Probation rates show little change

By MARIAH YOUNGfreshorient2

The number of freshmen students on academic probation decreased slightly last fall from 194 to 184 partially due to midterm scrutiny by professors.

“Our faculty used the midterm grade quite effectively,” said Associate Provost for Enrollment Management and Student Services Fred Pierce III.

Pierce credits midterm grades as a way of letting students know that they need to be aware of their academic performance.

Compared to the 194 freshmen placed on academic probation last fall, 184 were placed on probation this past semester, only a ten person difference, according to Pierce.

“I know as a university we’ve devoted considerable time and energy both to helping freshmen make the transition to college and to help them thrive,” say FSEM and Political Science Professor Chad Murphy. “It’s especially important at a university like Mary Washington where the unique culture of small class sizes and personal attention from professors require more active involvement as students get older.”

The first semester for college students is one of the most critical, academically, according to Pierce.

Across all classes, 325 total students were placed on academic probation for the fall 2012 semester, according to a document on academic sanctions provided by Pierce.

Students on academic probation have a cumulative grade point average falls below a 2.0. If students retain a GPA below 1.9, they continue to come in “danger of suspension,” according to Pierce.

Between 15 percent and 20 percent of students will struggle academically during their freshmen year, according to Pierce.

Students placed on academic probation were notified by the university and given suggestions on how to bring the GPAs up. Attendance is one of the best ways to grade success, said Pierce.

“Our goal is not to remove people from the school,” said Pierce. “The goal is that every student admitted at Mary Washington should graduate.”

There were a total of seven students dismissed from the University of Mary Washington this fall.

“We need to keep focusing on things like FSEM and freshman advising to make sure that we keep going in a positive direction,” said Murphy.

The number of students on probation does not affect the university’s re-accreditation process, according to Pierce. Retention and graduation rates do however influence the accreditation.

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