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Friday, October 05, 2012 - Early Alert program aims to identify, assist struggling students
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

With the start of a new semester, Oakland University has a range of initiatives in place to help students focus on the finish line of graduation. One of those programs, called Early Alert, aims to identify students who are experiencing academic difficulties or who need help connecting with campus resources.

Sponsored by Oakland’s Academic Affairs Division, the program is a proactive way to assist students early in the semester, while there is ample time to resolve issues and overcome challenges. The program was launched in 2009 and helps faculty identify and communicate with students who may be experiencing difficulties in class.

Faculty members can submit a referral form online, which initiates the Early Alert process. Brian Wummel, Early Alert retention coordinator, points out that timing is critical when it comes to helping students stay on track.

“The recommended referral timeline is 3-6 weeks into the semester,” Wummel explained. “Referring a student during this period would be optimal for the students to connect with the resources they need to turn their performance around.”

Once notified, Wummel can respond in collaboration with other departments to address student challenges, which may include poor class attendance, incomplete or missing assignments, poor quiz and test scores, lack of course materials, not being at course level and inappropriate behavior.

One of Early Alert’s goals, Wummel says, is to acquaint students with the wealth of campus resources available, such as The Tutoring Center, The Writing Center, the Office of Disability Support Services, the Center for Multicultural Initiatives and the Financial Aid Office.

While the program most frequently has served students in 100- and 200-level classes, Wummel noted that Early Alert welcomes referrals from all classes, particularly those with traditionally high levels of difficulty. 

“We really want faculty to be aware of this program so that we can help students stay in class and keep moving toward graduation,” Wummel said.

For more information, visit oakland.edu/tutoring, then click on “Early Alert Program,” or contact Wummel at (248) 370-2529 or e-mail ouea@oakland.edu. He is also available during office hours in 103 North Foundation Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, and 9 a.m. – noon on Fridays.