February 21, 2024

Purdue Global’s student success coaching program to celebrate one year of addressing student needs, providing additional support

How program helps students overcome challenges to be featured in SXSW EDU panel discussion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Siblings Juliette Garcia and Jose Garcia Fiallos are always there for each other — even in college.

“We push each other and help each other out,” Jose says.

But the sister-brother duo from Trenton, New Jersey, has additional support to help them through their journey in Purdue Global’s School of Business and Information Technology: student success coaches.

In different conversations with their academic advisors last fall, they shared that they needed some assistance with their coursework and navigating through Purdue Global’s online student resources. The advisors referred them to student success coaches, which was a game-changing moment for both.

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coaching-garcia Juliette Garcia (left) and Jose Garcia Fiallos; mother, Faviola; and brother Fernando at a graduation event. Juliette and Jose, both enrolled at Purdue Global, have received additional support on their education journey through student success coaches. (Photo provided) Download image

Juliette, who is pursuing a degree in business administration with a concentration in business management, needed resources to improve her time management skills, including a tendency to procrastinate.

“It’s been helping me out a lot. My coach Sarah helped me come up with a plan for the things that must be done. The organizational system has helped me out. If there’s an issue, we come up with a solution to solve it,” Juliette says.

Jose, who is working on a business administration degree with a concentration in real estate, says the access to resources, including the online library, and the emergency assistance grant he received for a laptop have helped him do better with this set of classes. Juliette also received a scholarship for a laptop.

“My coach Kim has been great to work with,” he says. “They have helped me out so much. The student success coaches understand you.”

Jose was placed on academic probation after his first set of classes. But having regular meetings and additional support from his coach have helped him do better in his courses.

“The student success coaches help out a lot, especially if you are new to Purdue Global and need a little more help,” Jose says. “You think you can handle it yourself, but it’s nice to have support.”

With a focus on personalized success plan meetings, student success coaches have actively assisted more than 1,200 individual students. The overall engagement, including coaching sessions and workshops, exceeds 1,500, highlighting the breadth of its impact on the student community. Coaches also have follow-up calls with the students.


brinkman-coach Courtney Brinkman, a Purdue Global student success coach from Attica, Indiana, works with Nora Arete during a training session. (Purdue Global photo/John Underwood) Download image

Karen McGregor, executive director of student success, and Ashley Flood, a manager of student success coaching, say the program is meeting a need for students — and stories like Juliette’s and Jose’s show that it is working.

Coaches and staff have attended numerous student orientations and have direct outreach to students on probation, sharing how they can help. The offer for coaching has turned out to be successful. Following one presentation this past fall, almost 80 students signed up in a 24-hour period.

“These are students who have some type of basic need and might struggle with issues,” McGregor says. “The students are coming to you with a burden, and the coaches help connect them to a resource, ranging from internal items and assistance to emergency aid.”

Purdue Global has 22 success coaches and three managers located across all time zones in the continental U.S.

“Coaching is happening in the evening,” McGregor says. “It’s not a traditional nine-to-five role.”

McGregor and the rest of the student success coaching team have also worked with faculty members to let them know of the additional coaching support for students.

“There’s been a great collaboration with people across Purdue Global,” McGregor says.

McGregor and Flood have both talked about the program at conferences and meetings throughout 2023 — with Flood having presented at Times Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed’s Student Success U.S. conference. McGregor will be part of a team of other higher education leaders facilitating a 90-minute workshop on student success coaching in March at SXSW EDU. McGregor will also serve as a panelist at Canva’s Linking Leaders: Higher Ed Futures Forum in March.

Top student challenges include:

  • Time management (school/personal/work/other)
  • Academic needs (support/course issue/appeals/other resources)
  • Basic needs (finance/technology/shelter)
  • Mental health and well-being (mental health/personal stress/personal health/family stress/work stress)

“We want them to leave the appointment better off than when they started and get their momentum going again,” McGregor says.

Student success coaches connect students to mental health counselors in their areas or reconnect with any existing therapy programs. All coaches have completed training in Mental Health First Aid through Purdue Extension.

“We are situated at the intersection of academic advising and social services support,” McGregor says. “We strive to cater to students in that unique space, ensuring they receive comprehensive assistance.”

Some students, following resolution of an issue, send thank-you notes for a coach who provided a listening ear or offered assistance.

“Hearing firsthand from a student about the positive impact that a coach has had on them reaffirms why we are here and why we do this important work. Success coaching is a way to increase student retention rates, which is a main goal of the program,” Flood says.

McGregor and Flood hope to develop basic needs experts placed throughout Purdue Global who can identify student needs even quicker.

“It’s amazing to be a part of the students’ journeys in this way. We’re looking forward to helping more students and expanding our impact,” Flood says.

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults who have life experience and often some college credits. It offers flexible paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, military service and previous college credits, no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and backed by Purdue University. For more information, visit https://stories.purdue.edu/purdue-global/.

Writer/Media contact: Matthew Oates, oatesw@purdue.edu, 765-496-6160, @mo_oates

Source: Karen McGregor, Ashley Flood, Juliette Garcia, Jose Garcia Fiallos

Karen McGregor, Purdue Global’s executive director of student success, will participate in a panel presentation on student success coaching at SXSW EDU. “Driving Success: The Power of Coaching in Higher Education” will be from 3:30-5 p.m. CT March 4.

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