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Early Alert

Supporting students to overcome academic challenges.

Early Alert engages faculty and staff in identifying students experiencing academic difficulties and connecting those students to on-campus resources and support services.

The Early Alert program connects students with TRU resources, such as academic advising, tutoring, counselling and financial services. Supportive Early Alert staff will reach out to you and offer help.

How does it work?

  1. A staff or faculty member notices a student experiencing academic difficulty and contacts the Early Alert office.
  2. Early Alert communicates with the student to offer optional, confidential support.
  3. Early Alert meets with the student to assess the student's needs and connect them to TRU resources or support services.
  4. Early Alert may check in with the student at a later date to ensure they are still getting the support they need to be academically successful.

Early Alert is not an emergency service

In the event of an emergency requiring police, ambulance, or fire services, call 911 immediately.

  • Location: OM 1242
  • Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Phone: 250-828-5213
  • Email:



What do you do if you receive a message from Early Alert?

If you receive a message from Early Alert it means that one of your instructors or a TRU staff member is concerned about you and your academic success. The notice will ask you to meet with an Early Alert staff person to help you get back on track. We are here to help you find solutions.

What if you don’t want to participate in Early Alert?

Participation in Early Alert is entirely voluntary, but we do ask that you contact the Early Alert office if you choose to opt out.

Faculty and Staff

How will I recognize behaviours that may act as barriers to academic success?

Behaviours may include:

  • habitual tardiness
  • unexplained absences
  • difficulty completing work on time
  • low quiz or assignment grades
  • excessive in-class sleepiness
  • homesickness
  • social isolation
  • changes in behavior

If you recognize that a student may be experiencing academic difficulty:

Submit referral


Meet the Team

  • Karen Nichols

    Karen Nichols
    Early Alert Learning Strategist


    Karen has been with Thompson Rivers University since 2010 and before that as a student starting in 2001, completing a Bachelor of Art, Geography and Bachelor of Education. In December 2019 Karen obtained her Master of Education at TRU as well. Karen worked as an on-call teacher from 2008 – 2010 in Merritt, B.C., and taught kindergarten to grade 12. Her favorite grade to teach was grade 12 which is why it was an easy transition for Karen to move into higher education. Most of her 11 years at TRU have been in the Registrar’s Office overseeing the front line staff.

    Although not a teacher in the traditional sense, Karen feels that her work within the post-secondary in terms of training staff and supporting students is still a form of teaching. As a Learning Strategist Early Alert, Karen is able to tap into her teaching background as well as her leadership skills by proactively supporting students academically. Karen prefers an open door policy and is always up for a drop-in visit to chat or grab coffee.

    At home Karen is a grandmother, mother, wife, and also looks after her aging mother. There is little down time for Karen but when she does take time for herself she is crocheting, binging shows on Netflix and Disney+, or reading.


Why was the Early Alert program developed?

The Early Alert Program was developed for several reasons:

  • To provide faculty and staff with access to a process for referring concerns about the academic progress of students.
  • To support a centralized approach to early student intervention.
  • To support the academic success, persistence and retention of students at TRU.

What is the purpose of Early Alert?

The purpose of Early Alert is to connect students experiencing academic difficulty to TRU resources and support services as early as possible in their current university semester.

The sooner a student experiencing academic difficulty is identified through the Early Alert process, the more time the student will have to improve their academic performance and successfully complete their course or program.

What if it’s an emergency?

Early Alert systems are not intended for emergency situations. In the event of an emergency requiring police, fire or ambulance, dial 911. Otherwise, contact campus security at 250-828-5033.

Will an Early Alert request become part of a student’s record?

No. A request for Early Alert support does not become part of a student’s academic record, or affect their grades. Instead, Early Alert gives students the opportunity to improve their academic standing in a timely manner. In addition, the referral will be viewed on a need-to-know basis. The information shared will not become a part of a student's permanent record.

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