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Frequently Asked Questions


Why was the Early Alert Program developed?

The Early Alert Program was developed for several reasons:

  • To provide faculty with access to online submission of feedback for Academic Alert students; a process formerly conducted using hard-copy forms.  
  • To offer a more comprehensive approach to early student intervention.
  • To support the retention and graduation goals presented in the University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.  

Who participates in the Early Alert Program?

The Early Alert Program is a collaborative effort by faculty, staff, and students. All faculty have access to the online Early Alert system where feedback is given.  Students work with their instructors and/or professional staff to address any concerns, options and opportunities that will support the students in their academic goals.


What kinds of things would a faculty member look for?

There are many different signs that a student may be in academic distress: low attendance, not completing homework, lack of participation/engagement, disruptive behavior, poor performance on assignments or tests, etc.  Many of these problems can be addressed with a conversation between the student and the faculty member.  This program does not replace that important interaction.  The purpose of submitting an alert for the student is so the student receives a formal notification letting him/her know about the situation.  This also documents the situation in SSC so that other faculty and staff are informed of the concern and can reach out to the student, as needed.


What should students do if they receive an alert?

The Early Alert email will inform the student of the next appropriate step(s) depending on the type of alert.  In most cases, if the alert is in reference to performance in the classroom, the email will direct a student to meet with his/her instructor to clarify the concern and discuss options.  Students may also discuss the situation with their advisor for guidance and/or referral.  The alert is documented in SSC so anyone advising a student can see the type of alert.


Will the alert be placed on a student’s permanent record?

No.  Receiving an alert will not become part of the academic transcript, but it is considered part of a student’s record and students can request access to this information.  It is important to note that participation in the Early Alert program is NOT a punishment.  It is an indication that MSU Denver cares about our students’ academic success and wants to provide the support they need.

As a faculty member, what if I suspect that a student has a disability?

Faculty should talk with the student about his/her concerns regarding the student's performance.  Privacy remains a consideration and it is best to make any inquiry to an individual student in private, either during office hours or discreetly before or after class, and only when not surrounded by other students. Questions such as " … did you receive any special assistance in high school regarding your academic performance?" or comments such as "…that is a concern that I'm sure the folks in the Access Center & Testing Services would be happy to visit with you about. Do you know where they are located?" are open-ended and non-directive.  Only the student can decide to disclose his/her disability or decide to pursue information about accommodations available in the Access Center & Testing Services.


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