Tyler Garrison knows how important it was to have someone in his corner while he navigated his higher education. Today, as a Student Success Coach at Laramie County Community College, Garrison said he’s happy to have the opportunity to help students in the same way.
“I find a sense of joy having those relationships with students and seeing them be successful, because I had the opportunity to do that,” he said.
Garrison, a Sacramento native, was a student athlete in college, juggling a demanding schedule. But the support he received from mentor-like figures made it possible. Now Garrison gets to work with student athletes at LCCC and be that person for students.
“I played college soccer, so I understand what it means to give commitment to an athletic program while also being a student,” he said.
A Student Success Coach at LCCC, at both the Cheyenne and Laramie campuses, can be thought of as a student’s champion, cheerleader, guide or mentor, said Blake Paintner, Student Success manager.
“From the moment that students show interest in LCCC, (Success Coaches) help define and understand what their personal, career and academic goals are and help them achieve those goals all the way through graduation,” she said.
Starting July 1, Success Coaches at LCCC began helping students with everything from completing the application for admission, requesting high school transcripts, helping with career exploration, identifying pathways and programs that align with students’ interests and goals, assisting with registration, advising on study habits, and more. The moment someone shows interest in LCCC, they can be connected to a Success Coach at no cost.
In a sense, the Success Coach positions are a merger of LCCC’s academic advisors’ and admissions representatives’ duties, but Success Coaches’ responsibilities go even further. If students are struggling with a class, Success Coaches can step in and ask what needs to be done to improve the situation. They also can direct students to various campus resources, like LCCC’s Mental Health Services. Essentially, Success Coaches have a broad base of knowledge that allows them to address virtually any need a student might have. And if the Success Coaches don’t know the answer right away, Garrison said he can find the answer.
“It’s not like I don’t know the answer and I’m going to point you to someone else,” he said. “You can almost think about it as a one-stop shop.”
The Success Coaches concept, Paintner said, came after about five years of research and planning. Though other higher learning institutions have success coaches in their own ways, LCCC’s approach is unique.
“We just want people who are passionate about helping students succeed and seeing the institution succeed,” said Sarah Hannes, LCCC Enrollment Services director. “They are very student-centered, just wanting to help and guide and do anything they can for their whole caseload of students.”
Paintner said LCCC staff are already seeing data indicating the Success Coach approach is working. Whereas it might have previously taken students several weeks to make contact with their advisor after applying, Paintner said Success Coaches are seeing that take place in days. There have also been fewer canceled appointments.
“We think it’s perhaps because of the stronger relationships students are building (with Success Coaches),” Hannes said.
Garrison said he wants his students to understand that it’s “OK to not be OK.” It’s common, he said, for college students to struggle at times, whether with navigating the higher education system or personal issues. At LCCC, Success Coaches are available to tackle those challenges, letting students know they are never alone.
“I just want to let you know that if you need anything, it’s OK,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m in your corner. That’s the point.”
To make an appointment with a Success Coach in Cheyenne or Laramie, use the Navigate app in myLCCC to schedule an appointment.