U. initiatives aid students

Andrew Scharf and Andrew Scharf

Freshmen students having difficulties with their classes may receive words of advice from the University.

This semester the University implemented a plan to give freshmen students a heads up when experiencing academic problems. Students earning a grade below a C will receive a phone call from their academic advisors.

“We are trying to reach out and get in touch with students using a real voice and real people,” Roger Thibault associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “We are trying to insure student success.”

The phone calls are meant to keep the students from becoming discouraged. Advisors stressed to freshmen the various programs on campus that can help them, including academic enhancement, writer’s lab, and math lab. It is also used to show students that the college is concerned with their success.

“Must students were happy to be called,” Alberto Gonzalez, Vice Provost and professor, said. “This is our way of being proactive.”

The system works by having professors calculating a midterm grade. Professors who had any grades then report them to the colleges on campus. The colleges then give advisers a list of students that currently have a grade below a C.

Students receive a letter from the college if they have one grade below a C. If two of their class grades are below a C, then the student is called. Many professors told their students about the plan at the start of the semester.

The idea was created in order to try and increase the retention rates of freshmen students.

“Students are less much likely to persist if they get below a 2.0,” Gonzalez, said.

The University will look at retention rates next fall to determine the effectiveness of the program. If the program is deemed successful then it may be implemented to all students.

Those in involved with the initiative see the benefits of it, but also understand that some students may be irritated by the phone call.

“Some students might like it pointed out to them, but others might not,” Gonzalez said.

According to Thibault the overall reaction from students to the initiative has been positive. Following the phone call, many of the students made appointments to meet with their academic advisors. Only a few students involved appeared to be annoyed by the phone call.

The iniatitive will continue next semester.