Retention Alert in place to help students, not discipline them

For most college students, an email regarding his or her class performance can seem like a death note, but, as Center for Student Academic Support Director and ADA/504 Coordinator Tawny Rigsby points out, this may not be such a bad thing. In fact, the University of Tulsa’s Retention Alert program serves as just the opposite — a blessing in disguise.

Retention Alert is a proactive outreach system started by the university where professors and other faculty can electronically submit concerns regarding students. “Faculty can get on and report concerns about students for things like missing assignments, low test scores, English fluency, sleeping in class and being tardy,” Rigsby said. “Anything that the student has issues with.”

CSAS, along with other departments such as Athletic Student Services, International Student Services and the Collegiate Advising Offices, will then reach out to the student through email and, if that doesn’t work, through a phone call.

This definitely isn’t a disciplinary measure, though. The goal is to reach out to students instead of waiting for them to seek help, which isn’t just proactive but can also be a lot less intimidating for some students. This way, the problem at hand can be identified and remedied before it becomes a real issue.

“Students will tend to wait and not take any action, and, a lot of times, this makes things worse,” Rigsby said.

This doesn’t just happen to a few select students, either. CSAS reaches out to a variety of students dealing with financial, health and family issues and refers them to different services such as tutoring and academic counseling.

Retention Alert usually handles over 1000 cases per semester and has been able to intervene in a lot of serious situations, often with positive results. According to the University of Tulsa’s website, the overall CSAS success rate for students who sought academic counseling in spring of 2016 was 81 percent.

So, the next time you receive an email from CSAS, don’t look at it as a disciplinary action, but see it as an offer to help.

Post Author: Nick Rethford