The Academic Alert Program is designed to identify students who are having academic difficulty at any point during their education at ECU. By identifying these students, a Retention Specialist can attempt to address their needs, thereby increasing the likelihood of their success. The primary goal of this program is to assist faculty and staff in improving the motivation and performance of underachieving students in an effort to better ECU’s capacity to retain these students.
While the faculty member should always be the first person to establish contact with the student and address issues, it is true that often faculty do not have the time or resources to get to the root of each student's problem. A Retention Specialist can support faculty in their efforts to help students.
How does this work?
- Academic Alert is a system for identifying students who are having difficulties in a given course. Faculty awareness of potential student problems constitutes the backbone of the Academic Alert Program. Students may be identified for Academic Alert for a variety of reasons, including frequent absences, accommodations, behavioral issues, excessive tardiness, test scores, language skills, and writing ability. Faculty members and instructors who have identified such issues should submit an Academic Alert Form by going to the myECU Portal https://myecu.ecok.edu/ics and clicking on Academic Alert Program Referral Form.
- Once the notice is received, the Retention Specialist will contact students via e-mail and/or phone, and apprise them of the faculty member’s concerns, so they can take steps to improve their performance in the class. The names of students identified in the process are also sent to academic advisors. Advisors contacted before midterm can assist students in making more informed judgments about academic plans.
- A retention specialist will meet with the student. Together they will discuss the student’s academic concerns, and the retention specialist will suggest resources for the student to access as well as set up an academic action plan. A follow-up e-mail or phone call is completed within 10 days.
Who participates in Academic Alert?
Faculty members, instructors, advisors, and staff work together to provide an effective system of Academic intervention to improve student success. All instructors are given the opportunity to participate in the Academic Alert Program.
When should an instructor use the Academic Alert Program?
Any faculty member who is concerned about a student's failure to attend classes and /or a student's poor performance in class is encouraged to submit the Academic Alert Form at any time in the semester. Research shows that the earlier the student is made aware of faculty concerns regarding his or her performance, the sooner interventions can be initiated to increase the student's potential to achieve academic success. Some instructors submit names after the first test, while some wait for two tests to see if there is a pattern. While some instructors submit names of students who have scored below a C on the first test, others prefer to only send in names of students with failing grades. There is a section on the Academic Alert form for submitting comments. This allows instructors to indicate that they are submitting names for reasons other than low test scores.
What should I tell the students in my class about the Academic Alert Program?
Faculty members could place information about the Academic Alert Program in their syllabus, and also announce it as part of the class introduction. The following is an example:
Hello to all ECU (BIOL 1114) students. The Student Academic Success Center has developed an Academic Alert Program for students who are having difficulty in their classes. I have agreed to participate in this program and submit the names and numbers of all those students who score less than 70 percent on the first exam, or for those of you I feel are in need of other academic/personal assistance. This is an excellent program that is designed to assist students in being successful this semester. I have included a description of the Academic Alert Program below:
- This program is being developed as a retention tool to improve students’ academic persistence and to provide students with resources to support their efforts. It is designed for faculty to identify, report, and provide feedback for students who are at risk in a course. Faculty members will be able to electronically detail concerns regarding student performance and behavior or simply provide a list of students.
- These referrals will be reported electronically to the Office of Student Retention. Within 24 - 48 hours of a referral, the Office of Student Retention will make contact with the student, and offer a meeting with the student to discuss concerns and to connect the student to campus resources appropriate to the student's needs. The retention specialists will conduct ongoing assessment to evaluate the level of student response and outcomes of the effort.
Office of Student Retention
East Central University
Jami Graham, Retention Coordinator
Student Academic Success Center
East Central University