Western rolls out new student support team

Paul Mayne//Western News

Jordon McLinden is heading up the newly formed Student Support and Case Management team, part of Western Student Experience.

Jordon McLinden and his new team stand ready to do their part in helping students thrive on campus – and beyond.

“Students are more than just students,” said the Manager of Student Support and Case Management. “We’re here to help with all the other stuff that goes on beyond the classroom.”

Launched this week, Student Support and Case Management will oversee four main portfolios as part of Western Student Experience – the Code of Student Conduct; gender-based violence survivor support; complex care and mental health support; and critical incident/student deaths.

“If students are in need of support, we can help navigate accessibility, learning strategies, whatever they might need. We’re a great intake to help them get to the places they need to be,” McLinden said. “This team brings a unique value to Western because it allows other offices, faculties, staff and professors to focus on what they’re experts in.”

While the roles and responsibilities for these portfolios already existed, they were spread across various areas. McLinden said the idea was to bring everyone under one roof to create a more focused approach to student support, including support for staff and faculty in navigating a potential conversation with a student.

“It really allows for more congruency between the different groups. It’s rare that a student comes in for one thing and doesn’t need support with something else,” McLinden said. “There’ll never be a time when students won’t need our help.”

Once a student is referred to the team, the unified support hopes to reduce the amount of “bouncing around” they need to do to receive the care they need, especially when their issues are complex and multi-faceted.

“They can get sent around to four of five different offices to try and get the things they need,” explained McLinden, who arrives at to Western from Carleton University, where he was manager of Student Conduct & Harm Reduction. “If they meet with one of the folks here, they’ll get that primary one-to-one connection and a guide to help navigate the buffet of resources that are available at Western.

“Sometimes it’s nice to have that one person to connect with to help figure it all out for you.”

While the team is not a drop-in service, McLinden knows there remains an element of crisis management that can occur during a meeting with a student.

“We’re not a counselling service, by any means. But the skills are there and the ability to manage incidents as they come up is there,” said McLinden, adding that for students experiencing an immediate crisis, Student Health Services remains the best place to begin.

“We will act as a guide to help them navigate during the critical time they are experiencing. We want to be their starting point for what they need.”

By way of introduction to the campus community, the Student Support and Case Management team will host an official launch from 9:30-11 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 6) in WSSB 2130. At that event, team members will answer questions on how they fit into the support network across campus to assist students, staff and faculty.