Taking a Student-Centered Approach to the Probation Process



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Learn how to support and empower students through the probation process.   


One of the biggest potential roadblocks in a student’s college career is being put on academic probation. The probation process can feel defeating and overwhelming to students, and when it happens, they may choose to leave the institution altogether rather than navigating the challenge. However, the probation process does not have to seem punitive, and it can ultimately lead to students feeling more empowered to succeed as long as they feel they are supported and given the tools to navigate the process.

Join us for a 90-minute virtual training on reimagining the academic probation process in order to take a more student-centered approach. Our expert speakers, Laura Donaldson and Samantha Nielsen, will walk you through the creation and implementation of a probation process program in Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. This voluntary process centers the student experience by allowing advisors and students to create individualized plans to help the student get off probation successfully, while also addressing the non-academic barriers students encounter that may have contributed to their academic struggles. Laura and Samantha will share several valuable resources and considerations to keep in mind when starting a program of your own, as well as some of their early successes.


Who Should Attend

Student success professionals—specifically, advisors who work with students on academic probation or who lead academic advising units—will benefit most from this program.

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Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


October 27, 2022

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET


The Traditional Probation Process vs. a Student-Centered Approach

Our speakers will discuss how the traditional approach to academic probation may create barriers to retention and graduation for students. You will learn:

  • The philosophy behind the Probation Process Program at Dietrich College.
  • How the program functions.
  • Some early successes of the program.



What to Consider in Reforming the Probation Process

Our speakers will walk you through some of the considerations that went into starting the Probation Process Program at Dietrich College, as well as how you might adapt those to your own institution.


Headshot of Laura

Laura Donaldson

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs & Academic Advisor, Department of English ,Carnegie Mellon University

With nearly 17 years’ experience in higher education, Laura’s passion for and commitment to students remains her primary focus. She believes deeply in meeting students where they are and in supporting them fully so that they can get to where they want to be. At CMU English, Laura developed the Major Buddy Program, which connects prospective and newly declared majors with current students in the Department so that they can get an inside perspective on the student experience while meeting peers with similar interests and goals.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Headshot of Samantha

Samantha Nielsen

Associate Director of Academic Programs, Carnegie Mellon University

In addition to her current role, Sam has also been an active member of the Professional Development Committee at CMU since 2019, where she is charged with creating training opportunities for all advisors on the CMU campus. Prior to this role she served as an Academic Advisor in Statistics & Data Science at CMU, as well as in the Health and Kinesiology Department at Texas A&M University.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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