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TU’s Success Coach Program

Fall/Winter 2013

TU’s Success Coach Program was designed to help students who are on academic probation or warning. TU’s Success Coaches assist students in locating materials, places, and people on-campus. They offer support, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and academic strategies to improve academic performance. Success Coaches focus on providing personal development, assistance with planning and organization, and motivation to succeed.

Success Coach Susan Marion

As a former teacher in the public schools, Success Coaching was a natural fit for me when we started this program at Tiffin University in 2007. We have worked with hundreds of students to help them get and stay on the right track. The boulders in a student’s road to success are varied.

They include issues with time management, procrastination, lack of college preparedness, lack of motivation, personal problems, and lack of support from home, decision making, and adjustment to college life in general. All of the skills we work with students to improve are life skills that will serve them well in the future.

“My students and I communicate long after they leave me to move on in their college career,” said Susan. “I have received calls on Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas from former students. I absolutely love my work with these young people.”

Success Coach Barb Carmon

Barb Carmon has been a Success Coach for three semesters.

In her words, “Success coaching is getting to know each student and discovering what internal or external issues are preventing them from succeeding at their full potential. It is then when I try to guide them to come up with solutions that will help them overcome these issues. For example, I had a student who put everything off…he was the great procrastinator! After reading an article together about reasons people procrastinate, he narrowed it down and learned something about himself.”

Barb cannot think of just one personal accomplishment as a success coach. “I guess I feel that if the student is no longer on academic warning or probation after working with me, I have accomplished my goal,” she said. “That has occurred several times. I am a retired teacher, so working with students has been a life-long love. My family has always been very pro sports, so I particularly enjoy working with athletes.”

In conclusion, Barb says, “Some people think that we only help students with their classroom work, but other issues can be impeding them. I had a young man who I discovered had vision problems, so I connected him with an eye doctor. I transported him to and from appointments, and he eventually received glasses. He was very appreciative!”

Success Coach Dee Jackson

“I think one of the greatest accomplishments as a Success Coach is to see the students that I worked with proudly walk across the stage at graduation,” said Dee.

“I tell my students that they ‘own’ their education, it cannot ever be taken away from them, and, as the custodians of their educational experience, they must constantly nourish and feed it (almost treat it as a living object). My goal is to reinforce the notion that no matter how hard it gets or how pointless it seems at the moment, or what else happens in your life, you will never regret getting your education.”

Success Coach Debbie Gerschutz

Debbie Gershutz has been a Success Coach at Tiffin University for six semesters.

“One of my former students, who is now a senior, came back to visit and told me that he would be graduating this year. He thanked me and told me he was not sure he would have made it without the help and support he received through TU’s Success Coaching Program. Of course, he is the one who did the hard work, but, it is great to know that with just a small amount of support, a student can be successful who might have otherwise been lost along the way.”

As a retired high school counselor and teacher for over 36 years, Debbie felt her experiences working with students of all ages has helped her to relate to her students at TU.

“I especially enjoy helping students set realistic goals and then plan how to achieve those goals,” she said. “Making college relevant to the rest of their lives is very important to me. I enjoy helping students make connections with what they are learning to their personal and future professional lives. As a high school counselor, I focused on career education. Helping students prepare in a career field that they are passionate about is exciting at any level of education.”

According to Debbie, all students do not always succeed for one reason or another, but she feels very gratified each time one of her students does succeed. It is very encouraging to her when a student returns to say thank you.

Her favorite compliment was, “My coach was awesome and so supportive no matter what. She is a great person as well as a great coach!”

One other compliment that really stands out in Debbie’s mind was a student’s response to suggestions for improvement for the Success Coaching Program. “He told me everything was great. He wouldn’t change a thing. His only recommendation was that he wished everyone at TU could have a Success Coach,” Debbie said.

“I tell my students that my responsibility is to be their advocate,” she explained. “That means that I will be supportive through the good times and bad, and if they are willing, we can meet any challenges as they arise. I think being a Success Coach means that you do not stop trying to find solutions. If one approach doesn’t work, let’s find another that does. The students who are willing to keep trying can’t help but be successful. Reassuring a student that someone is in their corner can go a long way to help them make the successful transition from high school and home to the adult world of college with a safety net available.”

Success Coach Kristen Santos

This is Kristen’s first year as a Success Coach at Tiffin University.

The true meaning of being a Success Coach to Kristen is working one-on-one to teach an at-risk student how to develop their own personal “college 101 toolkit” for survival and success.

According to Kristen, “Each student has his/her own obstacles to overcome before they can receive and understand a focused college education. I view my job as helping a student to become independent from the Success Coach support system by equipping them with tools to fix and improve their current situation. Tools may include methods of better decision making, time management tactics, and utilizing TU’s free services such as tutoring through the Student Success Center and counseling. Hopefully, the students gain enough tools to guide them beyond their college years and into their next stage of life.”

Kristen believes her 20 years of teaching experience and working with a multitude of learning types and varied abilities is the kind of personal experience she will draw from as a guide to coach students.

“Since this is my first year,” says Kristen, “I hope to make a difference in the lives of the students I coach. I hope that they can look back on this semester and say that they have gained from the Success Coach Program and are glad that they participated.”

Success Coach Barb Kline

Barb has been a Success Coach since fall 2012.

“I love being a success coach,” she said. “Not only do I get the opportunity to help young adults attain their goals, I also get the enjoyment of interacting with the students, and hopefully, make a difference in their lives.”

Barb’s greatest personal accomplishment was returning to college and graduating, which she believes has helped immensely with her success coaching. “The first day of class was a bit intimidating,” she said. “Here I am sitting in a classroom with forty other students and I am older than their parents, but all the students accepted me and soon I was friends with many of them.”

“Having raised three children of my own, I found myself being both a friend and a support figure to the students I coached. I believe this experience opened the door for me to become a successful Success Coach,” she said. “I feel that I can relate to the students in a way that they can understand because I have gone through most of the same challenges that they are facing every day.”

When asked to share a success coach story, Barb said, “The greatest moment of my career as a Success Coach was when my first student walked across the stage to receive her diploma. I cheered so loudly the lady next to me asked about the student. Being the proud ‘mother’ that I was, I explained how proud I was of that young lady and her accomplishments.”

“Not all of my students have had success,” said Barb, “but a large number have moved forward and are working hard to graduate from Tiffin University, as well as succeed in life. I am VERY PROUD of ALL my students! They have made a difference in my life and I hope I have made a difference to them.”

Success Coach Barb Phillips

Barb has been a Success Coach for six years. She is a retired public school educator and the mother of two daughters who are college graduates.

“Working with students in the classroom, at extra-curricular events, as an advisor to clubs, and being a mother, has been my life. A life filled with caring, sharing and joy at seeing young people grow and mature,” said Barb. “Motivating students in the Success Coaching Program to get excited about being at TU and what it takes to become successful are key factors in working in this program.”

Barb said that she really enjoys the one-on-one contact with these students (getting to know them, and having them trust her enough to help them along their journey). “Helping them through some of their challenges and being a good listener are some of my strengths,” she said. “The student and I try to set goals and relate these to their future goals (the rest of their lives). I try to get them to realize that each step now–no matter how small–is leading to the big picture of a successful life.”

“Receiving surprise texts with happy wishes from students on Mother’s Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving make me feel that I have made a difference in their lives, Barb said. “Also seeing my former students on campus or around town and they greet me with a hug, smile and stories of how they are succeeding makes me feel I have made a difference. And lastly, when a student asks if they can continue to come see me even when they are out of the program makes me feel I have done something right.”

Success Coach Timothy Galvin

Tim Galvin just completed his second semester as a Success Coach.

“As a Success Coach,” Tim said, “my primary objective is to share my experience, for whatever it may be worth, in supervision both in a manufacturing setting, as well as in a non-profit setting. My goal is to encourage students to realize that preparation for their work life begins now, and that the habits that they form today will help ensure success in their future careers.”

Tim said he often hears students say that the transition from high school to college is often difficult. But in reality, according to Tim, the transition is more than from high school to college.

“The transition is from high school to the rest of a student’s life,” he said. “Adulthood begins when the student sets foot on the campus. For this reason, I encourage my students to see their college experience as their first career.”

Tim hopes that the students he coaches realize that he is being totally honest with them when he tells them that if they begin today to identify their core values, set high personal performance standards, and honestly become personally accountable, this will positively carry over into their chosen professions.

“How successfully they choose to do this now will likely have a direct impact on their future success,” Tim said.

Success Coach Lori Waschak

Lori has been a Success Coach for one year.

“In any given week as Success Coach,” said Lori, “I am a counselor, a cheerleader, a teacher, a secretary, and a drill sergeant. I can make a difference at Tiffin University when I develop a rapport with a student, and then week by week, evaluate their needs, help them articulate a particular problem, and then guide them to make an action plan. It is my task to be ever responsive to each of my student’s challenges as we press on toward success together!”

Success Coach Judith Watson

Judy Watson has been a Success Coach for one semester. “This opportunity has provided me an avenue to continue offering assistance to students at yet another level of education — the collegiate level. Previously, most of my experiences were with students at the middle and high school levels.”

This semester, Judy has mentored sophomores who needed assistance in prioritizing their time and sticking to a planned schedule. An additional responsibility is to help them realized that there is a solid network of faculty and staff at Tiffin University available to assist them with academic as well as personal issues.

“I find their candor and openness quite refreshing, Judy said. “More than likely, students know their weaknesses and they want to develop strategies to become successful in their academic endeavors.”

“Hopefully, I have been able to provide the necessary prompts and guidance which will enable them to become successful in their career development and personal lives,” Judy concluded.

Success Coach Pat Collins

Pat has been a Success Coach at Tiffin University for one year. “I really enjoy sharing moments of confidence with students when they have been successful on a paper or test,” said Pat. “I feel special when they text or email me with good news about an assignment or test on a day when we are not meeting. One of my most rewarding moments was when one of my students introduced me to his father. His father told me that he really appreciated my work in helping his son keep on track in getting his work done for class. We had a nice chat about the Success Coach Program and he was thankful that TU had a success program since many colleges do not.”

Pat believes one of her greatest accomplishments as a Success Coach is bonding with her students to the point where they feel comfortable enough to share not only academic concerns but also personal concerns which can strongly influence their performance in the classroom.

“I share my life and professional experiences with them in order to help them get to the root of a problem, which sometimes is not recognizable,” she explained. “It’s not always about helping them develop better study skills or time management skills. Much of the time, it is about getting them organized so they aren’t so overwhelmed, learning to use a student planner to keep track of due dates and assignments, encouraging them to develop relationships with their instructors, and solving problems (both personal and academic).”

As a Success Coach, Pat has witnessed students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be used for future personal and academic situations.

“I teach students the steps needed to make changes that will improve their academic standing, and I repeatedly discuss the adage, ‘You can’t keep doing what you are doing and expect different results.’ We always work on creating new strategies they can use to produce changes and more positive outcomes. I try to instill in them that the habits they are forming now can be used to manage both their personal and professional lives. I care about their success at TU and strongly encourage them to develop ‘a bag of tools’ that they can use for the rest of their lives,” she concluded.

Success Coach Rhonda Huffman

This is Rhonda’s first semester as a Success Coach at TU and she plans to return next semester.

“I feel I have made a difference as a Success Coach because I have witnessed the student’s attitudes, grades and overall achievements rise since I have been working with them,” said Rhonda. “I see more smiles radiating from their faces all because their grades and lives are on the right track.”

According to Rhonda, a Success Coach means, “I am able to share with students, of various backgrounds, what may help them succeed with whatever class or personal issue they may be facing. I am their sounding board. They can vent, share, laugh, and joke while at the same time I show them the path that will lead them in the right direction. I have become close to the students I work with and I have learned from them as well. Learning is a lifelong journey and I know I may only be one of many stones they pass, along the journey, but I want to make sure they always remember they are worth something and can succeed.”

Rhonda believes that she can offer students another opinion or view students may not have thought about or heard before. “Everyone comes from various backgrounds,” she said, “and being able to work together to succeed is one of the greatest accomplishments for me.”