By Andrea Bilton
Hofstra’s Division of Student Affairs officially introduced a new feature available to students via the portal on Oct. 18: the ability to view mid-semester advisory reports. This allows professors to update their students in the middle of the semester with a progress report and inform them if their performance is satisfactory or not.
“Based on review of the research on student success and persistence along with a review of peer institutions, the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee in the University Senate recommended the Mid Semester Advisory Reports,” a statement issued by the Student Success CONNECT leadership team read. The team is led by Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jean Peden Christodoulou and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Internationalization Neil Donahue.
The faculty passed the policy in May 2017 to be implemented this fall.
These reports can be accessed by locating the “Reports” tab through Student Success CONNECT on students’ individual portal. Students will then be able to view whether or not their professor has marked them “At Risk” in regards to performance. Following the release of these reports, students are encouraged to meet with their professors to discuss how to improve their performance if it is not declared satisfactory.
“The Mid Semester Advisory is intended to be a check-in and conversation starter,” the CONNECT team said in the statement. “It also allows the advisors in the Center for University Advising, the Center for
Academic Excellence and faculty advisors to reach out and help students work to address any particular issues a student might be having, academic or otherwise.”
Dr. Elisabeth Ploran, a professor in the Department of Psychology, said she looks forward to the implementation of these reports.
“Not enough students take advantage of office hours,” Ploran said. “And they don’t always email professors when they don’t understand things – it’s only when there’s two weeks left and they’ve realized they are going to get a D or a C and they want to know what they can do about it. But my hope is that by getting a report in the middle of the semester that alerts them if they’re not doing so well, the students will then take advantage of all that we offer them.”
Nathaniel Perez, a sophomore finance major, said that he believes the reports are a great addition to the portal.
“A few of my teachers in the past have avoided posting grades until right before the final,” Perez said. “But I like the fact that now they are required to give us a progress report in the middle of the semester, so we know exactly how we’re doing and whether or not we are going to pass the class.”
The CONNECT team also stresses the opportunity for academic departments and advisors to pinpoint patterns that appear in a student’s work across the curriculum instead of only one course.
“On one hand I really enjoy this new feature,” said Veronica Catricala, a sophomore psychology major. “But on the other hand, I’m worried that by having the ability to view a progress report without completing a wide selection of assignments, you might get the wrong idea about your grade … you might get a lot of anxiety and assume that you’re going to fail if the progress report is sent out after only completing one exam, and it seems like just another unnecessary aspect of college to stress about.”
Yet Ploran asserts that evaluation is an important tool to ensure the success of college students. “It’s part of our goal as educators to make sure that our students learn,” she said, “and giving feedback is a large form of learning.”