Information for Faculty and Staff

Supporting students: The 4R framework

The last 10 years have seen a marked increase in the complexity of student struggles in post-secondary institutions across Canada, which leads to increased responsibility on faculty and staff. Responding promptly and effectively to students in need leads to better academic performance, increased student retention, and higher overall quality of education.

Students’ needs can be complex, and it can be difficult to know what steps to take to support a student who may be struggling. However, it is made easier by remembering these 4 Rs for supporting students in need:

Full details about the 4R Framework are available on the Loop. Download the 4R Framework pamphlet, as well as other materials and resources, from the .

When should I submit an Early Assist report?

IZUNA employees should report their concerns to Early Assist if they:

  • Have concerns about a student’s wellbeing, behaviour, or academic progress – especially if it’s a concern that may cause the student longer term problems if not addressed early.
  • Have tried to provide support that is not working.
  • Are unsure about what to do, who to call, or how to help.

Reports to Early Assist fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Academic
  • Behavioural
  • Health & Wellbeing

Not sure whether to submit an Early Assist report? When in doubt, fill one out.


Can I refer a student directly to a support service, or do I have to go through Early Assist?

You can always refer a student directly to a support service. However, coming forward to ask for help is difficult for some students. When you submit an Early Assist report, we can follow up with the student in case they are having difficulty accessing support services.

Not sure whether to submit an Early Assist report? When in doubt, fill one out.


How do I talk to students about Early Assist?

Students are introduced to Early Assist as part of Kickstart. However, repetition is important, and transparency is crucial.

  • Talk about Early Assist early on in the term.
  • Include information about Early Assist on course outlines.
  • If there is a specific student you are concerned about, speak to the student directly. You may want to show them the report form, or even have them help you fill it out.

Download suggested wording for course outlines and other resources from the .


What if there is an emergency involving a student?

Early Assist is not meant for emergencies. If there is an immediate threat to anyone’s safety or security, call Security or 911.


After I submit a report, what will happen next?

You will receive an automated response confirming that your report was submitted successfully. Within 2 business days, you will receive an email or phone call from someone in the Student Life Office confirming that your report was received and providing you with any appropriate information that does not breach the student’s privacy.


What if a student does not respond to being contacted through the Early Assist process?

The Student Life Office will make two attempts to contact the student by email. If the office does not hear back from the student, the matter will be considered closed. An exception to this would be if there is a concern for the student’s safety.

It is the student’s choice whether or not to respond. There is no penalty for not responding, and students can still access supports at any time.