Does a warm bowl of chili have the right ingredients to bring about happiness? Student success coaches at Regent’s Center for Student Happiness (CSH) dished out the delicious treat during an open house recently, emphasizing that it’s not tangible goods, but relationships that truly make Regent students happy and successful.
The coaches served the snack to get to know students and reflect on a first semester of success.
“We handled 200 clients in the first semester,” said Kyle Graham, director of the CSH. “Our surveys and our feedback are all excellent. The coaches are getting good remarks. The process is getting good remarks. We’re getting good feedback from our faculty as well.”
Graham said his passion and calling is student success. He’s been working at Regent for about 10 years, and developed strategy based on research to get the CSH running in August. The Center took in Regent CARES, a 24-hour support hotline for students, and introduced student success coaching as a new element.
“Basically, we’re not giving them any answers,” said Graham. “We’re not telling them what to do. We’re drawing out of them what God has already put in them. Most of the time, they are very amazed at how much they actually understand their situation, more than they thought they did originally.”
Students schedule appointments and chat with a coach, either on the phone or in room 135 of the Student Center. The service is available free to online and on-campus undergrad and graduate students who face challenges that can range from time management to clarity in goal setting.
“First we would ask, ‘What are you facing right now?’” said Virginia Davison, student success coach. “Then we would say, ‘Ok, what do you want to get out of this session?’ We create a very specific session goal. Then we talk a little bit more about what they’ve tried in the past that may or may not have worked. Then we get to the brainstorming phase. We encourage them to think of anything they can to address this problem. They have five or 10 ideas, and then we ask which ones they want to adopt.”
Davison has been coaching students and sorting through their ideas since the center opened in August. Her goal is to increase student satisfaction by helping them reach their full potential. She guides them through problem solving, helping them identify realistic solutions, and put together action plans. This can include finding an accountability partner, putting together a backup plan, and finding ways to keep them motivated to follow through with their plan.
The Center has helped many students organize their lives to ensure they achieve success. In one case, a student who was failing classes was able to turn their performance around and begin earning a B+ average.
“We can look at data, and that’s fine, and all of the data shows that we’re doing great, but when you hear the story, when you hear about an individual, someone who may have not been able to make it, but now they can, that’s where it is,” said Graham.
The CSH takes appointments between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and sometimes in the evenings. Learn more about CSH.