Eastern’s New ‘Early Warning System’ Shows Early Promise

Well into the third term of implementation, Eastern Washington University’s new Early Warning System (EWS) is reaching more and more students. The program, which is coordinated by the EagleCare Network and the Degree Completion team, allows faculty and staff to systematically identify students early who are experiencing academic, financial or personal issues. Early identification allows support staff to provide outreach to those students and offer guidance and access to resources before the issue becomes unmanageable. This type of retention effort is widely used at institutions of higher education across the country and Eastern is excited to provide this level of personalized support to our students.

Fall 2020 was a highly successful quarter for the EWS. Eastern’s dedicated faculty and staff identified nearly 1,000 students through individual alerts (ad-hoc) and through progress reports. Alerts are issued using Navigate Staff, a platform for communication between student points-of-contact which fosters a holistic approach to student services. The team in CAAR reached out to all 1,000 students providing support, resources and problem-solving guidance while letting the students know that EWU is here to support them.

The data already show enormous promise in the program. Eighty-one percent of students who had a positive outcome, meaning they worked with their advisor to resolve the issue, enrolled in the winter 2021 term. Of those who had a negative or inconclusive outcome, usually meaning there was no response to the outreach, 64 percent enrolled for winter. EWS administrators say that while there are many factors to consider, the findings suggest that earlier intervention goes hand-in-hand with term-to-term persistence.

Efforts for the current quarter are also in motion. Progress reports were sent to the faculty of select courses on Jan. 25. If you are a faculty or staff member and you need information or would like training, please email earlywarning@ewu.edu.

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