Student Affairs

In the Shadow of Covid 19: Working with “Difficult” Students Online

Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Aaron Hughey
Price: $50.00

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All students can all be ‘difficult’ given the right set of circumstances; the pandemic has only accentuated the need to be better prepared to understand and respond effectively to these students. Working with challenging students in an online environment requires a special set of competencies. During this webinar, we will discuss what those are and how to successfully employ them to better meet the needs of the students we serve during these extraordinary times.  Moreover, these competencies will also help student affairs professionals better support their faculty colleagues - and I think we can all agree that collaboration among all members of the campus will community is what we need, especially now.

Students who are anxious, aggressive, rude, unresponsive or just generally unpleasant can be very challenging – especially now that more and more student services are being provided virtually. There are many reasons students may not be cooperative in the ‘new normal.’ It is important that student affairs professionals not take these counterproductive behaviors as a personal assault on their competence or integrity.  Many of these “difficult” students still need our help and support in order to help them negotiate the collegiate experience.

Student affairs professionals will learn how to effectively and efficiently identify the needs of “difficult” students, including how to employ evidence-based techniques and strategies designed to effectively meet and respond to the needs of these challenging students in a virtual environment. This webinar will provide the tools student affairs professionals need to help “difficult” students achieve their educational and life goals.

Brief Outline

  • Moving Online: What Stays the Same/What Has to Change
  • “Difficult” Students: Who They Are/What They Need
  • Triggers: What to Look Out For/What to Avoid
  • Turning Frustration into Fulfillment
  • Reasonable Student Behavior: Expectations and Strategies
  • Coming Back from the Brink: De-escalation Skills
  • We're All In This Together: Supporting Our Faculty Colleagues
  • Evidence-Based Best Practices: Doing What Works Online
  • Case Studies: Pulling It All Together.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Explore how online student services differ from their traditional, face-to-face counterparts.
  2. Review the general characteristics and types of “difficult” online students.
  3. Identify the potential triggers that can precipitate, often unintentionally, negative student behaviors in a virtual environment.
  4. Examine sources of student frustration and anxiety that many students experience on a daily basis that can cause them to act in unproductive and unpleasant ways.
  5. Demonstrate how “difficult” students’ needs can be met within the context of an online environment, where all interactions take place virtually.
  6. Investigate how student affairs professionals can partner with their faculty colleagues to deal more effectively with difficult online students.
  7. Dissect evidence-based best practices in implementing online interventions with “difficult” students.
  8. Critique real-life examples of both effective and ineffective ways of responding to the needs of “difficult” students when using an online platform.

Who Should Attend:

This webinar should be of interest to anyone responsible for delivering student services online; i.e., Academic Advising, Career Services, Admissions and Recruitment, Student Activities and Organizations, Counseling Center, Student Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, Student Discipline, etc.


Dr. Aaron W HugheyDr. Aaron W Hughey is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University, where he oversees the graduate degree program in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Before joining the faculty in 1991, he spent 10 years in progressive administrative positions, including five years as the Associate Director of University Housing at WKU. He was also head of the department of Counseling and Student Affairs for five years before returning to the faculty full-time in 2008. Dr. Hughey has degrees from the University of Tennessee at Martin, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Western Kentucky University, and Northern Illinois University. He has authored (or co-authored) over 70 refereed publications on a wide range of issues including leadership and student development, standardized testing, diversity, legal issues (including compliance), technology, and educational administration. He regularly presents at national and international conferences and consults extensively with companies and schools. He also provides training and professional development programs on a variety of topics centered on student success; moving student services online is one of his specialties.

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