With a Student Coaching Program Going Five Years Strong, Alabama Community College Proudly Announces 14 Percentage Point Improvement to Graduation Rate

Following a capacity-building partnership with student coaching experts from InsideTrack, Wallace State continues momentum through major improvements in student retention and graduation rates

HANCEVILLE, AL (SEPTEMBER 12, 2018) — Wallace State Community College in Alabama released data today showing the impact of its student success coaching program after five years of operation. Working with student success experts from InsideTrack, Wallace State successfully developed and launched a coaching program that helps students develop the skills and attitudes needed for success, which has generated a 14 percentage point improvement to Wallace State’s graduation rate.

Five years ago, Wallace State was facing a challenge. The college’s graduation rate stood at 24 percent, and leaders had only minimal resources available to launch an effort to improve outcomes by delivering stronger support directly to students. Looking for an innovative way to improve student support in a cost-effective way, they joined a consortium of two other Alabama institutions to apply for and win a four-year Department of Labor TAACCCT grant to help adult learners and other displaced workers in Alabama train for skilled positions in technical fields like health care, criminal justice and manufacturing.

Using its portion of the grant, Wallace State launched a partnership with InsideTrack to help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for success.  After a year of having InsideTrack provide coaching directly to students, the two organizations worked together to develop a scalable, sustainable in-house student support program. The college’s student affairs team successfully launched their own program in 2015, replicating the InsideTrack model.

The program has been independently run by the college since, with coaches helping students navigate the non-academic aspects of the college experience, develop effective time management skills, connect to support resources and find balance between life, study and work. Insights gained through the coaching program have also been used by institutional leaders to refine and enhance the student experience and improve overall outcomes.

“To expand educational and career opportunities throughout our community, it is imperative that we provide individualized support in an affordable and sustainable way,” said Suzanne Harbin, Director of Advancement at Wallace State Community College. “By working with InsideTrack to develop our coaching program, we have been able to help thousands of additional students reach their goals, accomplishing our mission in a financially sustainable way.”

From the very beginning, the coaching program has made a tangible impact on student success at Wallace State. After just one year of coaching, the Hanceville campus reported a 17.3 percentage point increase in student retention in the targeted programs. Now fully operated internally by college personnel, the coaching program continues to make an impact with graduation rates rising from 24 percent prior to the partnership to 38 percent last year.

Now, building on the success of the last five years, the rural community college is increasingly using advanced analytics and data science to further target its efforts.  For example, they recently launched a tiered outreach model based on real-time persistence predictions. This approach enables a team of five coaches to effectively support more than 1200 first-time freshmen by adjusting their level of proactive engagement based on each student’s changing needs.

Wallace State Community College, with its main campus in Hanceville and a satellite campus in Oneonta, is a part of a system that serves the needs of more than 300,000 individuals and is estimated to produce a $3 billion annual economic impact in Alabama communities. Wallace State is one of the largest colleges in the Alabama Community College System, serving more than 6,500 students in credit and non-credit programs each semester and offers more than 50 majors leading to degree, certificate and transfer opportunities.

“When we work with a college or university, our highest hope is to help the institution develop the capacity to provide tailored support to all students and operationalize the insights gained through this process to enhance the student experience,” said Ed Neelley, associate vice president of program development at InsideTrack. “Wallace State Community College has become a student coaching leader and has achieved results that are truly remarkable. We applaud their success and expect even greater accomplishments in the near future.”


About Wallace State Community College

Wallace State Community College is a comprehensive, public community college in north central Alabama, with campuses in Hanceville and Oneonta, and a commitment to learning that transforms lives and communities. Widely recognized as a national pacesetter, Wallace State has been named an Achieving the Dream Leader College and repeatedly ranked among the Aspen Institute’s Top 150 community colleges in America. It is listed as one of the fastest growing community colleges with enrollments of 5,000 or more by Community College Week, designated the first choice community college by Alabama high school seniors taking the ACT, ranked nationally for its healthcare programs, and selected among the top institutions in the South for workforce development. The College was named a Center for Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing in 2016, one of only three community colleges in the country to earn that distinction. It is one of 180 All-Steinway Schools in the world, selected as one of 30 community colleges to lead AACC’s Pathways Project, and named a Military Friendly institution. For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.

About InsideTrack

InsideTrack is passionate about student success. Since 2001, we have been dedicated to partnering with colleges and universities to create adaptive coaching solutions that generate measurable results. These solutions combine professional coaching, technology, and data analytics to increase enrollment, completion, and career readiness. Our adaptive coaching methodology is based on the latest behavioral science research and knowledge gained from working with more than 1.5 million students and 1,600 programs. In combination with our uCoach® Platform, our approach optimizes student engagement and generates valuable insights on the student experience through predictive modeling, behavioral analysis, and multichannel communication. InsideTrack is a member of the nonprofit Strada Education Network. Join us and the leading institutions, foundations, and others working to bring the transformative power of education to all individuals. Visit us at www.insidetrack.com and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

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