information for advisors
For students who are struggling to meet MIT's academic standards, advisors play a crucial role at the end of each term. Advisors contribute to departmental review, which is brought to CAP's Grades Meetings, and may represent a student at CAP's Deferred Action Meetings. Please be sure to remain in contact with your department each term until you know whether you have an advisee who has failed to meet minimum standards. If an advisee is in danger of being Required to Withdraw, you will be asked to appear in person at CAP's Deferred Action Meetings, in the third week of January or June.
Your undergraduate academic administrator receives a list from the Registrar's Office after most grades have been recorded. This Term Summary flags students in your department who have either passed fewer than 36 units or achieved a term rating (GPA) of 3.0 or below in the current term.
The undergraduate administrator will ask you to share what you know about the reasons for the student's unsatisfactory performance and what response you think would best help the student improve performance—no action, Department Warning, CAP Warning, or Required Withdrawal. A struggling student may have avoided contact with you through the term; now is the time to remind such students that you can advocate for them only if you fully understand their situation.
Once this information is gathered for all below-minimum students, your department may decide its recommendations in a formal meeting or informally between administrator and faculty undergraduate officer. You should be notified of the final departmental recommendation.
CAP Grades Meetings
At the end of each term, in the weeks of January and June, the Committee on Academic Performance reviews all undergraduate records below the minimum standards. This is usually done in three Grades Meetings—First-Year, Second- and Third-Year combined, and Fourth-Year.
Each department appears separately before CAP, represented by its faculty undergraduate officer and undergraduate academic administrator. These people present the department's recommendation for each student, answer questions from the Committee, and record the Committee's decision—no CAP action (which usually implies Department Warning), CAP Warning, or Deferred Action. The Committee carefully considers department recommendations, but reserves the right to vote as it sees fit. You will be notified by email and letter of CAP's vote.
Deferred Action is voted either when information is missing that may lead to Warning, or when the department or CAP believe Required Withdrawal is the best option. Required Withdrawal is voted only at the Deferred Action Meetings.
CAP Deferred Action Meetings
At the Deferred Action Meetings, in the third weeks of January and June, CAP reviews two sets of student records in more depth. These include:
- information not available at the Grades Meeting;
- students who may be required to withdraw.
In either case, you are asked to attend a Deferred Action Meeting to represent your advisee (or find another member of your department who can speak for you and the student). You and your advisee are each invited to submit a written statement for consideration at the meeting. Please contact the student promptly to offer consultation on her/his statement: see If Your Review is Deferred for guidelines. You will receive a one-page questionnaire from the Staff Associate. Please make sure that both your questionnaire and the student's statement are submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than two days before the Deferred Action Meeting. The exact date will be in the student's notification letter.
Soon after CAP votes Deferred Action for your advisee, the Committee's Staff Associate will contact you to make a five-minute appointment at one of the two Deferred Action Meetings, held in the third weeks of January and June. See the Academic Calendar for precise dates. These meetings generally begin at 9 a.m. and end by 4 p.m.; CAP will accommodate your schedule as much as possible within those limits. The meeting dates cannot be changed.
At the Deferred Action Meetings the nine-member Committee is joined by eight ex-officio members and six resource staff. These representatives of various offices help the Committee understand the situations of students whose records are being reviewed. While you may feel intimidated appearing before so many people, please understand that they all share your hope and concern that your advisee will get back on track to finishing a degree in a timely manner. Be prepared to state your recommendation, back it up with concise information, and answer questions from Committee members. CAP, on behalf of the Faculty, is grateful for your extra efforts in such cases.