Centralia College just launched their new Academic Alert program in March. The result of collaboration between faculty and student services, this tool was created to help keep academically struggling students from falling through the cracks. When instructors notice students with low scores, several missing assignments, or unexplained absences, they can now submit an Academic Alert online form, initiating intervention for these at risk students before it’s too late. The web based alert system, developed primarily by Samuel Small, applications developer, features an advantage over other system designs because it adds in a vital ingredient: personal connection.
Retention Coordinator Kimberly Ingram provides that special connection. As one of the key players in the new program, she contacts students personally after she receives alerts from their professors and walks them through the next step, whether that’s tutoring, meeting with their advisor or professor, or getting connected with a specialty group on campus. Directing them to the right people or services to help them succeed, Ingram offers these students something more—hope.
“We have such a great opportunity. We’re small enough to connect with our students. From TriO to athletes, they get the sense that we really care about their academics, their career. We provide enough support to help them make wise decisions,” shares Ingram.
Providing a better system for tracking at-risk students, Academic Alert also allows faculty access throughout the quarter, unlike other systems that normally alert only in the first three weeks of class.
“You can measure the strength of a college by how successful we are at being able to support students when they are doing well and when they are going through challenging times,” Ingram points out. Eventually, the program will allow faculty and staff to send out positive alerts also, recognizing when students are doing well academically. Offering this kind of personal support and encouragement shows that Centralia College truly cares about all its students.
The Academic Alert program will be first implemented in the math department during spring quarter. In summer quarter, both math and English departments will utilize the system. By fall quarter, Academic Alert should be available in all departments and accessible by both faculty and staff