Supporting Student Success: Focus on Early Alert

Jeannie Brown Leonard, Kimberly Holmes, Melissa Broeckelman-Post, Sally Sagen Lorentson, Adrienne Thompson

Session Information

Year: 2018 | Time: 11:20am-12:00pm | Location: PANEL & ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Johnson Center (Room F)

Abstract

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

 

Learn about current efforts at Mason to assist undergraduate students who are struggling to persist and discuss how faculty can partner with administrators to support student success. Following a brief primer on the role of early alerts in student success and an overview of interventions and resources in place at Mason from panelists, participants will share their strategies for supporting students in the courses they teach and brainstorm creative ways to scale existing interventions at Mason. Participants will be able to explain how the university provides faculty early alert data on students; identify resources available for students on campus; and describe strategies they can use in their own courses.

 

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FULL ABSTRACT:

“It takes a village.” “If you see something, say something.” “Student success is everyone’s responsibility.” These phrases offer a structure to this proposed panel discussion on engaging faculty in student success with a focus on early alert. Mason is a large, complex institution with many resources in place to assist students in meeting their academic and personal goals. These resources offer opportunities for enrichment as well as remediation or support. The “village” is teaming with programs and services, but students do not always know about options or do not partake. Faculty members who are connecting with students regularly via a course, either in person or online, are in a position to say something when they see a student in trouble.  What steps can faculty take when a student’s class attendance is irregular or when assignments are missing or late? What about students who are disruptive in class or who share disturbing details in a writing assignment? What about the student who is attentive in class, has submitted all assignments, but fails the first exam? 

 

Although true, the idea that student success is everyone’s responsibility often has the effect of making it no one’s responsibility. Panelists include campus leaders for student success in both Academic Affairs and University Life as well as a pioneering faculty partner in our early alert efforts. The idea behind early alert is to provide resources and support early enough in the semester to allow students to change their behavior to improve their academic performance or their engagement patterns so that they are able to and interested in persisting at Mason. We capture insights about students’ experiences in the 5th and 6th week of the semester via the Patriot Success Survey and design interventions based on these self-report data. We have conducted an analysis of student engagement in Blackboard that indicates that students who are a full standard deviation below the mean for page views are at risk of earning grades of D or F in the course. Pilot outreach efforts have made a difference. Midterm grades offer students and advisors an indication of progress, but currently only about 75% of faculty teaching 100 and 200-level classes successfully submit midterm grades each semester.  Faculty are invited to provide progress reports on student athletes, but the response rate is below 50%. How can we do better?

 

A diverse student population needs more than one pathway to receiving institutional support. 

Faculty members in all disciplines are in a position to influence the educational experiences of the students they teach. Our goal is to create multiple ways for faculty to support student success by participating in early alerts that make sense given the classes they teach.

Following a brief primer on the role of early alerts in student success and an overview of interventions in place at Mason from panelists, participants will share their strategies for supporting students and brainstorm creative ways to scale existing interventions at Mason. Current and emerging technologies may assist us, but the insights of faculty are critical to creating a culture of challenge and support for student success.

Panelists: 

Jeannie Brown Leonard, Dean, Student Academic Affairs

Kimberly M. Holmes, Assistant Dean, Director of Retention and Student Success

Melissa Broeckelman-Post, Assistant Professor, Basic Course Director, Communication Department

Sally Sagen Lorentson, Associate Dean, University Life

Adrienne Thompson, Associate Director for Student Success, University Life

Keywords

student engagement; critical thinking

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