This semester at Newbury College, we are offering a new program for students on probation. (In the past, we have not specifically targeted this population for any interventions.) The model was adapted from a similar program used at Rider Univ.

In a nutshell, here's how it works. Students returning on probation were "strongly encouraged" to sign up for 2 hour-long weekly meetings with our 2 Academic Counselors. About 17 of the 30 students on probation signed up. During the first session, the students assess their courses, determine where academic challenges may arise, and develop an action plan to address their needs. The plan may include tutoring, meeting with the instructor, setting a fixed study schedule, etc. At the second meeting, they talk about how the plan is working and make adjustments.  For the next 2 weeks, they are on their own. Then they meet with the counselor again during the next 2 weeks. If they wish to continue working with the counselor after that time, they may. We call the program PASS (Promoting Academic Success Strategies).

The beauty of this system is that 1)it is not overly punitive or burdensome and 2) it puts the responsibility in the hands of the student. Additionally, depending on the culture of your institution, faculty advisors can take on the role that the academic counselors play. Also, probationary students can be divided into 2 groups, with half starting during the 2 week off period from the first group.

We don't know yet how well it will work - midterm warnings are coming up. We plan to do both qualitative and quantitative studies at the end of the semester.

Feel free to call or email me with any questions.

Sara d'Anjou
Associate Dean for Academic Services
Newbury College
129 Fisher Avenue
Brookline, MA 02445