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Academic Success Coaching Initiative

The Office of Student Retention is coordinating WCU’s Academic Success Coaching initiative. This initiative supports students in need of additional resources to be successful in online learning environments necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The coaching initiative was made possible by a grant from the University of North Carolina System Virtual Student Service Initiative, part of $1.4 million invested by the North Carolina General Assembly to enhance the student experience in digital learning this summer and fall through student success coaching and virtual tutoring.

The Academic Success Coaching initiative builds upon a previous coaching curriculum developed by the Writing and Learning Commons. Coaches use the theoretical framework of Appreciative Advising to develop relationships with students, establish concrete goals for each semester, and provide an accountability framework for students at risk of experiencing academic difficulty in changing instructional modalities this summer and fall. Students preparing to go into the workforce also are directed to career readiness resources as part of the Academic Success Coaching initiative.

Coaches work with students in one-on-one virtual coaching sessions, supplemented by reflective exercises designed to build strong academic habits and identify key areas of need for each individual student, in the context of an online learning environment. Students who would benefit most from the Academic Success Coaching initiative were identified and invited to participate based on academic performance data from the spring 2020 semester, those who faced particular challenges in an online learning environment, and those referred by campus faculty and staff. 

The first round of coaching began in July, and a second round is being planned for early fall. Faculty or staff interested in nominating a student for coaching should contact the Office of Student Retention at

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