Community College Research Initiatives

November 30, 2022

New publications on coaching for institutional transformation

The Student Success Center Network (SSCN) Coaching Program, in its second phase, has three new publications to share on the contributions institutional coaching is making to transform student success in higher education. The CCRI team in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF) sought to uncover how coaches facilitate incremental change over time that supports momentum and builds towards larger milestone goals. This phase of the project engaged 72 colleges, 69 coaches, and 4 states, ultimately finding that coaches help Student Success Centers (Centers) propel institutional and systemic change by facilitating the information flow from the Centers to the institutions and inversely from institutions to the Centers, while also serving to create professional connections within and between institutions. 

In the first of three publications released this fall, we distilled overarching lessons learned and case studies with coaching design elements for each of the four participating states in the SSCN Coaching Program: Facilitating Institutional Transformation report authored by CCRI’s Lia Wetzstein and Katie Kovacich and our JFF partners, Tara Smith, Jessica Soja, Alexandra Waugh, and Hector Torres. We found that coaches are pivotal in extending Centers’ capacity to facilitate institutional change and discuss the distinctions between coaching programs in systems and association states. Another important learning from this research is how continuous professional development is an essential component of a coaching program. The trainings enhance coaches’ knowledge and skills and provide opportunities to practice with one another which builds confidence in their coaching abilities while sustaining peer learning networks.

How Tools Support and Student Success Center Coaching Programs authored by Katie Kovacich and Lia Wetzstein from CCRI gives an overview of tool use by coaches. Beginning with the background and evolution of the SSCN Coaching Program Coaching Toolbox, this brief was created to describe the usefulness of the many tools generated to support the complex process of institutional change for Student Success Centers, coaches, and colleges. We discuss how three tools in particular produced by CCRI were consistently used in coaching skills development and how they were intentionally designed to train coaches to apply their craft using an equity-minded lens. Learn more about the tools in the brief and all of the tools are actively accessible in the SSCN Toolbox. 

Through interviews with college leadership, coaches, and Student Success Center leadership, the brief Ten Ways Institutional Coaching Makes a Difference, describes inspiring examples and stories from those engaged in supporting guided pathways and other student success initiatives. Our CCRI team was integral to the data-gathering process offering our expertise in qualitative research methods. Authors Tara Smith and Hector Torres from JFF explain how coaching helps to keep reform efforts student-centered, supports the implementation of state-mandated education initiatives like guided pathways, and develops leaders that can support transformation at their own colleges and at colleges across the state.

Whether you are interested in learning more about state-based coaching, developing a coaching program, or continuing to expand and sustain a current one, these briefs contain valuable information and ideas to support institutional coaching for change.