student Affairs Directory)
- Encourage the student to contact one of the resources provided or to reach out to the Office of Student Assistance, via phone at 515-294-1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Acknowledge what you heard
- All concerns are valid
"Have you had a chance to follow up with the resources we discussed?"
"Can I help you get connected to any resources."
- Check back in with student on any items discussed
- Offer to help connect to resources if needed
If you are concerned about a student’s well-being or behavior, contact the Office of Student Assistance, phone 515-294-1020, email email@example.com, or through the “refer a student” link.
Locate a resource (by topic)
To get started using the network of resources, click on a topic to toggle the information. Then share the contact information with your student.
Academic Success CenterThe Academic Success Center (Dean of Students Office) offers individualized and group-facilitated experiences through course-specific and general academic assistance such as Academic Coaching, Supplemental Instruction, and Tutoring Services. All programs and services help students learn and become independent, self-directed, and self-regulated learners. They also provide a number of online resources on targeted topics such as study skills, time management, goal setting, and test anxiety. Visit the Academic Success Center website, call 515-294-6624, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing and Media CenterThe Writing and Media Center (Dean of Students Office) helps students become more assertive, more confident communicators through individualized assistance to undergraduate and graduate students working on any form of written, oral, visual, or electronic communication. Visit the Writing and Media Center website or call Call 515-294-8899.
Center for Communication ExcellenceThe Center for Communication Excellence (Graduate College) supports graduate students and post-doctoral associates through unmatched, intellectually stimulating opportunities for advancing communication competencies. The staff provides effective specialized programming, opportunities for practice and improvement, and a range of resources – all grounded in the study of communication genres and teaching and learning scholarship. Visit the Center for Communication Excellence website.
ISU LibraryWhether they are a resident student, enrolled in a distance course, or studying abroad, ISU Library can provide students with vital resources! For information about how the library’s material can be accessed remotely, use the Distance Access to Library Resources Guide. For more, visit the ISU Library website.
Academic Grievance ProcessAs a first step, Student Assistance always encourages students to communicate with their instructors regarding any academic issues or concerns. If the student and instructor cannot agree upon a solution, the next step would be to file an Academic Grievance. The Academic Grievance Policy is an option for students who feel their instructor is unreasonable or unfair regarding their situation. Each College handles decisions with the Academic Grievance Policy. Before initiating a formal appeal, students can meet with a Student Assistance staff member to discuss the most effective response by emailing email@example.com.
Student Accessibility Services
Students should contact Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible so that they can work together to determine eligibility for services, identify likely challenges, and coordinate reasonable accommodations. To receive academic, housing, dining, facilities, or assistance animal accommodations while studying at ISU, students will need to work closely with the staff and other campus partners and departments to ensure that their accommodations are in place as soon as possible. To initiate accommodations or talk more about services provided, students can reach out to Student Accessibility Services at 515-294-7220 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experiencing an Accessibility Barrier?
This barrier to access form is intended to bring accessibility concerns to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Facilities Management and Planning attention. Complaints regarding disability accommodation can be filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, phone 515-294-7612, or email email@example.com.
Accommodations for undergrads, graduate students, and employees
Individuals with physical or mental impairments who are otherwise qualified to perform assigned work or pursue academic studies may request reasonable accommodations to enable the individuals to work or continue academic studies. See the Office of Equal Opportunity’s Disability Accommodations page.
Accessibility Map for Iowa State University
The Iowa State University Accessibility Map provides a visual layout of accessible routes to navigate campus.
- Clothing That Works: a FREE community clothing closet for adults who need clothing due to financial constraints. Clothing That Works has a Facebook page outlining how to utilize this resource and can also be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Low- or No-Cost Professional Clothing Sources: For students in need of low- or no-cost professional clothing, the College of Engineering Career Services compiled a list of clothing resources for students on campus and within the community.
- “Give a Swipe” Program: Allows for students to have meals added to their ISU ID card to use in the dining halls. Students do not need a meal plan to participate in this program. If interested in this program, email Student Assistance at email@example.com.
- The SHOP Food Pantry: All students and staff are welcome to stop by the food pantry and pick up free food. Our volunteers do not ask for any identification when you come in, and we provide bags to carry your food home. Feel free to utilize any SHOP locations on-campus. The website outlines the locations and hours.
- United Way of Story County: Food Assistance Resources: compiles a list of food assistance opportunities within the community. Click the link above and scroll to the bottom of the webpage to see food assistance resources and other opportunities for support within Story County.
- Department of Residence: If you have any questions or need assistance regarding your on-campus housing assignment, feel free to contact the housing office at 515-294-2900, and they can talk you through your options. Additionally, students can reach their Hall Director or Apartment Community Manager for assistance (see the Department of Residence Staff List).
- Student Legal Services: Suppose students live off-campus and need legal assistance regarding a lease. In that case, Student Legal Services is a legal aid office providing free and confidential legal services for students currently enrolled at Iowa State University. The attorneys advise and often represent students in various cases and are available for consultation concerning most legal matters. Student Legal Services is at 0367 Memorial Union; call 515-294-0978.
- United Way of Story County: Shelter/Housing Assistance Resources: The United Way of Story County compiles a list of shelter/housing opportunities within the community. Click the link above and scroll to the bottom of the webpage to see shelter/housing resources and other opportunities for support within Story County.
STudents On the Rise In Educational Success
The mission of STORIES is to provide guidance, empowerment, and connections to resources for foster, homeless, and other independent students in a supportive environment. This university-wide program aims to increase retention and graduation rates by meeting basic needs so students can focus their time and energy on academic and career interests. Students interested in participating should complete the STORIES interest form. Questions? Please contact Laura Kilbride at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-294-8436.
Diversity Resource Directories
There are many offices across campus that are area-specific. You can find more information on those offices, along with their mission statements on Campus Life’s Diversity Resources, Offices and Programs page. Or, see another list on the Campus Climate Resources page.
The Iowa State University Gender-Inclusive Restrooms Map provides a list and visual layout of gender-inclusive restrooms across campus. A gender-inclusive restroom is defined as a single stall, lockable restroom, open to the public, with signage that indicates that anyone may use that restroom, regardless of gender.
In January of 2008, the Senate of the Government of the Student Body presented a resolution to the Faculty Senate, Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the Office of Equal Opportunity, and the Dean of Students Office. For additional information, see the Religious Accommodations policy.
Students can contact the Financial Aid Office (0210 Beardshear Hall) for any financial aid or financial assistance questions by calling 515-294-2223.
Student Employment Center and Student Job Board
Office of Financial Success
Advises students one-on-one to help make managing money easier. Students can request an appointment with a Financial Literacy Advisor or Peer Advisor using ISUAppointments in AccessPlus, visit the Office of Financial Success webpage, email email@example.com or call 515-294-2223.
College Student Services Office Financial Assistance
Each College has various scholarship and grant opportunities to assist students in need. To learn more about what financial assistance may be available, students should contact their academic advisor.
Course Content Affordability
Iowa State is committed to enhancing affordability for students in the area of course materials. This task includes offering more affordable versions of mandatory texts and course materials (known as immediate access) and free texts/materials created by faculty and shared with the academic community (known as open educational resources, or OERs). See the Course Content Affordability website, and the essential information below:
- Affordable Course Content Initiatives
- Immediate Access-The Iowa State Digital Content Solution (PDF)
- Open Educational Resources
United Way of Story County: Financial Assistance Resources
The United Way of Story County website compiles a list of financial assistance opportunities within the community. Click the link above and scroll to the bottom of the webpage to see financial assistance resources and other opportunities for support within Story County.
Affordable Medical Care
Story County participates in the National Association of Counties (NACo) Live Healthy Discount Program; through this program, there are no-cost Prescription Discounts and low-fee Dental and Health Discounts. This prescription discount card may be helpful to students who do not have insurance or have limited prescription coverage. Many pharmacies in Story County accept this prescription discount card. Students can sign up online for the discount programs on the Live Healthy U.S. Counties website.
Thielen Student Health Center
Thielen Student Health Center is a full-service health clinic staffed with physicians, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and trained healthcare professionals available to see you for your primary health care needs. Students may call 515-294-5801 for an appointment or 24-7 medical advice from a registered nurse who will answer their questions and give self-care tips, medical tips, and non-judgmental advice on how urgent it is to see a provider.
Mary Greeley Medical Center
Mary Greeley Medical Center is a hospital located in Ames. It provides inpatient and outpatient services that support a continuum of care for our patients, including emergency care, surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, diabetes, nutrition care, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, mental health services, and more.
McFarland Clinic is Iowa’s largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic. The McFarland Clinic network of healthcare providers serves residents in 12 Iowa communities, including Ames. Additionally, McFarland Express Care offers same-day and next-day appointments for common illnesses, limited immunizations, and brief physicals for sports or work (please call for more information).
Free/Income Based Medical Services
Ames and the surrounding community have free/income-based medical services available. The Free Clinics website will informs of the services they provide and how you can utilize available resources.
United Way of Story County: Medical/Health Assistance Resources
The United Way of Story County compiles a list of medical/health assistance opportunities within the community. To see medical/health assistance resources and other options for support within Story County, scroll to the bottom of the United Way of Story County: Medical/Health Assistance Resources site.
24-Hour Crisis Lines
- Your Life Iowa Statewide Crisis Line: Call 1-855-581-8111 or Text: 1-855-895-8398
- Mobile Crisis Team (Iowa): 1-844-258-8858
- National Suicide/Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
- The Trevor Project – LGBTQIA+ Suicide Prevention: 1-866-488-7386
- ISU Crisis Textline: Text “ISU” to 741741
- HOPELINE by the Center for Suicide Awareness: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741
Student Counseling Services, located on the 3rd floor of the Student Services Building, is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For students who feel they are in crisis, counselors are available during any open hours.
TAO is a free online self-help tool with instant access to resources that will help you navigate your mental wellbeing. TAO offers educational modules, assessments, practice tools and logs, and a mindfulness library.
ISU has a Mindfulness Room available for prayer and meditation located in the Parks Library.
Student Health providers are available to assist students with a broad spectrum of concerns and issues. Thielen providers can care for mental health concerns through education and medication management, if necessary. Follow-up visits for mental health conditions are essential and have a direct impact on their successful management. Student Health offers comprehensive outpatient mental health care, from primary care through psychiatry. Students receive a mental health issue screening at every visit. To schedule an appointment, call 515-294-5801.
ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support)
ACCESS is an assault care center providing advisement and support for those experiencing sexual and domestic abuse. All services provided by ACCESS are free and confidential and include 24-hour Crisis Lines, listening, support, information and advocacy, safe housing, individual counseling, support groups, and education. Anyone can contact an advocate by visiting the ACCESS website or calling 515-292-0500.
Iowa State University Police Department
The Iowa State Police Department (ISUPD) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone can call the police anytime they or someone else is feeling unsafe or threatened. ISUPD also provides safety planning if students think that it be helpful to them. Call 515-294-4428, or if it is an emergency, dial 911.
The ISU community has a virtual guardian to walk you home on and off-campus. ISU Guardian is an app with a full contact list of emergency and non-emergency personnel, push notifications about campus activity and crime, and a tip button for easy submissions to ISU Police.
ISUPD also has a service called SafeRide, which is a free transportation service to Iowa State University facilities. The service is available between 6 p.m.-5:30 a.m., 365 days a year. To request a SafeRide, you can call 515-294-4444.
To begin, visit the Stay Safe at Iowa State website.
- Watch the Emergency Response Guide video. This 8-minute video, produced by environmental health and safety and public safety, provides useful tips for responding to campus emergencies, including violent incidents.
- The ISU Environmental Health and Safety and ISU Police provide resources to help faculty in case of emergencies related to student behaviors either in or out of a classroom.
- Review the resources and guidance on the Managing Disruptive Conduct in Learning Spaces page.
- Violence-Free University: The safety and security of the Iowa State University campus and community are very important. Our students, employees, and visitors should be able to pursue their education, work, and other activities in a safe, non-threatening environment. Unfortunately, violence can occur. Read the ISU Violence-Free Policy page and review the Procedures for Supporting a Violence-Free University (PDF)
Office of Equal Opportunity
If students feel that they have been discriminated against or harassed based on race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Veteran or if they or someone they know has experienced sexual misconduct, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity. The Office of Equal Opportunity can meet with them to share what options are available and assist them in filing a complaint. Any person may file a complaint against a faculty member, staff, or student with the Office of Equal Opportunity by phone at 515-294-7612 (3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road).
Free, confidential ombuds services are offered to help faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate and professional students resolve university-related matters. For additional information, see the Iowa State University Ombuds Office website
Iowa State University is committed to proactively facilitating our students’ well-being. We welcome and encourage students to contact these on-campus services for assistance regarding your physical, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, environmental, financial, social, and/or emotional needs:
Student Wellness focuses on holistic wellness and works with students to create a university environment that promotes health and wellbeing. Student Wellness is your one-stop department for information and resources and can help students get connected to campus resources. Student Wellness also provides programs and opportunities to equip students with life-enhancing skills academically and personally. Visit the Student Wellness website or call 515-294-1099.
Collegiate Recovery is a student organization providing peer support and community building for students in recovery and allies of the recovery community. Research has shown that peer support for students in recovery is one of the most critical components for building a supportive social network. Having opportunities to socialize can reduce the risk for relapse and enhance overall wellbeing and academic success.
Student Counseling Services
Call our main line at 515-294-5056 and let us know you would like to get started with services (counseling, career exploration services, mind-body and more), visit the Student Counseling Services website.
Recreation Services strives to positively impact lives through innovative and inclusive collegiate recreation (fitness, intramural sports, outdoor rec, sport clubs, gaming, and more), call 515-294-4980.
Connect and share these resources (technical help, wellness, and more) with your students throughout your course.
Resources available to affirm Iowa State’s commitment to free expression.
The information found in this resource will help you prepare for these moments before they occur.