College Q&A: Student Success Coaches offer guidance, point of contact for UHV students

By Jeremy Shapiro
May 17, 2014 at 12:17 a.m.

I was reading about UHV's plans for new residential learning communities, and I noticed a couple of references to Student Success Coaches. Are those new positions? What type of coaching occurs?

While traditional advising is part of the job, University of Houston-Victoria Student Success Coaches also can help students pass classes and figure out their major.

UHV retooled its advising strategy in the fall to launch Student Success Coaches. Like an athletic coach, UHV's three Student Success Coaches offer guidance and are a point of contact to assist freshmen and sophomores navigate academically.

"I like the idea of having coaches for our new students, and I think we've been able to help make their lives better as they adjust to college," said Ashleigh Kellis-Carr, UHV Student Success Coach manager.

Kellis-Carr is joined by Sara Thurmond and Veronica Lopez as Student Success Coaches. All three are UHV graduates, so they can speak to students firsthand about their own experiences.

Students meet with one of the coaches before they register for classes. The coaches can help with course selection and scheduling. They can also answer questions about degree plans and prerequisites. Sometimes, it's just a matter of pointing them in the right direction, such as finding a necessary form on the UHV website, Kellis-Carr said.

If a student is falling behind in class or has poor attendance, UHV faculty members fill out an Academic Success Referral that goes to the coaches.

"We follow up with the student to see if he is having issues studying or understanding the material," Kellis-Carr said. "We try to point out different resources. We tell students about tutoring. If there are family issues, we let them know about counseling. If there's a disability, we can inform them about special accommodations."

For students who are undecided about what degree to pursue, Student Success Coaches team up with UHV Career Services to discuss potential good fits.

"During the freshman seminar class, students take a Strong Interest Inventory to find out more about their skills and interests," Kellis-Carr said. "The results are a good conversation starter about their major and career path."

Student Success Coaches will play a role in UHV's Living and Learning initiative. In the fall, the university will launch residential living communities, where groups of 20 to 25 students will live and learn together. As part of the support team, the coaches will meet monthly with each group.

For more information about the UHV Student Success Coaches, call 361-570-4288 or email

Do you have a question about the University of Houston-Victoria? Contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications specialist, at 361-570-4296 or



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