Students across campus are reaching out to coaches on the Student Success Team for support to set goals, strengthen academic skills and more. Student Success Coaching at the U is part of the university’s mission to prepare “students from diverse backgrounds for lives of impact as leaders and citizens.”
Student Success Coaching is research-driven. Originally called Student Success Advocates, the name change follows a partnership with InsideTrack, an organization serving 3.1 million learners. Their work with other universities has shown gains in first-year retention, student persistence and overall graduation rates. Additional evidence shows career benefits when students have the support needed to commit to a traditional timeframe for their degree. The U’s partnership with InsideTrack was initiated last year and led to the hiring of additional Student Success Coaches through August 2023, bringing the total to 13.
P. Brandon Johnson, senior associate dean for Student Success and Transformative Experiences said that he “could not be more proud of how this program has grown and the data showing what coaches have accomplished in one year.” He added that “training from InsideTrack has equipped our coaches with the skills to assess student needs, provide guidance for goal setting and attainment and connect them to essential resources.”
Last year, coaches offered 1,379 student meetings to serve 611 unique students. While just under half of these meetings were centered on academic needs, the next most popular topics were career, finances, health and general support. The team’s newest hires will build upon the momentum that coaching has shown in increased GPAs, and reduced rates of students dropping, failing, withdrawing from class, or taking incompletes. Outside of quantifiable academic outcomes, students have shared informal, positive responses about their mental health, confidence in difficult situations and how they feel motivated moving into the next semester because of their relationship with a coach.
“We know that motivation translates to students’ enhanced ability to persist,” said T. Chase Hagood, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of Undergraduate Studies. “Undergraduate Studies has identified noticeable growth in student retention that can be attributed, in part, to coaching among students who need tools and information to address challenges that have historically stymied student success at the U.”
Students can reach out to coaches online for an appointment, but Director Stephanie Santarosa pointed out that coaches “meet students literally and figuratively where they are—from the Peterson Heritage Center to the Union; from the Warnock Engineering Building to the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building or they can meet on Zoom, on the phone, or on the new Herriman campus, among other locations.”
Learn more, read coach bios and schedule appointments at ssc.utah.edu.