Student Relations

The Student Relations office aims to ensure a successful educational experience for all Columbia students. Through collaboration with staff and faculty members, families, and the greater Chicago community, Student Relations provides support to students with a wide variety of concerns and challenges. Among a range of duties, Student Relations staff:

The most important bit of information you want to keep in mind is the difference between a crisis and a concern.

If a student is experiencing a crisis, (e.g. suicidal or homicidal ideation, a significant mental health concern, or immediate housing or food insecurity) please contact the Student Relations office immediately during business hours.

  • Common Concerns Addressed with Students

    There are a range of concerns that the Student Relations staff can address with students. Sometimes they learn of these concerns and situations through our ALERT system, sometimes a faculty member contacts the office on behalf of a student, and sometimes students go directly to them. Some of the more common areas Student Relations addresses are:

    Academic Challenges
    • Excessive absences
    • Missed assignments
    • Conflict with instructor
    • Lack of academic progress


    Mental Health Issues
    • Short-term and solution-focused behavioral health care
    • Referral and assessment for community resources
    • Crisis intervention
    Lack of Basic Needs –Sometimes we can address these issues through Columbia Cares
    • Homelessness
    • Food insecurity
    Disruptive Behavior
    • Infringements to the teaching or learning process, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct
    Interpersonal Conflict
    • Roommate conflicts
    • Issues with faculty or staff
    • Challenges in romantic relationships
    Difficult Life Transitions
    • Adjustment to college
    • Stress surrounding graduation
    • Caring for an ill family member
    • Death in the family
    Medical Absence
    • Hospitalization
    • Medical leave for illness
  • Reporting a Student Concern
    Faculty and staff at Columbia College Chicago may file a Student Success Alert via the SSC notification system in the MyColumbia portal. Alerts surrounding a student’s health and behavior are reviewed by Student Relations, who will then conduct outreach to the student and offer support and assistance. Faculty and staff may also call Student Relations directly for a consultation. In compliance with Illinois’ Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, Student Relations cannot divulge any information about the student to faculty or staff without the student’s express written consent.
  • Addressing Disruptive Behavior

    Disruptive behavior is defined as behavior of an individual that impedes the learning experience. Usually, this is understood to be in relationship with notions of classroom management, but oftentimes momentary disruptions are an indication of a deeper, underlying problem or issue. In a situation when you note behavior that impedes the learning of one or more students, Student Relations advises the following:

    • Lead with compassion and do what you can to deescalate the situation in the immediate moment.
    • Formally address the behavior outside of the class session. An independent meeting with the student can often resolve the issue through direct feedback and guidance.
    • File a Student Success Alert for support from Student Relations.
    • Document all instances of disruptive behavior and submit this documentation to your department chair.
    • Reach out to Student Relations staff, the associate provost for faculty research and development, your chair, coordinator, or other colleagues to discuss possible ways of addressing the situation.
  • Identifying a Crisis

    A crisis typically involves one of three different areas:

    MENTAL HEALTH: Mental health concerns include suicidal Ideation, active engagement in self-harming behavior, and homicidal ideation. Please refer to our guidelines to learn more. Mental Health Emergencies should be reported directly to Student Relations during business hours. After hours, faculty should contact Campus Safety and Security at 312.369.1111 or contact local emergency services by calling 911.

    Students may also have other significant mental health concerns such as auditory and/or visual hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear, delusions (having false, fixed beliefs that conflict with reality), manic symptoms, and or sudden engagement in risky or dangerous activities. Your job is not to diagnose the student. If a student reports or you observe these symptoms, please submit an ALERT and contact or 312.369.8595. 

    FOOD/HOUSING INSECURITY: We also consider an immediate housing or food concern as a crisis. If a student is currently without food or shelter please submit an ALERT and contact or 312.369.8595.

    MEDICAL EMERGENCY: A medical emergency is defined as an illness or injury that requires immediate medical attention and may/could be life threatening if left untreated. Medical Emergencies should be reported directly to Campus and Security at 312.369.1111 or to local emergency services by calling 911. 

  • Student Relations Staff & Contact Info

    Thomas “Lee” Cravens II, MSW, LCSW, CADC 
    Director of Student Relations

    Michael Greenwald, LCSW
    Coordinator of Student Relations

    Jennifer Telschow, LPC, NCC
    Coordinator of Student Relations

    Christine Greiner
    Administrative Assistant

    Fall and Spring Semester Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

    Summer, Winter Term, and Breaks: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Differences between Student Relations and Counseling Services

    Student Relations provides solution-focused counseling with limited sessions. For students who desire more formalized therapy, Counseling Services is the appropriate resource. Counseling Services offers therapy to students throughout the academic semester with a maximum of twelve free sessions per academic year as clinically appropriate. Student Relations is an effective starting point for almost any other concern due to our focus on problem-solving and support. If Student Relations cannot resolve your concern, they help the student find the on-campus or off-campus resource that can via our robust referral network.

    Student Relations conducts outreach to students. With Counseling Services, students must actively choose to engage in services. Student Relations, however, will call or e-mail students when notified of a concern by faculty, staff, family members, or peers. Student Relations encourages students to connect with our office for support and assistance.

    Student Relations and Counseling Services collaborate. Staff in both offices have the same credentials as mental health providers. Student Relations may refer a student to Counseling Services for therapeutic support while Counseling Services may refer a student to Student Relations if an academic challenge, significant medical event, or food or housing insecurity arises. Additionally, Student Relations and Counseling Services provide educational workshops to the Columbia community regarding health and wellness.

  • COVID-19 Services
    Student Relations is offering telebehavioral health services (phone and video) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Student Relations is only using phone services, but video services will be offered shortly via Zoom for Healthcare. Students must be in the state of Illinois to receive telebehavioral health, but all students are eligible for case management regardless of location.