First Alert

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What is First Alert?

First Alert is a referral system that enables Sam Houston State University faculty and staff to refer students whose in- or out-of-class performance demonstrates a need for academic support to the academic mentors at the SAM Center.

First Alert Mission:

The mission of the First Alert program is to bridge the gap between faculty’s and staff’s concerns regarding students’ academic performance and students’ academic needs during the semester of referral.

Who Can Refer to First Alert?
As faculty and staff, your involvement in First Alert is critical to increase support of our students by identifying those at-risk, so that we can help them.
When Should I Refer to First Alert?

We accept referrals throughout the semester; however, it is important to note that referring early in the semester is most helpful for the student, especially when the referral is made prior to the Q-drop deadline. That way, our intervention can be more effective.

The sooner at-risk students are identified and referred, the sooner they can be helped and access appropriate resources, ultimately increasing their chance of success.

A timely referral can mean the difference between a student failing and succeeding.

Who Should Be Referred to First Alert?

Academic Concerns:

Any student whose academic performance is likely suffering due to any of the following:

  • Low test scores
  • Missing, incomplete, or poorly completed assignments
  • Difficulties comprehending material
  • Poor study or adjustment habits
  • A lack of familiarity with the school system
  • Frequent or unexcused absences
  • Any other learning concerns that would NOT be better handled by Services for Students with Disabilities, the Counseling Center, or the Dean of Students Office

Students of Concern (SOC Committee):

If you notice that a student's academic performance is likely suffering due to any of the following, please refer them to the Dean of Students instead of First Alert by completing the simple referral form:

  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Serious mental health concern
  • Grossly inappropriate and disruptive classroom behavior (particularly if it implies the presence of any of the above)
  • Any learning concerns that would NOT be more appropriate for referral to an academic mentor


How Do I Refer to First Alert?

Choose a method of referral from the following options:

  1. Issue an alert in My Success Planner (MSP)
  2.  Complete and send a paper First Alert form(s) through campus mail, or hand-deliver to CHSS 190.
  3.  Refer via phone or e-mail by contacting one of the mentors at the bottom of the page.
What Happens Next?

Regardless of the method by which you refer, records of First Alert referrals can be found in My Success Planner (MSP), where a case for each referral is created. Once you have issued an alert, ownership of the case in MSP will be assigned to you, and a notification of the case-ownership assignment will be sent to you via e-mail. As case owner, you can conveniently monitor the progress of our outreach to the referred student(s) as needed by viewing your case folder in MSP (follow the link above to the How-To Guide for instructions on viewing First Alert cases in MSP). You will also be notified when a case is closed, even if we fail to reach the student with whom the case is associated, so you can view the details of our outreach to/contact with the referred student.

The flowchart below illustrates the First Alert student and professor communication process.

Click on the image to view the chart as a PDF.

FA Flowchart


We greatly appreciate the time you take out of your busy day to help our students via First Alert. If you have any questions, please contact us.