Early Alert

A Very Important Resource for Instructors: Early Alert

If you have concerns about a student’s academic progress, or they seem particularly detached from the academic environment (not attending class, being distant during a class, or always arriving late), please use our early alert system at any time during the quarter (use it early and often, is our motto).

What is Early Alert?

Kalamazoo College has had an Early Alert system in place since 1996. Each quarter faculty and advisors are asked to notify the Early Alert Committee of advisees or students in their classes who are struggling or disengaged, unresponsive to attempts at contact, or who otherwise seem to be in academic or personal difficulty. Advisors are notified immediately via email of all reports submitted about their advisees. We expect that advisors respond promptly by meeting with the advisee to help them assess the problem, see what changes might be made, and refer them to resources as needed.

The Early Alert Committee, a group of academic and student development administrators, meets weekly each term between Weeks 2 and 9 to review all reports, determine if there might be a larger problem, and make plans for follow-up, if needed. Faculty should report students to Early Alert (early, as the name implies, and frequently) whenever they have concerns about a student experiencing academic difficulty, or if a student seems particularly disengaged from the academic environment. Students reported may show some of the following symptoms: poor attendance or participation; missed assignments or tests; chronic lateness or sleeping in class; signs of emotional or physical distress; disruptive classroom behavior; chronic unavailability for advising appointments; unresponsiveness; and so on.

Please note that academic difficulty may not be limited to failing grades; a student may be passing a course, but nevertheless appear detached or exhibit other worrisome behaviors. A grade of D or F in coursework should be an automatic trigger of concern. When in doubt, you should alert students about whom you are concerned, even if you are following up yourself. Also remember that students may need more than one alert. If you see no change in progress/behavior over the course of a week or two, please submit another alert.

 If a student has been reported more than one time, for more than one course, or is showing symptoms of trouble in other areas, a member of the EA Committee will reach out to the advisor and/or student directly. Early Alert reports are considered confidential to the committee and the advisor. If, when you are reporting, you would prefer that the student not be informed of the report, the Committee will find a discreet way of following up. Also remember that students *often* may need more than one alert. The committee is interested in knowing about continued signs of problematic academic behavior. When in doubt, submit an Early Alert. If you see no change in academic progress over the course of a week or two – again – submit an Early Alert.

The EA (Early Alert) online reporting link is located on the Hornet Hive (hive.kzoo.edu) in the “Resources” area – the left-side navigation column. Look for a triangle with an exclamation point in the shape (unless the student is neither member of your class nor an advisee, in which case, email: Early.Alert@kzoo.edu). Please contact Lesley Clinard, Director of Academic Advising and Chair of the Early Alert Committee (lclinard@kzoo.edu or 337-5767) if you have any questions.