The National Behavioral Intervention Team
Association (NaBITA) recently named
Motlow State Community College as its
2018 Best Practices Awardee. Motlow’s
CARE Team (Crisis Assessment and
Risk Evaluation) was selected as a
nationwide model for institutional
impact for student safety and well-being. The recognition focused on the
team’s in-house development of a crisis
prevention and response process and
its well-received workshopped launch.
Motlow’s team focused on resource
identification, process development
and ongoing communication.
“If the community your BIT (behavioral
intervention team) serves doesn’t under-
stand how to access it, then its existence is
moot,” says Kirsten Moss-Frye, CARE Team
chairperson and dean of student services.
“Our communication plan was as essential
as was our interventional design.”
Motlow’s CARE team represents a
cross-section of the college, and each
member of the group brought knowledge
of their domain’s ideals to the table. Thus,
the college created a roster of interdis-
ciplinary best practices drawing upon
insight from student services, instruction,
safety, counseling, diversity, compliance,
advising and disability services.
The make-up of the work team gave
the group credibility and a voice across
the institution. It also gifted it insight
from deep within the organization. Work
started with review of existing reporting
and response systems. That assessment
was flow charted to facilitate process
improvement. “Looking at a visual repre-
sentation of our practices helped us talk
about our ideals versus actual patterns.
That fueled dialogue toward a new pro-
cess flow,” Moss-Frye says.
That dialogue led to the conclusion that
improved communication was as essential as any other resource. This drove the
implementation of other best practices,
such as marketing principles for choosing
a service name that resonated with our
mission: CARE Team. It also moved the
team to execute process changes with the
same academic rigor the college would
use in implementing a new instructional
focus: workshop it.
“The workshopped launch created a
critical campus community forum for
discussion about reporting practices
and case scenarios,” Moss-Frye adds.
The group’s primary objective is prevention. It approaches the student body as
whole and plans for the well-being of the
entire learning environment. “The goal
is to support student retention through
early intervention that avoids crisis,” says
Moss-Frye. “We provide caring, preventive,
early intervention for individuals whose
behavior is of concern. Protect the learner
to protect the learning environment.”
TIPS FROM MOTLOW’S CARE TEAM
• Build a multidisciplinary team of
diverse colleagues. Charge them with
holistic student success. Include
decision-makers empowered to move
implementation forward quickly and
approve needed changes.
• Choose a program name that reflects
the purpose the team.
• Review and revise related policies to focus
on intervention before crisis occurs.
• Educate the campus community on
• Don’t reinvent the wheel. Effective
threat assessment tools exist. Evaluate
students using established behavioral
indicators and tools. Let proven processes guide objective interventions.
• Redesign reports. Rethink processes.
Tweak communication strategies and distribution of information. Put a premium
on efficiencies that allow good people to
do great work. Assess and address.
• Remember that faculty engage students most. Be sure faculty understand
help is available. Make it easy for
faculty to trigger intervention. Prove
to them the system works. Including
tenured faculty on BI Ts increases
work-team credibility and efficiencies
in reaching instructional stakeholders.
• Workshop your launch as well as
program maintenance. The workshop
forum is an established academic vehicle. Use it. Start by providing the basics
on how BI Ts function, available tools
and reporting processes. Work through
case scenarios. Motlow received a
100-percent satisfaction rating for its
workshop approach to in-house training.
For more resources, visit the Na BITA
website at nabita.org.
Terri Bryson is vice president of external affairs and
workforce innovation at Motlow State Community College
Building a CARE Team
By Terri Bryson