Texas Tech University

Academic First Responder Team

The Academic First Responder Network (AFR) is a cross-functional team from departments and colleges created to improve resolution of academic alerts and case management for students' academic issues.

This group of academic support experts will serve as student retention contacts or "first responders" to students at risk of attrition to further bolster our retention strategy. The members of this group are appointed representatives for each department or college. These individuals are those who immediately come to mind when administrators think of the most capable academic advising/retention specialist in each organization structure and should also be the ones who are particularly effective with high and moderate risk students.

Purpose

To provide students with service excellence and support, this group will foster positive relationships between members of this coordinated network of care by examining and refining practices, resources, and training with the intent to further improve communication and partnerships.

Goals

  • Identify, reach, and assist students-at-risk as early as possible each semester.
  • Help students succeed in their classes by providing strategies and campus resources.
  • Increase individual students' successes (engagement, satisfaction, motivation, resilience, persistence, progress-toward-degree).
  • Contribute to institutional student success (GPA, retention rates, and graduation rates).
  • What is the process of the Texas Tech's Alert & Intervention system?
    1. Faculty/Staff identify students who are experiencing academic difficulties (attendance, work quality, homework, and/or academic progress has been unsatisfactory).
    2. Personnel make referrals to the Early Alert System (EAS) via Strive.TTU.edu.
    3. An email is generated to the referred student.
    4. Students' academic colleges provide the first connection with the Academic First Responder Network. College representatives follow agreed-upon case management processes to generate electronic cases files, involve relevant university personnel, and guide each case to its resolution. Though they may never interact personally with the subject of a case, throughout the case life cycle, this person will always remain in the role of the Case Manager.
    5. During and at the closure of a case, STP Peer Success coaches will engage each student via phone calls and text messages to encourage student follow-through and to facilitate a positive interaction between the student and the referring instructor/staff member.

Academic Alerts

Academic Alerts can be raised by any faculty member throughout the semester. Here is a checklist of some warnings signs that may prompt an Academic Alert referral:

  • Class attendance - the student has too many absences or the student stopped going to class
  • Problems in academic performance
    • work quality has declined
    • failure to turn in homework assignments
    • failed quizzes and tests
    • unwilling or unable to participate in class activities
    • student is not passing the course
    • student lacks course materials (i.e., books, notebooks)
  • Lacks study skills to be successful in college
  • Having difficulty adjusting to college life
  • Experiencing personal problems

Job Description for College/Department Representatives

Responsibilities

Be the embodiment of positive collaboration among stakeholders in each students' Coordinated Care Network, and as a member of the Academic First Responder team.

Attend meetings scheduled each semester or send a representative in their place.

Utilize Microsoft TEAMS for all communication between members of the group and respond to request for feedback.

Ensure that their department or college is successfully utilizing Strive to fulfill case management procedures; generating reports, managing alerts, creating/assigning cases, documenting interactions, and closing cases etc.

Communicate expectations and training opportunities to department and college members to ensure that all those involved in the case management process have received appropriate training and access.

Develop and maintain a case management flowchart for their department/college.

Keep their department or college informed of announcements, meeting items, resolutions, and proposals discussed by this group.

Communicate their department's processes, procedures, changes, etc. to the members of this group during meetings and/or in Microsoft Teams.

Evaluate the effectiveness of this group, its members, and Early Alert Systems (please reference Effective Early Alert Systems) and identify opportunities for growth and improvement.

Expectations

  • Be on time - Arrive on time and be prepared.
  • Be ready to share announcements, changes, expectations, resources, etc. for your area.
    • Members will receive timely email invites with a complete agenda, and preparatory notes.
    • Complete any assigned pre-meeting items.
  • Participate - Listen to understand and not respond, speak honestly, challenge ideas (not others), and work toward the group's common purpose.
  • Plan and Act - When updates are communicated or new skills introduced, all members are committed to 1) work collaboratively for the successfully implementation of process improvements and 2) to positively communicate changes and expectations.
  • We will follow a 'Renew, Review, Refine' model:
    • Review
      • What actions have we seen since our last meeting?
      • Case and Alert stats
    • Renew
      • Do you have department or college announcements, changes, expectations, resources, etc. you would like to communicate?
      • System and procedure improvement and/or changes
    • Refine
      • What do we want to see next?
      • Brainstorm and provide feedback to requests.

Spring 2022 Meeting Schedule

Wednesday January 19 10am-11am
Wednesday February 16 10am-11am
Wednesday March 9 10am-11am
Wednesday April 6 10am-11am
Wednesday May 18 10am-11am

 

Membership

The following directory is provided to list more information about the AFR team members. Unfortunately, we are only able to display those members whose respective web sites contain their bios on appropriately coded web pages.