Concerns about Students


Academic Progress of Students

Midterm Monitoring

At midterm each semester, all faculty members receive a request to comment, via our on-line academic difficulty reporting system, on the academic performance of their students. These evaluations from faculty not only help advisers in their monitoring of a student's academic performance and progress, but also assist them in their efforts to provide the appropriate support and resources to the student. Information that you submit through the Academic Difficulty Reporting system will be sent directly to the student's adviser, who will reach out to the student and then contact you with any relevant information.

Academic Difficulty

Individual instructors are often the first to notice that a student's academic performance in a particular class is unsatisfactory and may be indicative of overall academic difficulty and/or other problems. Indicators of difficulty may include unsatisfactory grades; poor or inconsistent work; poor or erratic attendance; inattentiveness, agitation; change in behavior, attitude, or appearance; inappropriate and/or inconsistent behavior, etc. In such cases, we strongly urge instructors to alert the student's advising dean immediately so that she/he can connect the student with the appropriate resources for assistance. Alternatively, please contact Lisa Hollibaugh, Dean of Academic Affairs at

Academic Review

At the end of each term, the Committee on Academic Standing reviews the records of all students enrolled in the College. The process begins with the class center advisers, who receive a list of all their students with information on each student's courses, grades, current GPA, cumulative GPA, current points, and cumulative points. In determining who will be put on academic probation and who will be required to withdraw from the College, the class center advisers review these records for excess D credit, excess PE credits, low points, low GPA, failures, and unauthorized incompletes. They also carefully review the student's file before making a recommendation for action.

Frequently Asked Questions

A student in my class has stopped attending.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line report of academic difficulty . By completing the on-line form, a message is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the student and provides the instructors with any relevant information.

A student in my class is disruptive.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line Academic Difficulty Report . By completing the on-line form, a message is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the student and provides the instructors with any relevant information.

A student in my class appears distressed.

Because it is instructors who routinely see students, it is important that any concerns-such as change in behavior-be reported so that the College can make contact with the students in question and make any necessary interventions. A students' advising dean can be alerted through the on-line Academic Difficulty Report or may be contacted directly. If you do not know the name of the advising dean, it is available through SSOL or by calling the Berick Center for Student Advising at 854-6379 or Andrew Plaa, Dean of Advising for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, at 854-8829.

It has come to my attention that a student may have committed or experienced discriminatory harassment.

A student who reports that they have experienced discriminatory harassment by another student or other member of the Columbia community should be urged to see their advising dean. If there is concern that a student has committed discriminatory harassment, please inform the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at The policies and procedures related to discriminatory misconduct and harassment, can be found in the Columbia College Bulletin.

A student in my class has expressed a concern about their academic experience in the class.

Any response to such concerns should be guided by the University's policy on Academic Concerns, Complaints, and Grievances. Please read the policy carefully to understand how this policy is implemented in the relevant school.

Please note that the goal is to resolve such concerns in a collaborative and educational manner, for the benefit of students and instructors alike. Columbia College students should first raise their concerns with their advising deans to discuss the best next step. Depending on the specific concern, the student should then raise the concern with the instructor, the director of undergraduate studies, the chair of the department, or the Dean of Academic Affairs.

If a student expresses a concern, please do not hesitate to contact Dean of Academic Affairs, Lisa Hollibaugh, at 853-1279.

A student in my class wants an extension on the deadline for submitting a paper.

It is important that all students are afforded the same time-frame in which to submit work, unless there is a documented reason-verified by a student's advising dean-for an exception. Please first refer the student to their advising dean.

A student in my class has not submitted any work. The student has been informed that if this continues it will result in failing the class, but work has still not been submitted.

Please alert the student's advising dean using the on-line Academic Difficulty Report. The information is sent directly to the student's advising dean, who then contacts the instructor with any relevant information. If there is no documented explanation for the lack of submitted work, the missing work should be factored as zero in the computation of the final grade.

A student in my class has missed several classes to observe religious holidays.

It is the policy of the University to respect its members' religious beliefs and we ask that instructors accommodate students' absence from class for the purpose of religious observance. In compliance with New York State law, students who are absent from school because of their religious beliefs are given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements that they may have missed. Further, no student should be penalized for such absences and alternative means should be sought for satisfying the academic requirements.

If a suitable arrangement cannot be arrived at between the instructor and the student, please refer the matter to the student's advising dean, 854-6379, or Andrew PlaaDean of Advising for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, 854-8829.

A useful guide to religious holidays in the coming academic year can be found at:

The parents of a student in my class wish to talk with me about their child's experience/performance.

While instructors may, of course, speak with parents, it is the responsibility of Columbia College to respond to the concerns of our students' parents. Please, therefore, do not hesitate to refer any parents who raise an academic concern to either the student's advising dean or Andrew Plaa, Dean of Advising for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, at 854-8829.

I have been asked to provide information about a student in my class.

The release of information about students is regulated by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA) Act and Columbia University policy. Information about a student, including grades and letters of recommendation, CANNOT be given to someone outside Columbia (including family members) without the student's written request or approval. If you have any questions about this, please contact the University's General Counsel at 854-4974.

A student has approached me to ask for accommodations due to a disability.

The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations as required for students. Questions or concerns about the requested accommodations should be directed to the Office Disability Services. Instructors can also contact Academic Affairs at 212-851-9814.

Students routinely bring computers to class.

There is no College or University policy governing this matter, which remains one for individual instructors to assess. Instructors should provide clear information outlining their policy on classroom practice, such as a statement in the course syllabus, and may request that students do not use computers in the classroom (unless, of course, it is a necessary aid to their participation in the class, as certified by the Office of Disability Studies).