MiraCosta College Revolutionizes Approach to Academic Support, Sheds Traditional Probation and Dismissal Terms

MiraCosta College students having academic issues will no longer get a stark notice that they face probation or dismissal. Instead, they will get encouragement that the college wants to help them succeed in their classes.

MiraCosta College has removed the words “probation” and “dismissal” from its administrative procedures and board policy and has replaced them with “notice” and “separation.” The effort to change the language – and the way that MiraCosta College communicates with academically-challenged students – was led by Kathy Rodriguez, director of admissions and records, and Counselor Adrean Askerneese.

“The previous language is deficit oriented, and the new language is rooted in equity with the goal of mindfulness of how our previous terms may traumatically impact the students we serve,” Rodriguez said.

Bridget Herrin, interim dean of admissions and student support, said the language used with students reflects MiraCosta College’s values.

“We want students to understand that we don’t want to put you in a punitive space,” Herrin said. “We want you in a support space.”

Herrin said the college is trying to reach out to students, many of them part-time, before they are in academic danger. Workshops and counseling sessions are being offered to students with poor grades.

Students who are at risk of ending up on academic or progress notice because of their grades risk more than having to sit out a semester. They can also lose federal financial aid and access to other beneficial programs, “Our goal was to shift the way we talk about these academic standings and the way we support students with those academic standings,” Herrin said.

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