Case Study Competition 2019

HECMA Graduate Student Case Study Competition

Are you a graduate student interested in Higher Education Case Management? Participate in our Graduate Student Case Study Competition, with the chance to present your case study at the HECMA 2020 Conference in Portland!



Guidelines & Eligibility

  • Individuals must be currently enrolled in a Master-level graduate program
  • Responses should be submitted individually
  • Individuals should use relevant literature, where appropriate, for their presentation
  • The individual with the most successful response agrees to present their presentation at the HECMA 2020 annual conference in Portland, Oregon
  • In submitting your response, please feel free to be creative
  • Your response should not exceed 5 minutes if submitted in video format
  • Please submit responses by December 2, 2019, at


Prize(s): 1st place: Conference Registration to HECMA Annual Conference and chance to present results during the conference; 2nd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card



Case Study information

Institutional Information:

You are serving as a Case Manager in the Dean of Students Office at HECMA University. You are responsible for responding to students in need and connecting them with resources to support their well-being and success.

Original Information Received: 

You received an Incident Report from Campus Police that shared that police responded to a welfare check for a student, Sarah, the previous night. The report was called in by a suitemate in Sarah’s residence hall that was concerned for Sarah, who made a comment about “having too much going on and not wanting to be here anymore.”  The police offered to take Sarah to the hospital, but she declined and shared she’d be safe for the evening.


In responding to the case study below, please answer the following questions:

What information did/ would you want to gather before the meeting?  What questions would you ask Sarah in your meeting?

After the meeting, what are your next steps?  Who, if anyone, would you consult with? Any other considerations to be sure to focus on?  

What theory or theories could you use to inform your work? Explain.

What interventions would you provide in order to promote Sarah’s success & well-being?

What other questions would you ask Sarah in your meeting?

How could you collaborate with other offices or campus partners to ensure Sarah’s safety and success?


Prior to your meeting:

  • Sarah’s mother calls and shares her concerns as Sarah’s ex-partner reached out to her via Instagram concerned for Sarah, but didn’t share details other than the “police were involved”.
  • The parent of a suitemate called the Office of the President concerned as they heard the police had been to the suite and they’d heard there was no follow-up. They were worried about their child’s safety and wanted to know what was going to be “done” with Sarah. You were not notified of this until after the Dean of Students asked you about the offices’ response in a meeting the next morning.


Information shared by Sarah in your meeting (5 days after welfare check):

  • Sarah wasn’t sure which suitemate would have called the information into police, but said she had a rough week as she had ended a relationship, received two midterm grades, and missed work (which resulted in losing her job) which caused additional stress due to her family financial situation.
  • Sarah did share she had suicidal thoughts in high school which she’d shared with some friends in the residence halls, but this was the first time she’d been this stressed and actually mentioned proceeding with suicide.
  • She currently is not connected to any helping professionals but does see a family practitioner when she goes home as they prescribed antidepressants.
  • Her primary concern is her math class midterm as it may be too low to recover from.  She shared her other midterm wasn’t as bad as she thought after talking with the faculty member.




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