Student success, persistence, and graduation are vitally important to the campus. Research on first-year student retention supports early identification/intervention programs as high impact activities that positively affect student success.
The Early Alert system is an outreach program designed for early detection and intervention of students exhibiting signs of academic distress. The system utilizes a campus-wide coaching/advising and tutoring information system (GradesFirst) to allow faculty to report student progress or distress. Faculty reports are viewable by academic coaches and enable staff in the office of First-Year Studies to collaborate with other academic success departments in determining the best possible success intervention.
“At a large university like UT, it is easy for students to think that no one notices,” says Karen Sullivan-Vance, associate vice provost for student success. “We know that all students face challenges at some point in their university studies, but having equitable support to meet the challenge can be the deciding factor in a student learning from the event, persisting, and moving on to graduation. Early alerts offer an opportunity for us to intervene right at the point when a student begins to struggle.”
Faculty can do a great deal to make UT a better institution by providing feedback on student engagement and performance early in the term.
Personal Contact: Request to meet with students who are missing class, not completing homework or doing poorly on assignments, quizzes, and exams.
Early Alert Request: Participate in once a semester requests for feedback on student progress. Student feedback provided by faculty through GradesFirst is available to academic success staff and students for action.
Email First-Year Studies: Email staff in the office anytime with questions about the process or GradesFirst at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff are devoted to ensuring a smooth transition and a successful experience for all students in their first year at the UT.
Refer to academic coach: Encourage students to make an appointment with an academic coach in the Student Success Center. How to schedule an academic coaching appointment.
“Every time faculty send an early alert referral to us, they are making a positive difference in the student’s life,” Sullivan-Vance says. “Any time faculty want to talk about the early alert process and have a coffee on me, I’ll meet them on campus and buy them one as a thank you!”