This is the time of year when academic problems begin to emerge amongst our students. Many of the first-year students arrive at Penn having sailed through high school with no need to study--and now are finding that college work requires skills they have never been taught. Many students, graduate and undergraduate, are experiencing personal difficulties that interfere with their ability to concentrate, and as midterm exams and projects are due, the result of those difficulties becomes evident in the classroom.
Now is the moment to offer the helping hand, the referral to Academic Support Programs, or to Counseling and Psychological Services, or to whatever support is appropriate for your particular student. Too often no one sends up a flare about a student in trouble until the semester is over and the registrar's office calls me to report students who have received a collection of dreadful grades or NR's, the latter usually marking a student's early disappearance from class. So if your midsemester class list has on it the names of students you do not recognize, if a talkative student has been strangely silent, if a midterm exam or paper identifies students who are having trouble with your course, please, let me know, or alert an academic advisor in the troubled students' home schools.
I have seen students transformed from marginal performers to stars with timely and appropriate attention. So don't let these people slip! Notice them, and call for aid.
Faculty Liaison to Student Services