An Academic Alert is a tool faculty members can use to help notify a student that “something” is not going well in their course. They also serve to officially communicate with a team of student support professionals across campus who can provide additional resources to students. Academic Alerts may be filed for reasons such as excessive absences, late assignment submissions, poorly written assignments, failed exams, etc. Essentially, anything that would obstruct a student’s success in the classroom could warrant an Academic Alert. With student success in mind, it is important to provide concrete examples and specific grade information when filing an Alert. If you report class standing, please offer the student’s grade(s) as well as the class average, as it helps to give context to the student’s needs.
Before filing an Academic Alert, faculty should first address the relevant concerns via direct communication with the student, whether through face-to-face communication, feedback on assignments (written or electronic), or via e-mail. Ideally, there should not be anything reported in an Alert that the student would not already be aware of. Once filed, an Academic Alert will share via email a copy of details with the student and their academic advisor. The report will also automatically be recorded in a student records database, so you should refrain from including any information that may be perceived as offensive or inappropriate (such as a statement about your perception of a student’s health status, appearance, or similar nonfactual details). It is best to report information for which you have documented evidence, usually details relating to attendance, class engagement, and/or performance on evaluative components of the class. The Academic Resource Center monitors all Academic Alerts filed by faculty at the College of Wooster and will immediately reach out to students who receive 2 or more Academic Alerts in a semester.
In general, the sooner a student and the system of an Academic Alert begins, the more time there will be for proactive student outreach and support. However, even if it is late in the semester and no previous Alerts have been submitted, it is still a good decision to file one. Academic Alert data is helpful for developing a record of communication regarding a student’s progress, even if it seems too late to salvage their class standing. In some cases, this communication can prepare students for disappointing final outcomes and can make for more informed course selection for the future.
Faculty can access the Academic Alert form on Scotweb.
More specific suggestions:
|Point in Semester||Common Purpose of Alert||Additional Notes & Details|
1 & 2
|Absenteeism Submitting an alert early in the semester when students are missing classes repeatedly signifies that attendance is important and is monitored.||Weeks 1 and 2 are the standard “add” period. A student can drop a class without petitioning and without penalty during this time and still have time to add another class.|
3 & 4
|Participation & Assignment Performance Within a month, patterns of behavior start to emerge, and this can include performance on early assignments or in-class.||Report Absenteeism and any other behaviors that may lead to a student doing poorly in the course.|
5 & 6
|Class standing/Performance By policy, all students should receive feedback on a significant, graded assignment within the first 6 weeks. This offers an opportunity to give timely feedback before the 6-week drop deadline, the point at which students may drop a class without penalty.||Report for absenteeism, participation, assignment performance, or any other relevant reason.|
|Change in attendance, test scores, or assignment completion; If the student can no longer pass the class Continued use of Academic Alerts can help to frame a student’s expectations and course planning.||Report for absenteeism, participation, assignment performance, class standing, or any other reason. (Note: it is helpful to include a student’s overall standing and whether the student can successfully pass the course.)|
If you have concerns about personal, physical, or mental health issues, it is best to submit a Care Team Referral Form. The Care Team is the College of Wooster’s behavioral support team that provides coordinated support for the entire campus community, including students, faculty, and staff. Care Team members are trained to help address concerns about behavior, stressful situations, academic progress, and mental health. The team gathers information regarding a community member’s wellbeing from personal interactions with students, faculty, staff, and family members, as well as from referrals submitted by other members of the Wooster community.
The Care Team Referral Form is available for all Wooster community members to fill out if they think a student, faculty, or staff member could use additional support over a personal concern. Care Team Referrals are not directly shared with a student and are meant as a space for others to share concerns they have about the individual.
Some students may require both an Academic Alert and a Care Team referral. For example, some students may be experiencing poor academic progress because of a personal issue they have shared with faculty. In this case a Care Team report would be important, but because it is not directly shared with a student, an Academic Alert would also help to inform the student of how they are performing in the course. This helps to establish that academic behaviors need to change or that additional supports need to be explored for the student to be successful. Once a report is filed with the Care Team, they will assess whether the student may need additional support from the Wellness Center, CDI, Title IX, or ARC and they will coordinate with other departments as necessary.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement at x2008.