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AU News

Journey Coaches to help adult, graduate, online students navigate path to graduation

June 30, 2015

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This summer, AU is launching a new mentoring program specifically designed for students in the university’s Adult Studies, online and graduate programs.

Students will be assigned mentors within their areas of study. These mentors, called Journey Coaches, will assist evening, Greenville, graduate and online students through every stage of the process at AU: obtaining transcripts, transferring credits, creating an educational plan, registering for classes, and navigating financial aid. Journey Coaches will also serve as points of contact for students’ questions and communicate with students throughout their time at AU.

Journey Coaches program dovetails with AU’s core values

Provost Dr. Timothy Smith said the name “Journey Coach” is derived from AU’s tag line “Knowledge for the Journey,” and the concept for the Journey Coach is rooted in Anderson’s core values.

“Part of our value system at Anderson University is hospitality. And part of our hospitality is service,” Dr. Smith said.

More adults are now returning to college, and they are often strapped for time, Dr. Smith said.

Journey Coaches will serve these students by guiding them through logistics, which will ease the burden on already busy schedules.

Korey Graettinger, a student in the nursing program, spent 20 years in the navy before coming to AU. When he decided to return to school, he wasn’t sure how the process would work.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how to approach it,” he said.

Graettinger worked closely with nursing admission coordinator Chesley Tench, who helped him transfer credits from his medical experience in the navy, which will allow Graettinger to complete the nursing program in just 15 months.

Graettinger said that he doesn’t think he would be where he is now without Tench’s help. Through the Journey Coach program, AU can provide other adult and graduate students with this same type of assistance. 

“I think it will help students out tremendously,” Graettinger said, “especially those like myself who’ve been out of (the) civilian education game for a while, to help those transition back in.”

Journey Coaches to communicate with students throughout their programs

Tench, who will supervise the seven Journey Coaches, sees the new program as a way to tailor to the needs of adult students.

“Because they are a different population than the traditional, they have different needs,” Tench said. “We want to make sure they’re served well and have a one-on-one point person that they can go to.”

This kind of service resonates with Anderson University and its identity as a faith-based institution, Dr. Smith said. Likewise, Tench said that the Journey Coach program reflects the heart of Anderson University and its mission.

“If you look at that mission,” Tench said, “it says this is a diverse community that is Christ-centered, people-focused, student-oriented, quality-driven, and future-directed. If that’s not the definition of a Journey Coach, I don’t know what is.”


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