- An important institutional and societal dilemma is how to notify people when they are not meeting performance or community standards without undermining their motivation and efforts to do so. Focusing on the context of college students being placed on academic probation, I find that college administrators overwhelmingly intend probation to be helpful to and motivating for students but that students do not readily interpret these positive purposes from typical probation notification letters. Rather, typical probation notification letters elicit high levels of shame and concern about stigmatization from students, which may thwart their recovery to good academic standing. This is not inevitable, however: probation notification letters designed intentionally to address students’ concerns about belonging and devaluation—what I call psychologically attuned notification letters—may reduce students’ feelings of shame and concern about stigmatization, help them stay engaged, and support their academic recovery. I will describe the original development and test of these psychologically attuned notification letters at one college, share results from a multi-site trial, and briefly discuss an effort to help administrators write more attuned notifications themselves.
Time and Location:
Monday, September 14, 2020
"Message Intended is Not Message Received: Shame, Stigma, and Disengagement in the Academic Probation Notification Process." (Zoom link, Meeting ID: 944 1957 0615, PWD: social2020).