EFC and ad-hoc committee make early alert decisions

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Palo Alto President Mike Flores questions how the early alert system will be implemented March 10 at Killen. All members of the Executive Faculty Council were in favor of sending the early alert data to all academic vice presidents. Photo by Noah Acevedo

The committee announces Level 1 and Level 2 early alert systems.

By Michelle Delgado


Executive Faculty Council listened to feedback from the early alert ad-hoc committee regarding the research and decisions they have made about the early alert system March 10 at Killen Center.

The committee said there are two early alerts that faculty are required to complete.

The first is based on behaviors and the other is based on grades.

Behaviors include falling asleep in class or not completing assignments before the due date.

“The very first time we identify a student at-risk is based on student behavior,” said Joseph Coppola, speech professor at Palo Alto College.

Faculty can access the grade-based early alert any time in the semester.

A professor may give a student an early alert message on the first day of the semester if they see fit, Coppola said.

An example of this could include showing up unprepared or being absent during the first week of class.

Coppola, who served on the ad-hoc committee, said one of the concerns was how faculty was to identify a student at risk.

This is not necessarily the fact that the student may be failing, but perhaps the student is not thriving, he said.

The committee concluded that at-risk behaviors can be identified as Level 1 or Level 2.

Level 1 is when a faculty member addresses the problem with the student.

For example, a professor has a conversation with a student who expresses sleep deprivation in class.

Level 2 is enacted after the faculty member has already had a conversation with the student and brings in outside help, such as advising or counseling.

Faculty Senate President Tiffany Cox Hernandez asked where the information will be going after faculty input early alert information.

“I’m collecting it so I can keep track of what is going on in my class over time, but is that going to the student who is sleep deprived?” Hernandez asked.

Coppola said that is something the committee has considered.

“We discussed whether emails should be sent to the student under Level 1 interventions … as well as re-wording the emails we send to the students,” Coppola said. “That is something we have talked about from a technology standpoint.”

The group said all faculty members should engage in Level 1 early alerts.

Palo Alto President Mike Flores asked who would implement these decisions.

The implementation is not up to the ad-hoc committee, said Debi Gaitan, vice president of student success at Northwest Vista College.

“We’re creating a recommendation for a team that doesn’t exist,” she said. “We recognized very early on that we need to stay in our lane, and it was not the ad-hoc’s responsibility to determine who implements; we just need to make sure we put in our recommendations.”

The group decided to send the recommendations to all academic vice presidents for feedback.


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