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Project Title:Freshmen Academic Probation Project/Academic Advising and Retention CenterInstitution Name:Western Kentucky University (WKU) Innovation Category:Retention/Completion Project Director:Carol Alicie, Academic Advisor, AARC, or Londa Holder, Academic Advisor, AARCContact Information:(270) 745-5065, carol.alicie@wku.edu, londa.holder@wku.edu, Website:http://wku.edu/advising/
Project Description:The Freshmen Academic Probation Project is designed to identify freshmen who ended their first or second term on Academic Probation and ensure that they are scheduled in the upcoming future term to take any developmental courses that will supplement their ability to successfully complete college-level work. In addition to developmental work, academic advisors review the results of the preceding term to determine if other coursework needs to be retaken during the future term. The project was first undertaken following the fall term of 2009 and is conducted by the advising staff of the Academic Advising and Retention Center.
Objectives:
  • Timely completion of developmental coursework (as measured by reports identifying uncompleted developmental requirements)
  • Identification of problem areas for each student to enable personal follow-up (as measured by tutor set-up or counseling service follow-up, among others)
  • Immediate retaking of failed coursework while information is still retained (as measured by the successful completion of previously failed coursework)
  • Assure students on Academic Probation of their eligibility for continued enrollment (as measured by retention numbers for returning first-year students) 
Outcomes:
  •  Following fall 2010 - 642 Main Campus Freshmen Academic Probation students were reviewed:
    • 101 schedules were changed to include developmental retakes
    • 133 schedules were not changed, retakes already scheduled
    • 105 were not reviewed due to fall 0.0 GPA and no spring 2011 schedule
    • 121 were emailed re: part-time spring schedule
    • 53 were emailed re: no spring classes, 13 responded not returning
    • 106 were not reviewed due to time constraints
    • 23 misc. responses and actions taken
  •  Following fall 2009 - 592 Main Campus Freshmen Academic Probation students were reviewed with similar results. 
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Time constraints create the greatest challenge to this project. There are three weeks between the time staff return to work following the break and when students return. Any changes to schedules must be made within the three weeks in order for students to be notified of the change and make arrangements to have the appropriate books for the semester. Additionally, we do not drop a student’s entire schedule but drop classes they do not qualify to move on to and add needed developmental classes and developmental retakes. Finding open classes that will work with the existing schedule does present challenges. 
Evaluation Approach:This project is evaluated by the actions taken in each individual case to ensure the successful completion of developmental courses. At the end of each term a report is generated that tells what students failed developmental courses and the results of their retaking of these classes. There is a report that tracks the fulfillment of developmental courses, including courses not previously taken. These reports lead to adaptation of the project for future terms.
Potential for Replication:This project can be easily adapted for use by academic institutions. An important factor to making this project work is a good working relationship with Institutional Technology personnel for developing reports. Staff is also needed to actually do the review of each schedule and make the needed changes. When schedules are changed, the student’s academic advisor needs to be copied on the email to the student so that they are aware of the changes made to their advisees’ schedule.  
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Gary A. Ransdell , Presidentpresident@wku.edu
(270) 745-4346
Date Published: Monday, April 4, 2011