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The Advisor Spring 2006

By Francis Atuahene, Graduate Associate

In previous issues of The Advisor we discussed the many reasons that first year students find themselves quickly on academic probation: lack of time management skills; social adjustments; poor study skills; and wrong course selection.  The university policy on academic probation requires students to maintain an accumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0.  To help students reach their academic goals, the Ohio University Retention Initiative Program was created to provide the necessary support to enhance students’ success and progress.


The Retention Initiative Program

Beginning winter 2004, all first year students placed on academic probation at the end of their first quarter were required to attend an Academic Success Workshop facilitated by the Retention Initiative Graduate Associates (GAs). To address the needs of these students, the Retention Initiative program, which is staffed with eight Graduate Associates,  has the following goals: (1) ensure that students have access to academic help, campus resources and information in a timely manner; (2) connect students with appropriate campus offices that provide additional resources and information for their academic and social development; (3) supplement the work of faculty and staff advisors by offering direction and academic guidance to students in need; (4) intervene with targeted groups of students who may be academically at-risk; and (5) organize academic success workshop to explain university policies and regulations to at-risk students.


The Academic Success Workshop (ASW)

The Academic Success Workshop, a mandatory 90 minute seminar for all students on academic probation, is designed to help students succeed academically by providing assistance and support services for students to understand university polices on probation. Presenters help students understand a wide range of issues such as the impact of probation and the necessary steps one needs to take to be removed from probation, how to calculate GPAs, advice on retaking courses and the impact on GPA, information on self reflection and assessment, and resources necessary for combating academic difficulties. 


The positive impact of the Academic Success Workshop has been significant. At the end of winter 2006, 683 students were placed on academic probation. Out of this, 535 (78.3%) attended the AWS, 94 (13.76%) did not enroll at Ohio University, 43 (6.3%) did not attend the workshop, and 11 (1.6%) attended one-on-one sessions with the GAs. The table in the next column shows the academic status of these students at the end of winter quarter 2006. Of the total number of students who participated in the workshop, 33.5% continued on probation, 24.3% were dropped and 42.1% were removed from academic probation. Of the 32 non-participants, 25% continued on probation, 31% removed, and 44% were dropped from the university. But of the students who attended one-on-one sessions 45.4% of this group was dropped and 36.4% continued. Out of 84 transfer students placed on probation who attended a workshop, 34% were removed, while 25% improved their academic performance. Overall, 63.1% of the transfer students made academic progress.

First-Year Probation Status as at the end of Winter Quarter 2006

Workshop Status





Academic Status at the End of Winter Quarter 2006








Participants Group











Not Attended












Not Enrolled












One-on-one Sessions






















Notes: The table does not include students who were initially placed on probation but were removed due to grade changed.

Student Perceptions about the Workshops

While the figures above give a comprehensive view of the impact of the ASW, the opinions of students are remarkable. At the end of each workshop, participants are asked to evaluate the content of the workshop based on certain defined qualitative and quantitative measures. Among some of the descriptors used are the importance of the workshop in helping students to understand university policies and regulations; what students need to know about retaking courses and how to raise their GPA; and the overall content and information provided at the workshop. Using a Likert scale of 5 as most helpful, and 1 least helpful, participants’ evaluation of the 2005/6 workshops are encouraging. For instance, 52% of the participants rated the overall workshop as most helpful, 32% rated it as helpful, and 12% rated the ASW as moderately helpful. In terms of helping students to understand the impact of retaking courses, 59.4% and 29.2% rated the information provided as the workshop as most and moderately helpful respectively. At the same time, 94.7% of the participants indicated the importance of the workshop in helping them to understand the university polices and regulations.



While different colleges offer similar workshops for their students, the Retention Initiative Program offers other services besides the Academic Success Workshop. Other services include campus outreach programs, one-on-one advice sessions for students, help for students in identifying their academic and career goals, and first-hand information to students in need.  These and other services have been effective in helping students succeed at Ohio University.


You can reach us at 740/597-1897, or by email at enrollmentassoc@yahoo.com.


University College
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Athens, Ohio 45701
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