The Northern Marianas College is taking a proactive approach to help its students who are struggling with their academics.
Leo Pangelinan, dean of Student Services, disclosed Thursday last week that about 5 percent of NMC enrollees were placed on academic suspension, as of end of the fall 2013 semester. That suspension bars them from enrolling within a certain period of time.
NMC records show it had 1,171 students last fall term.
A student is placed on academic suspension when the student’s term GPA (grade point average) and cumulative GPA at the end of a probationary term are below 2.0. When that occurs, the student is not allowed to enroll for classes for one semester.
Pangelinan explained that prior to re-entry after a suspension period, students are required to meet with an academic adviser or counselor to develop a remediation plan and a proposed course of study.
He said there are a variety of factors that contribute to poor academic performance, including a lack of preparedness for coursework and poor attendance.
“The college is taking extra steps to closely monitor students and instructional quality in courses with low passing rates,” Pangelinan said.
NMC, he added, is also working individually with students on Tinian and Rota, for example, to coordinate institutional support for their enrollment in online courses.
Saipan Tribune was told that NMC is taking steps to work with academically-challenged enrollees. Already, the institution provides access to academic advisers, instructors, tutors, counselors, and other support services, which are introduced to students at new student orientation sessions and reinforced both inside and outside the classroom throughout a student’s enrollment.
Pangelinan disclosed that NMC also has an Early Intervention Program that helps students proactively identify strategies to improve academic performance.
Early Intervention Counselors, it was learned, reach out to students on academic probation and suspension to identify and address issues that may pose as barriers to student success.
Based on some studies, several features of the academic probation policies are quite similar across universities in the United States. Each school uses a GPA threshold of 2.0 for the first semester enrolled. At all of the schools, students are notified of their academic status before the start of their second semester and the standards they need to meet to change their status.
Most of the schools, according to some studies, also set limits on the number of courses students may elect while on academic probation. Percentage of students placed on academic suspension also varies.
For many, academic probation status following the first semester of college may serve as a short term “wake up call” to some students in that second semester performance is improved.