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 Early Alert

About This Page

On this page, you will learn about

  • the early alert program

  • referral categories and when a student should be referred

  • faculty contact and communication

  • program actions and what will come next

HBFGSAS Early Alert Program

The Early Alert Program is a proactive, student-centered system of communication between faculty, staff, and students at Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. The Early Alert protocol is intended to serve as a timely intervention for students observed to be experiencing academic or personal difficulty. Early identification of at-risk students provides the best opportunity for successful intervention and affords students with the most options.

Instructors or staff members who observe a pattern of student behavior that may impede their progress are encouraged to provide an early alert referral – preferably in the first few weeks of the semester. Instructors can recommend a student for intervention anytime throughout the semester. However, the timelier the referral, and the more complete the information provided, the greater the opportunity to help a student avoid a potentially unsuccessful outcome.


Referral Categories

  • Academic Concerns

    • Student exhibits attendance issues.

    • Student is displaying low participation/engagement.

    • Student is not completing homework/assignments.

    • Student is not performing at course level.

    • Student is in need of instructional support outside of the classroom regarding study skills, critical thinking, academic reading and/or writing, time management, etc.

    • Student has difficulty communicating ideas.

  • Disposition or Personal Wellness Concerns

    • Student exhibits changes in behavior/appearance that warrant concern.

    • Faculty or staff have observed verbal or written statements that warrant concern.

    • Faculty or staff has knowledge of financial or other personal concern.

    • Other.

  • Medical Concern

  • Mental Health Issue

  • Physical Endangerment

  • Drug and Alcohol Related Concern


Faculty Initial Contact

This intervention is not to replace direct contact by faculty with a student, but to assist faculty as an additional resource to contact students, discuss their choices, develop an action plan, etc.

Instructors are encouraged to make an initial contact with a student prior to filing an early alert.

  • Address student (in person or via email or phone) about the issue.

  • Remind student of course policies regarding attendance, late work, engagement, etc.

  • Provide expectations for making up missed assignments (if applicable).

  • Recommend student schedule appointment during instructor’s scheduled office hours.

  • Recommend student contact their student success coordinator and/or academic advisor.

  • Other (please describe in description box on referral form). Referring instructors are asked to identify steps taken to contact student and/or what support has been provided.


Referring instructors are provided the option for a copy of the report.


Program Actions

The faculty or staff member, will be emailed a “thank you for your referral” message to confirm their referral has been successfully received and to also authenticate the referral. An automated email will be sent to the student notifying them of the submission, followed by a phone call made by the student success coordinator. Every effort will be made to communicate with the student, address the concerns stated in the Early Alert referral, and assist them in finding resources for academic or personal support. The referrer will be informed of the interaction, or lack thereof, via a phone call or email.


All follow-up actions are recorded and notification continues until process is completed.


The Grad School’s efforts in making personal student contacts support national (best practice) efforts for improving student engagement through interactive institutional methods.

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