By Mirna Youssef
There were originally only six success coaches when LIU Promise began in fall 2013. One recently left, and many more were added to the Promise staff, totaling 11 success coaches: Dan Lauterman, Katelin Townsend, Alissa Karcz, Leslie Bai, Saadia Rafiq, Susan Sadkowski, Mikki Rosman, Gregory Schimmel, Kaitlin Jensen, Samantha Gottlieb, and Ali DiBona.
Of these 11, Dan Lauterman, Saadia Rafiq, Alissa Karcz, Kaitlin Jensen and Ali DiBona are five of the original six coaches. Daniel Carlos, who was one of the six original success coaches, and formally an advisor, left LIU Post, effective Nov. 26, 2014, for another job.
Since Carlos’ departure, his students have been assigned to new coaches. Those students will now have to familiarize themselves with a new coach, and that coach will have to quickly learn about their students in order to efficiently advise them.
Ali DiBona, Senior Associate Director of LIU Promise, works as a success coach as well. “I have a small caseload of students,” she said.
“Each success coach has a caseload of no more than 150 students. This allows each coach to form close relationships with their students. The LIU Promise model provides students with one point of contact at the university. A success coach ensures that their students are engaging in the campus community, meeting their academic and career goals, and succeeding at LIU,” DiBona said.
“My success coach has been a great help providing me with assistance with all my questions. She can help me with all my questions concerning the classes I’m required to take for [my] major. She helped me with the process of signing into a class and changing my major. She also helped me explore different majors and minors,” said Perla Marte, a freshman Criminal Justice major.
The success coaches have replaced the previous academic advisors. “All success coaches and enrollment counselors assist students with their course selection, developing a four-year plan, assisting with financial aid, and helping students succeed,” DiBona said.
“In my experience, my success coach has been good at helping me map out a path to get to where I want to be and help me figure out what classes I could take to fill my requirements, [and] also fit my interests,” said Aida Enamorado, a freshman Psychology major. “On the other hand, success coaches should know more about the professors and their teaching styles because not everyone learns the same way, and [all] professors don’t teach the same way. For example, I’m a visual learner and it’d be great if my success coach could tell me which teacher would be a better fit for me based on that.”
DiBona stated that success coaches receive ongoing training in order to assist students with their questions. “We have ongoing [training] throughout the semester in all necessary areas. For example, the success coaches are receiving training on advising, financial aid, career development, conflict resolution, student engagement, etc.,” DiBona said. “This is process ensure[s] that all success coaches have the tools they need to succeed and help students accurately,” DiBona added.
All of the success coaches are cross-trained in all of the academic areas; however, some have specialty caseloads. “For example, Susan [Sadkowski] sees the School of Visual and Performing Arts students, and works closely with the departments within SVPA,” DiBona said. “Some of the other coaches have these specialty areas; however, all of the success coaches are encouraged to learn all majors/programs to provide assistance to all students. This is why we have to constantly have ongoing trainings to ensure we are staying up to date on departmental, course, and other various changes.”
Students who came to Post prior to fall 2013 do not have a success coach, but instead have an enrollment services counselor in Kumble Hall. “I guess since I’m a transfer student, nobody told me about them [success coaches],” said Samantha Fare, a junior Public Relations major. “I guess having a success coach wouldn’t make a difference to me since I feel the academic advisors do nothing for me. I would only go to a success coach if the campus strongly urged me to,” she said.
Success coaches are given to new freshmen when they enroll, and will continue to work alongside them until graduation. Current freshmen and sophomores have an assigned success coach. If a student is transferring into Post as a first-year, they too will receive a success coach.
“All of the success coaches are encouraged to get involved in activities, clubs, Greek life, athletic events, etc., as another way to interact with their students. We don’t consider a traditional advising appointment as the only way for the success coaches to interact with their students,” DiBona said. Coaches will relay any vital information to their students, whether in person or via email. If there are any events or opportunities available, success coaches will provide students with the necessary details and any assistance they may need.
“Success coaches are very passionate about their role at the university; they are a great resource to students, and are always willing to help. Although each success coach has their own caseload of students, we have a very open office environment that fosters communication and collaboration. If one student’s success coach is out of the office, every success coach is willing to step in and help all students,” DiBona said.
Students initially meet their success coaches at registration events throughout the spring and summer. Success coaches also attend orientation, and urge their students to schedule a meeting time as soon possible at the beginning of each semester. Students can check their My LIU account to find out the name of their assigned success coach, or go to the LIU Promise office on the second floor of Hillwood Commons.