Making It Personal: Supporting Students Below 2.0 GPA

  • Erin McSherry George Mason University
  • Diana Keay George Mason University


Location: Dewberry Hall

Developed by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Academic Affairs office, the Personal Academic Support and Success (PASS) Program applies an individualized approach and appreciative advising framework to supporting students who have fallen below a 2.0 cumulative GPA. By incorporating responses from a comprehensive pre-assessment that explores various barriers to academic success, program mentors work with students over the course of a semester on a unique plan to improve factors such as mindset, persistence, self-efficacy, effective communication, organizational skills, awareness of campus resources, and more. In addition, PASS emphasizes the importance of the faculty-student and advisor-student relationship and requires students to engage in self-reflection throughout the semester. The overarching goal of the PASS program is to broaden students’ support network and positively impact academic confidence and performance.

Participants will be able to learn strategies for working with academically at-risk undergraduate students, to include how an accompanying Blackboard organization was created to support completion of the PASS program either in-person or fully online. Participants will also learn about a collaboration between the program administrators and students within a graduate psychology course, which resulted in a more effective, intentional, and well-designed pre-assessment survey.

Author Biographies

Erin McSherry, George Mason University

Erin McSherry has been an academic advisor within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) since 2010, supporting students in multiple major programs. As the Director of Advising and Retention in CHSS, she guides advising and retention initiatives within the college and designs opportunities for the professional development of the college's advisors. Erin earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology from Old Dominion University and her master's degree in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University.

Diana Keay, George Mason University

Diana Keay holds an M.S. in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and a B.A. in Industrial Design from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Colombia. Mrs. Keay coordinates and implements advising initiatives and mentoring programs to undergraduate students at risk. In addition to her role as the academic success advisor, she teaches psychology and student development courses at Mason and Northern Virginia Community College.

4:15pm-5:30pm POSTER SESSION (Group B- 4:45-5:15pm)