VIU Students

Information for Faculty

How is the Early Alert System managed?

The Advising Centre receives and distributes the alerts to the appropriate support service.

What supports are available to students through Early Alert?

Alerts are distributed to Academic Advisors, Counsellors, Financial Aid, Services for Aboriginal Students, Educational Navigators, Success Coaching, The Writing Centre and International Advising at the appropriate campus.

Are students aware that an Early Alert has been sent?

Students receive an email that their Instructor has sent an alert for their course.

Does the Early Alert replace Instructor interventions/conversations with students?

No, the Instructor should always be the first point of contact with students. The Early Alert system provides students with an opportunity to access additional support, but is not meant to be the only intervention.

Is the Early Alert System intended for faculty or department tracking of success?

No, if the department requires evidence of a student not meeting the outcomes, then faculty should consult with area Chair or Dean to investigate other systems.

Should the Early Alert System be used for students not showing up for practicum?

The Early Alert system should not be used for students not attending Practicums.

Is there follow up to me as an Instructor after a student has been contacted?

Instructors are not contacted after submitting an Early Alert.

When Should I Use Early Alert?

The Early Alert System allows faculty to identify particular behaviours, such as:

*frequent absences
*significant decline in the quality or quantity of work
*noticeable decline in hygiene
*emotional signs of distress
*repeated lateness, missed appointments or deadlines

PLEASE NOTE: Early Alert System is NOT intended for referring students in situations of immediate crisis or where concerns about student health and safety are present. Call 250-740-6600 or call 911.

What Steps Do I Take to Submit an Alert?

Early Alert should be a Second Step.

After identifying a student experiencing challenges,faculty should make the initial contact with the student. Often issues can be resolved and referrals made through this conversation.

In the event that you cannot contact the student or you would like the Early Alert team to reach out to the student, begin this process using the Class List Management page. Once you have selected the appropriate course, click on the Early Alert System link and select the student you wish to submit an Alert for. You will be prompted to specify the behaviours of concern. This is important to ensure the appropriate support area is notified.

Ideally, submit the Early Alert within the first 4 -5 weeks of the semester, when there is still an opportunity for students to make adjustments in behaviour.

What Happens Next?

You will receive a confirmation email that your alert has been received. The identified student also receives an automated message to let them know you have referred them to Early Alert. Next, the student will be contacted directly by the appropriate support area.

Sending an Early Alert does not guarantee that students will reply to phone calls and emails from the support area.  Due to a student's right to privacy, no further follow up information will be sent to faculty. However, if you have further concerns, please send another alert or email

What about a student's right to privacy?

The test for privacy is based on the concept of "need to know." What do we need to know about the student in order to help them succeed? What do you need to inform us about the student that would assist us in supporting that student's personal wellness and academic success?

A student's participation in the program is voluntary. After we contact the student they can elect to not participate in the support that is being offered. All records are kept confidential. As an instructor, you will only be informed that contact was attempted. Details of the support offered will not be disclosed, although the student may elect to inform you themselves.

How can I let students know about the Early Alert System?

Please include a statement on your course syllabus, website or statement of expectations. An example of a statement used by faculty at other institutions is found below.

Early Alert System (EAS)

VIU faculty participate in an Early Alert System to connect students who may be experiencing difficulty with resources that may be helpful to their success. If over the course of the semester I become concerned about your progress in this course, and after we have spoken regarding my concerns, I may use the EAS to put you in touch with resources that I feel would support your personal wellness and success in this class. These may include academic advising, financial aid, the writing centre, counseling or other resources. This information is treated confidentially and is sent because I am concerned about you and your academic success. More information about the Early Alert System.

Questions or feedback?