These are notes from our first meeting near the end of May (2009)…
We had our first meeting today, and we discussed a definition of an EAS, along with some ideas of how it would look short and long term. Our loose definition (at least tentatively) is: A team-oriented approach that will assist students overcome academic barriers to success. [we want to underline academic because we don't feel we are necessarily at the point of being able to completely assist students with all non-academic issues; i.e. our faculty are not trained counselors].
Our working concept of the team-approach is that an ACA instructor would serve as the centerpiece of the team (at least in the first semester). Other members of the team would come from SER, CAPS, TRiO, and the student’s identified program of study. If a student exhibits behavior that may lead to an unsuccessful semester in any course, the ACA instructor is notified and the team is assembled to try and address any issues. As the student moves into the program of study, the chair (or a designated faculty member?) would become the centerpiece of the team (i.e. primary contact). This is rudimentary, mind you, but we thought it is a good start.
The question is: how would this be implemented? Our task for the next meeting will be for each of the task force team members to explore and report on 2-3 early alert systems out there. Our discussion will head toward what does a system need, and what would we need to do to implement that system? Would we need to purchase proprietary software? Can we develop something in house? Or, is there another approach?
Some other ideas that we discussed would be developing a profile of a student prior to his/her even taking the first class. Can we collect data on a student that may identify him/her as high-risk? Can this be done by adding certain questions to the Compass placement exam? We also discussed the notion of moving backward and forward in time, in terms of gathering indicators of high-risk, as well as ensuring a support (alert) mechanism that follows the students as long as they are at CCC.
Speaking of implementation, one thought is to develop a pilot in the Fall (09) and see how it works. From there, we can conduct professional development throughout the semester and have broader implementation by Spring (10).
I believe that captures the essence of our initial meeting. Feel free to add to our conversation.