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Coaching for Academic Readiness & Excellence

CARE at WKU - a video explaining CARE

Coaching for Academic Readiness & Excellence

Academic success coaching can be defined as a one-on-one, working partnership that focuses on the ‘process of learning,'  as they tackle setting goals and discovering strategies to help them reach their goals.

At WKU our coaching program for online learners is called Coaching for Academic Readiness & Success (C.A.R.E.). Our coaches are assigned groups of students, and remain with those students through graduation, strengthening student ties to WKU. 

The Relationship Between The Coach & Online Learner

The coach and online learner work closely together to develop a personalized learning plan (PLP) based on the following:

  • Student goals (academic and career), learning preferences, organizational skills, and study habits  
  • Strengths, and academic challenges
  • Challenges that may impact academic success (finances, work schedule, time management, etc)
  • Timeline for completion of degree, and what that means for enrollment

The coach's goal is to support the student, help build student confidence, and develop strategies for student success. The PLP is the first step in achieving these goals, and allows the learner and coach to personalize the support provided. From there, the coach:

  • Interacts with the student regularly through multiple channels, while also providing weekly activities designed to help the student expand the strategies used to stay on track. Weekly activities are housed in Blackboard
  • Utilizes early intervention strategies, while  providing support and guidance. Starfish EARLY ALERT makes this possible. By reaching out early, we are better able to help the student get back on track. 
  • Connects students with academic support resources designed to help them succeed
  • Remains available outside regularly scheduled conversations to act as a support resource for the student 


Starfish is a retention software for monitoring student progress in their courses and degree program, and provides daily reports of critical action items. The list of action items are based on the parameters of the flags that coaches set-up in Starfish. Flags are among the key features in Starfish - they are customizable and can be set based on academic standing, type of course, student, student-group, course participation, assignments, and/or course average. They allow coaches to manage those most at-risk, first, through a comprehensive dashboard that reaches across all disciplines. 

Starfish makes it possible for staff to provide high-touch support for a large number of students in an efficient manner without ever seeing inside the Blackboard course site. This, in turn, helps faculty manage their workloads.

It's scalable, and student centered. The implementation of Starfish EARLY ALERT has allowed us to increase the number of students who receive coaching from 12 to over 2,000

More information about Starfish EARLY ALERT, it's features, and how we are using it in WKU Online & WKU On Demand can be found on the right-hand menu. 

C.A.R.E. Tools and Processes 

Coaching Best Practices

Starfish EARLY ALERT Features

Join us on a tour of Starfish EARLY ALERT and Blackboard to discover how  we use these tools to support our students in the coaching process

View our Powerpoint Presentation on C.A.R.E.

Review our workflow and coaching structure

Meet our Student Success Coaches (coming soon)

Starfish EARLY ALERT Overview
What is CARE?














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 Last Modified 10/15/17