Early Alert Warnings

Faculty Initiated Early Alert Warning Guidelines

Early Alert Warning (EAW) is an effort to sustain student momentum and facilitate early identification of students with academic issues. The goal is to be proactive with students that need additional supports to facilitate their completion and retention. These guidelines serve to formalize the process and provide instructions to faculty.

One alert will be sent ahead of the first course exam taking stock of homework scores, attendance, and other aspects to provide a snapshot.


These indicators are classroom behaviors that signal a need for additional support to help students be successful.  

  • Low class attendance (stopped attending).
  • Poor performance on quizzes and assignments.
  • Difficulty completing assignments. 
  • Sudden decline in academic performance.

Aspects of the EAW

Faculty can refer students using the Student Engagement Roster (SER) in Canvas.

SER can be used for positive feedback for students or concerns when it is being used for EAW.

Referrals will go to the student and their assigned academic advisor.

Outcome of the intervention is up to the student to share with instructor. Advisors will reach out to the student and may not be able to inform faculty of the interaction.

How to submit Early Alert Warnings and positive feedback

The ideal time is between weeks 2 to 5 but can be done at any point. This is the same time frame as the early feedback requirement sent by the Registrar. Depending on the duration of the course (e.g., 16 or 8 weeks) the deadline for withdraw may be considered though EAW does not imply withdrawal.

Large lecture courses can use the “bulk feedback” feature in Canvas. You can also use and configure preset options, categorizing students by exam scores, attendance, and homework data. Follow the steps below to create an EAW:

  1. Go to the SER in Canvas and select – specific “observations” that indicate academic concerns in the course. (e.g., Low class attendance, poor performance on quizzes and assignments, difficulty completing assignments, sudden decline in academic performance).
  2. Under “recommendations” select “Consult with academic advisor.” This will generate an email notification to the student’s assigned advisor. The advisor will only see the observations selected. Their conversation will be based on those observations.
  3. Other assistance can also be selected if the instructor would like the student to see them or the teaching assistant as well as seeking other academic services (tutoring).

A Care Referral can be made on Canvas by selecting the “Care Referral” option or going to the submission page. Reasons to submit a Care Referral include:

  1. Noticeable or sudden change in behavior or appearance.
  2. Disclosure of concerning information.
  3. Troublesome or hostile content/statements within assignments, classroom, or communications.

To provide positive feedback to the student:

  1. Go to the SER and select "observations" that provide positive feedback.
  2. Do not select "consult with academic advisor" in these situations.

Recommended statement for the syllabus

"In this course the instructor wants to make sure you connect with resources that will help you be successful. If you receive a message through the Student Engagement Roster that asks you to consult with your advisor, please know that the message is sent to both you and your academic advisor, who will follow up and view the feedback from this course."