This letter aims to address some of the issues that were raised about the M Center in the Mar. 2 issue of The Campanil. Our hope is to provide a different perspective on the College’s “Withdrawn Without Notice” process and the M Center’s role in it. Contrary to what was printed in The Campanil’s front page headline and in the second page editorial, we do not drop students from their classes without warning or without notice. Once the payment deadline passes, we embark on a month-long process involving heavy communication, including e-mail, phone calls and letters, to inform students of the three requirements of enrollment at Mills each semester: paying or arranging payment, confirming semester attendance, and registering for classes.
Following are some examples of our communication efforts:
We worked with Information Technology Services to implement an automated e-mail that notifies students who have paid or arranged payment that they are eligible to confirm their semester attendance. Those e-mails begin going out on the first day of Confirmation of Semester Attendance.
For those students who have not paid or arranged payment by the payment deadline, customized e-mails are sent.
When no e-mail response is received, we attempt to call you.
Once all deadlines have passed, a warning letter is sent to students in jeopardy of being considered withdrawn due to not having met the three enrollment requirements as stated above. The warning letter allows the students approximately one and a half weeks to contact the M Center and resolve their situation.
If we do not receive any response to our communication attempts, we cannot fulfill the three requirements on behalf of students. Our goal is to prevent students from being considered as having withdrawn from Mills. When students do not notify the College of their intentions, whether to be here, take a leave of absence or withdraw, they are considered as having withdrawn without notifying Mills, and their status is changed to “Withdrawn Without Notice.” The term “Withdrawn Without Notice” means that the student did not notify Mills, not that Mills did not notify the student.
Our communication efforts this spring resulted in the fewest number of students on record being considered withdrawn out of nearly 1,400 enrolled students in total. To ensure that you receive our communications, it is your responsibility to keep your contact information-including email address, phone number and mailing address-current. We also publicize important dates and deadlines in the Academic Calendar, College catalog, M Center websites, and by sending e-mail messages via the College’s Student Notice service.
We encourage you to respond to our communication, even if it is to say, “I can’t afford to make any payments right now.” Having that piece of information can help us guide you in determining other options. We are flexible and have made special payment arrangements with a number of students and their families to help ease their financial burden. On the other hand, we realize that it is not always possible to find acceptable arrangements in all situations.
We have a feedback box in the M Center lobby and we encourage you to use it-both when you are not satisfied with the service you receive and when you are. We have a system in place to ensure that all specific feedback is addressed and if you include your name and contact information, you will receive follow-up correspondence regarding the issue you raised. You can also e-mail your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The M Center is here to assist you in achieving your academic goals and to address your concerns regarding your academic records, financial aid and student accounts; we take your concerns seriously. We are always striving to improve our service and we welcome a dialogue about student priorities in relation to our service. We have had several meetings with ASMC representatives over the past few years. In the most recent meeting with an ASMC executive, we were invited and agreed to participate in a Town Hall Meeting this spring semester. We also send a representative to the monthly College Services meeting where you are invited to voice your concerns and raise questions about the M Center.
We look forward to continuing the productive dialogue we have begun with the ASMC to bring transparency to College policies and procedures, and to address your priorities. We also encourage all students with concerns to come see us at the monthly College Services meeting.
-M Center Staff