Automated Academic Alert
University of Kentucky Information Technology (UKIT) and Undergraduate Studies implemented at the beginning of the fall 2011 semester an automated process for UK professors and advisors to submit an academic alert for any undergraduate student showing signs of having academic difficulty. The new process increases security, decreases the risk of human error, and eliminates a manual process. Automated academic alerts are expected to decrease resolution time and provide information that will lead to increased retention rates for students.
A new application, available from the myUK portal, provides appropriate faculty, teaching assistants, and staff with an “Academic Alert” link on the Faculty Services tab. When an alert is needed, clicking the link provides a student search by UK link blue ID, first or last name, or Student number. Then dropdown and field boxes appear enabling the submitter to indicate the type of alert needed (missed classes, habitually late, homework not submitted, poor quality homework, disruptive behavior, and immediate danger) as well as the course and section number and comments. The option to send the alert to the student is also available and is determined before submission.
Once the alert is submitted, an email is sent to the appropriate advisor. The email message contains a link to a secure viewer in the portal; to open this link requires link blue credentials. Student information is not included in the notification email to ensure that all FERPA requirements are met or exceeded.
Advisors are expected to follow up on each alert and record the actions taken. A log of the alerts and the resolution of each is maintained and submitted to the Office of Institutional Research for reporting. A Business Objects report has been created for key decision makers in Undergraduate Studies to review the information being collected.
Initial feedback from undergraduate advisors and submitters regarding the improved process is positive. Users agree that submitting alerts through the myUK portal decreases resolution time, increases security, and provides a valuable tool for identifying students who may need extra attention to ensure their success at the university.
Questions and suggestions for the Academic Alert system and process can be directed to Susan Herrick: firstname.lastname@example.org.