February 28, 2020  |  News & Events, Timely Announcements

NOTE: This message was sent on Friday, February 28, 2020, to all instructors teaching undergraduate courses for the Spring 2020 term.


I’m writing to let you know that due to requests from a number of instructors we are going to widen our window for Progress Reports: The reports were due by tomorrow (February 29) but will now be due on March 14. Going forward, we do want to emphasize early collection of Progress Reports so that we can identify patterns early on. In general, instructors’ progress reports are important because they give advisors and support offices actionable information about students who may need extra help or intervention, leading to higher rates of student success and degree attainment.

We’re also working to better answer one key question we’ve heard repeatedly from instructors: “What happens with those reports?” Please see below for more detail and for some exciting new developments. Questions and suggestions are welcome.

Take care,



What’s New This Semester

Texting! Academic advisors can now use text messaging to reach out to students.

Persistence Committee. Our new cross-campus, cross-functional Persistence Committee will supplement existing Progress Report outreach using a variety of mechanisms (email, texting, peer mentors, resident assistants) and can provide assistance with a range of academic, financial, health, and other issues. More soon on the details of how this group will operate. This work is based on similar work being conducted at the University of South Florida: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/12/culture-care-and-predictive-analytics-at-the-university-of-south-florida.

How Progress Reports Work

Explaining. As we mentioned in the first announcement this spring, one of the most important parts of the Progress Report process is talking to your students about what Progress Reports are and what they do. Let them know when they might expect them from you, and how they can access and read them. If your students are unsure how to access them, please pass along these instructions:

Instructions for Students

To view the progress reports submitted by your instructors,

    1. Log in to Navigate using the Current Students drop down from the UWM homepage.
    2. Select “Reports” under Student Home.
    3. Select “View Report” under the Details column of the Progress Reports area.

Submitting. Instructors and others can submit an alert for a student at any time by selecting Navigate on the Faculty/Staff tab of the UWM homepage (a tutorial is available here). To participate in the campaign, please follow the link in the invitation email you received. When writing the reports, please provide a level of detail that will be helpful to students, advisors, success coaches, and the Persistence Committee.

Routing. When someone submits a progress report on a student, that student and their advisor both receive a notification from Navigate. When logged in to Navigate, the student and the advisor will both see the “Reason” you selected (e.g., “Missing Work”) and any explanation you provided. In addition, if you chose to refer the student to a resource, that office will reach out to the student. This chart shows how Progress Reports are routed:

Progress Report Reason Outreach? Student Receives
Missing Work Academic Advisor receives email, reaches out as appropriate. Custom reason text and instructor comments in Navigate.
Not participating in discussion
Missing some classes
Missing all classes
Poor quiz/test performance
Tutoring/SI Advisor receives email, Student Success Center reaches out
Librarian Advisor receives email, Library reaches out.
Writing Center Advisor receives email, Writing Center reaches out.

Instructors and others may also submit an “Alert” using Navigate, which leads the assigned office to create a case and reach out to the student:

Alert Reason Outreach? Student Receives
Accessibility Resource Center Assigned office reaches out and creates case. Notification that alert was submitted and encouragement to sign into Navigate.
Financial Aid
Multicultural Student Success Coach
Career Planning & Resource Center
Military & Veterans Resource Center
Writing Center


Reaching Out. The advisors in your school or college will be contacting many of the students who receive Progress Reports that suggest they may be in danger of poor academic performance; how that is defined may vary by school or college. The Persistence Committee will also provide outreach using other mechanisms in cases where students have multiple progress reports that suggest they are facing difficulties. The committee can also reach out at the request of an advisor or instructor.

Reaching out to students can be a significant challenge. Advisors will often try to call students, only to find they don’t answer and/or don’t have voicemail turned on. Or they will email and get no response. As of this semester, they can also employ text messaging. Many will make multiple attempts to reach students, but they won’t always be successful. This is why the Persistence Committee will now work on building other avenues to reaching out (e.g., resident advisors and peer mentors).

But it’s also critical that instructors continue, when possible, to reach out to students as well. Progress reports are just one additional tool to aid student success and prompt conversations with students, and when they work they can work very well. But the course instructors are still the most critical partner in helping students succeed.

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs