We serve currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students at James Madison University—whether residential, off-campus, or online.

Referrals may come from faculty, staff, students, family members, community members, or others external to the JMU community. If anyone is concerned for a JMU student, they can submit a referral to Madison Cares.

Any individual can refer a student to Madison Cares in one of four ways:

  1. Submit a Care Referral form (preferred)
  2. Email | madisoncares@jmu.edu 
  3. Call our office | 540-568-6468 
  4. Visit our office | SSC 3010

We highly recommend that you do not promise confidentiality and be direct with the student about your concerns and the need to refer them. Reiterate to them that you are concerned about their well-being and would like them to receive support from the Dean of Students office. More than likely, there is already trust built between you and the student and they will not be upset that you expressed care in this way.

The Madison Cares Team will review all care referrals and gather additional information. They may consult with the referrer and other professional staff who will assist in providing support. The referrer will receive an email confirming the referral was received. The Madison Cares Team might enact the following:

  • Recommend the referrer provide direct support to the student to address the concerns,
  • Designate a staff member to offer support and potential on-going care meetings,
  • Connect with additional JMU resources (Counseling Center, Academic Advising, Disability Services, Student Life, etc.)

These meetings are generally non-confrontational and are designed to help the student navigate any additional difficulties they may be experiencing. Not all referrals result in a face-to-face meeting with the student. In many situations, staff can and do provide consultation advice to the person sharing the concern and ask that they follow-up with additional resources to make sure the student is aware of appropriate campus resources.

We do our best to keep the name of the referrer confidential, however the vast majority of students referred to Madison Cares are aware of who has referred them. Many faculty and staff express concern that a student will overreact when the student learns that a concern has been shared (perhaps by expressing anger toward the faculty/staff member individually).

In most cases, this concern is unfounded and the student appreciates the concern has been expressed. Almost all students referred express their understanding that the referral was made based on a concern for them personally and because someone in the community cares enough to get them help. 

While we know it is not always possible, we strongly encourage you to inform the student that you are submitting a Madison Cares referral, that they are not in any trouble, and that someone from our team will be reaching out to provide support. Your communication with the student at this stage is incredibly beneficial. We have found that students who have this conversation with their referrer are more likely to engage with our office, respond to our outreach, and follow through with connecting to additional resources.  

Madison Cares is not a crisis hotline and does not function as first responders. Referrals are only reviewed during regular business hours For emergency situations, please contact JMU Police at 540-568-6911 or 911. 

Our office does prefer that any referrals to JMU Police also be accompanied by a Madison Cares referral. Having these referrals allows us to gather several pieces of information about a student that aids us in how we address, respond, and support a student in crisis.

No. Madison Cares and the Dean of Students office do not respond to student conduct violations. If you believe there is a conduct violation taking place (classroom disruption, inappropriate behavior, non-compliance, disregard for classroom policies etc), you should contact the Office of Student Accountability & Restorative Practices to discuss the behavior and if pursuing a process through their office would be appropriate. If you are an instructional faculty, you should also consult with your Department Head and ensure you are following Academic Policy #12.  

Although our office maintains a very close relationship with the Counseling Center and other campus resources, referrals to the Counseling Center should always be a resource provided to the student.

Our office does prefer that any referrals to the Counseling Center also be accompanied by a Madison Cares referral. By submitting your referral to both, you ensure that your information is connected with other concerns shared about the student so those working with the student have a fuller picture of the issues involved.

As a side note, do not rely on a student’s assurance that they will visit with the Counseling Center. The Counseling Center is a confidential resource, so our office will not know if a student visited the counseling center. It is helpful for us to be able to follow up with the student and to be able to follow up with the referrer if needed. We advise you to set up a follow-up conversation with the student to talk through how things are going and to discuss other helpful referrals. Feel free to walk a student to the Counseling Center if you have time.

Back to Top