Center: coordinated intervention for students struggling academically

ALAC staff collaborate with department representatives, faculty members, and other campus resources to identify students who face challenges in their academic progress, and to help the students perform more effectively.

  • The Electronic Warning System (EWS) helps instructors alert academic advisors if a student is having difficulty in a class, so ALAC can coordinate with other offices as needed to provide necessary support.
  • The First-Year Intervention Program (FYIP) provides structured individual support for students who encounter academic problems in their first semester. (Similar support for sophomores, juniors, and seniors is coordinated by the Office of Student Success.)
  • The Academic Standing Committee reviews the academic progress of students who have been on probation twice and still show weak performance.  Depending on possible mitigating factors, a student may be continued on probation once again.  In the case of continued weak performance, a student may be dismissed from Rensselaer.

Undergraduate students, the Advising & Learning Assistance Center (ALAC) supports you throughout your undergraduate academic career, and helps you prepare successfully for your next adventure. Contact us at 518.276.6269.  We are here to help.

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Electronic Warning System

The Electronic Warning System (EWS) helps instructors, academic advisors, ALAC staff, and others to alert each other to a student showing possible problems so services can be coordinated as needed.

When an instructor or academic advisor notices that a student has problems in a particular class or with academic progress in general, filing an EWS message shares that information with others so that services can be coordinated to help the student. Reported concerns might include irregular attendance, assignments not handed in, poor test or quiz performance, poor math skills, poor communication skills, failing a course, missing an advisor meeting, slow rate of progress, or other issues. Once an EWS message is submitted, an email describing the problem(s) or concern(s) is sent to the student (in all but "other" cases), plus the instructor, academic advisor, advising Hub representative, Student Success Office, and ALAC. The instructor and/or academic advisor is expected to contact and meet with the student to resolve the concerns. If a student has multiple warnings or the concern goes beyond academic matters, support offices such as the Counseling Center, Student Success Office and/or ALAC are asked to intervene.

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First-Year Intervention Program (FYIP)

The First-Year Intervention Program (FYIP) provides structured individual support for students who encounter academic problems in their first semester. (Similar support for sophomores, juniors, and seniors is coordinated by the Office of Student Success.)

ALAC and the Office of First Year Experience (FYE) collaborate on this comprehensive program for all first-year students who have a grade point average (GPA) under 1.5/4.0 after their fall semester. The program has three components:  weekly seminars, tutoring, and mentoring. The weekly seminars cover topics such as learning strategies, time management, organizational skills, and test-taking skills, as well as information on campus resources to help students improve their ability to handle academic challenges.  Specific tutoring sessions are coordinated by ALAC to connect the student with a Learning Assistant (LA) or Teaching & Learning Assistant (TLA) to address content questions and test preparation. Finally, students meet with a mentor from their department on a regular basis to build a stronger connection with faculty and staff.

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Academic Standing Committee

The Academic Standing Committee reviews students’ academic progress. At the end of each semester, the Committee meets to review the files of students previously on probation who show continued or repeated poor performance.  Each student is notified that their file will be reviewed, and has an opportunity to write a letter of explanation of any possible extenuating circumstances that may have adversely affected their ability to focus on coursework.  ALAC staff coordinate the reviews and summarize the Committee's decisions in written reports to academic leadership.  Each student is notified individually on the results of the academic review.

Students continued on probation (COP) for a second or subsequent semester are required to meet with ALAC professional staff. As explained below, a student with persistently low grades may be dismissed from Rensselaer. They may be able to apply for re-admission at a later date.  See the Rensselaer catalog or call the Office of Student Siccess for more details.

Probation

Students are placed on academic probation as a warning that they are in jeopardy of losing their good academic standing. Students are informed of their probationary status on their CAPP/transcript, and are sent a letter by the Advising & Learning Assistance Center at the end of the semester. Academic and extracurricular restrictions may be placed on them so that they can concentrate on their academic programs.

A student whose grade point average for any term falls below 1.5 is placed on academic probation. In addition, any student whose cumulative grade point average falls below the following specified averages is automatically placed on probation:

  • freshman: 1.5 at the end of the fall term or 1.8 after two terms
  • sophomore: 1.8 for first term or 2.0 second term
  • junior and senior: 2.0.

In some cases, after one or more probation periods, a student may be dismissed from Rensselaer due to persistently low grades.

Dismissal

The Committee on Academic Standing reviews the records of students subject to dismissal. The committee is authorized to dismiss any student who:

  • Fails to qualify for removal from probation status at the end of a second consecutive term on probation.
  • Has been on probation for two non-consecutive terms and is subject a third time to probationary status.
  • Fails three of more courses (three F grades) in any one term.

A student who has been dismissed may be able to apply for re-admission at a later date.  Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis bu the Academic Standing Committee. Details will be included in the dismissal letter; explanations can also be found in the Rensselaer catalog.

Members of the Academic Standing Committee

Rensselaer’s Academic Standing Committee is composed of the ALAC Director; the Dean of Students; the Undergraduate Associate Dean from each of the five schools; three faculty representatives appointed by the Faculty Senate; the Registrar; a representative from the Counseling Center; and other administrative staff as appropriate.  ALAC staff coordinate the reviews and summarize the Committee’s decisions in written reports to academic leadership. Each student is notified individually on the results of the academic review.