April 17 2019
In the new university, faculty will no longer be advisors across the spectrum of the collegiate experience, but rather mentors about what they know best: i.e., their field of study and a student’s preparation for entry into that field. Meanwhile, with the addition of student-success or life coaches, students have dedicated resources holistically connected to their entire collegiate experience, ready to help them navigate challenges and opportunities around and beyond the classroom experience.
Maryville University has chosen to embrace a dedication to life coaching. Life coaches are equipped with an extraordinary depth and breadth of data about the students they serve and act as a partner in each student’s collegiate experience. The students are coached from the beginning of their journey until they choose an academic advisor just before their junior year. Life coaches work with their student partners ten times each semester—a far cry from the once-a-semester course-selection model of advising.
Each life coach at Maryville does the following nine things to ensure their students' success:
- delivers personalized coaching services through innovative and proactive outreach to approximately ninety new incoming first-year students, with availability to help any student in need of assistance in order to ensure a positive student experience;
- creates a multitude of ways to provide high-touch support for students in overcoming obstacles, gaining confidence, and reaching their goals (e.g., weekly meetings, texts, blogs, push notifications);
- serves as a key player in the social and academic integration for first-year students by developing a positive rapport with students, parents, faculty, and staff;
- maintains thorough and accurate student information on attendance, participation, progress, retention, graduation, and post-graduate plans;
- eliminates administrative hurdles for students as they progress on their path to graduation;
- stays abreast of curricular changes in order to communicate key messages/deadlines, registration, financial aid, career support, and develops strategies for success both academic and otherwise;
- collaborates with faculty in all disciplines to stay on the cutting edge of industry standards and employer expectations in order to best coach new students;
- stays abreast of current and emerging trends which promote student success, including a strong awareness of the multitude of resources available at Maryville; and
- empowers students to develop and accomplish their personal, academic, and professional developmental goals.
With the implementation of the life-coaching model, underpinned by a centralized data platform and a collaborative mind-set embraced by the campus culture, freshman to sophomore retention rates have climbed to 88 percent and are still rising, and admission standards have not changed. Students are thriving at Maryville because learning and the support structures around that learning is personalized and focused.
The Student at the Center: Transforming Learning for the Future Challenge Questions
- Have you started a digital initiative at your institution?
- Do your advisors do any vocational mentoring with students?
- Are your academic-affairs division and your student-affairs division integrated for student success?
- Do you have integrative experiences that carry your students from year one to year four?
- Have you instituted professional development on current learning research for your faculty?
- Is all of the data that you have collected about individual students in one centralized data warehouse?
Academic advising continues to be one of the strongest vehicles available to our campuses for student-to-faculty engagement. Get clarity about the purpose of academic advising, as well as direction for a coordinated, collaborative campus process to determine
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