March 18, 2024

     Colleagues, as we head into the second half of the spring semester, I write to remind you how you might help our undergraduate students thrive academically.  As a course instructor, you are best able to identify students experiencing academic challenges.

     I write to let you know that the residential college deans and assistant deans for studies can be of significant help to those students if they know that a problem exists and can intervene effectively.

I urge you to let our residential college staff know if:

  • A student attends your class infrequently or sporadically.  If you note a pattern of absences, be sure to let the student’s residential college dean or assistant dean for studies know.
  • A student receives a D or an F on a mid-term examination or any other major component of your course.
  • You think a student would benefit from additional academic support.

     Our Academic Early Alert (AEA) website makes it easy for you to direct information to the residential college deans and assistant deans for studies who are responsible for your undergraduate students.  You can log onto the site here and bookmark the address for your convenience.  You can also access the site anytime from the “faculty and department resources” section of the Registrar’s website.

     When you enter the site, click on the name of any student enrolled in your course about whom you have concerns and complete the electronic progress report.  The site automatically routes your report to the student’s residential college dean and assistant dean for studies.  Instructors of large classes can file a single report (Group AEA) for multiple students at once.

     You can use the AEA web application for your course only if you are registered with Canvas as the instructor or a teaching assistant.  Any report—electronic or paper—is kept on file only while the student is enrolled as an undergraduate; these reports don’t become part of the student’s permanent file.

    We urge you to alert us to possible problems, even if you think the call may be marginal.  While a weak performance in your course may not seem broadly important, a pattern of poor performance in multiple courses can have serious consequences for a student’s academic progress.  In addition, distraction from their academic work can be a symptom of a student’s emotional or psychological distress.  The college deans reach out in a supportive way to students who have received AEA reports; early intervention can be a very positive step.

     As we continue to address Princeton’s need for both academic rigor and compassion, especially for students with severe mental health challenges, please do keep in touch with me and the residential college deans about any trends you’re noting in your classrooms.

     I’ve attached here a guide to recognizing and responding to students in distress prepared for faculty and staff by the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

     Thanks for all you do to deliver the very best education to our undergraduates.

     Warm best,

     Jill Dolan