Student Success Center restructures – aims for more aha moments

Student Success Center Coach, Bob Wilson loves the “aha moments” his students experience during coaching calls. “All of a sudden, you sense that the student is appreciating something they never considered before and that’s magic!” There will be many more aha moments and deeper relationships formed between students and their coaches resulting from a new affiliation segmentation coach assignment structure implemented over the last month at the Student Success Center. 

Now, coaches are grouped into six affiliations including Starbucks, Corporate Partners, Military, Core Undergraduate, Core Graduate, and Reentry. Under the original model, coaches were organized by undergraduate or graduate team with the undergraduate team further divided into colleges and programs. 

Laura Bettine, director of the Student Success Center’s daily operations, explains that the new segmentation model has resulted in immediate benefits for coaches and students. For example, instead of focusing on program-specific issues, coaches will now dig deep into the nuances of each affiliation to uncover unique obstacles while devising plans and solutions to overcome them. Other benefits to the new segmentation include coaches and students staying together instead of losing continuity if a student changes their major; less of a chance coaches will slip into advising roles rather than sticking to their coaching roots and; more meaningful interactions as the Success Center becomes aware of trends within the affiliations.

Wilson, assigned to the Starbucks affiliation, was a skeptic at first. He knew the new model meant that he would not be coaching students majoring in organizational leadership and interdisciplinary studies with whom he had built relationships. “Now, I realize it was a brilliant move. The new segmentation allows me to focus on a student population that has similar challenges.” For example, Wilson has learned that since Starbucks employees work variable schedules, he will discuss options and develop plans to help students be more efficient when their time is at a premium. “I will learn more of these Starbucks-focused idiosyncrasies which will help me provide better service to students,” he says. 

This is just the beginning of tapping into the anatomy of the affiliations and Bettine is excited about it. She notes that Student Success Center Lead, Kissa Powell, who manages the military affiliation segment, served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. She is building relationships with the ASU Pat Tillman Veterans Center that will expose coaches to the intricacies of tuition assistance and other unique benefits and challenges to higher education that veterans face. This strategy will extend across the affiliations where subject matter experts exist and can work closely with the teams, exposing them to the values and culture of the affiliate so coaches can incorporate what they learn into conversations with students. 

“In a year, when we look back, I hope the affiliation segmentation model results in deeper student engagement and retention, coaches who are happier and feel more rewarded and that we grow the Student Success Center so much that we have space problems we cannot even begin to solve!” says Bettine.