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FAQs for Faculty about Academic Coaching

What is Academic Coaching?

CCA's coaching program consists of individualized tutorials in most subject areas including writing, art history, math, and science, as well as academic strategies such as time management and study skills. These services are designed to improve students’ educational experience by supplementing—not replacing—classroom instruction in those areas. Nearly all coaches are work-study peer educators: currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students who are reinforcing and enriching their own knowledge and expertise by helping fellow students.

The peer education model helps us foster intercultural exchange and cross-disciplinary collaboration, building and broadening CCA’s learning community. During the fall and spring semesters, two CCA faculty specializing in multilingual academic writing currently serve as coaches and as mentors to our work-study writing coach team.

How do I refer a student to an academic coach?

If students are having difficulty with class material, you can recommend they log into the CCA Portal and make an appointment with an LRC academic coach. Students can access a list of the coaches' names with information about their tutoring specializations and links to their booking site calendars. Finally, you can also contact the LRC Director (lrc@cca.edu) and request a coach for a student in a specific subject.

How do students make appointments with LRC coaches?

Students go to the appointments page, then click a coach's name to view their booking site. The booking site lists availability for that coach only, including a little biographical information. To make an appointment, students follow the prompts and fill in their contact info and desired meeting time. The coach will respond to confirm or decline the request. 24 hours notice is required for all appointments. In Fall 2020, all coaching is available online through a combination of Zoom and Moodle, or in person in the LRC spaces in SF or Oakland.

Can a coach visit my class to explain how it all works?

Yes. A coach can visit your class to introduce the coaching program, explain how to make an appointment, and answer questions. To request a visit, complete the Class Visit Request form. In Fall 2021, we offer coach visits via Zoom, in-person, as well as a link to an asynchronous class visit video that you may post to your Moodle site.

Is academic coaching available for any CCA student enrolled in any course, undergraduate or graduate-level?

Yes.

Does the LRC provide note-takers or translators?

No. The Office of Access and Disability Services offers note takers for students with documented disabilities. Please contact Access@cca.edu for questions regarding note-taking assistance.

Is there a fee?

No. Coaching is free. However, if a student requests a great deal of support, such as 5-7 hours per week, they may be encouraged to hire a tutor to supplement the amount of coaching feasible through Learning Resources.

What is Walk-In coaching--and where is it done?

Walk-in coaching is when a coach is on call in the LRC space, ready to work with anyone who needs help. This fall, it is taking place in the SF LRC, which is in the Nave, first door to the right of Room 112 the Knitwear Studio, and in Oakland in Irwin 206. Drop in hours for SF are 12:00-2:00pm MW. Students can also request to meet in person in either space outside of those hours.

Do you also offer online coaching?

Yes! In Fall 2021 all coaching is offered online and in person.

Do writing coaches proofread and "redline" or correct academic papers?

No. Writing coaches are trained to help students become better writers, not to fix papers. Writing coaches help students brainstorm, plan, research, organize, draft, revise, and edit their papers, so they can apply these strategies to all their academic writing projects. As part of this process, writing coaches help students identify both global and sentence-level strengths and weaknesses, and they may recommend and demonstrate ways to edit sentences. But writing coaches are specifically discouraged from making marks on another student’s paper.

If a student is working on a formal project that requires expert copyediting (such as an MFA thesis), and if the professor does not expect or require the student to master the process of editing their own work, the professor may want to mentor the student through the process of consulting with a professional copyeditor for hire outside the LRC or CCA.

How much coaching might I expect my students to receive?

Most academic coaching sessions last 50 minutes; 1 to 3 sessions per week is a reasonable frequency of use. If you require coaching on your syllabus for all students, please be clear about how many times you expect students to see a coach--and remember to encourage them to seek coaching earlier rather than later in the semester so they may take full advantage of the benefits of coaching (and to be sure coaches are available to work with them). Also, if you require coaching be sure to email lrc@cca.edu so we can gear up for the quantity and type of coaching needed.

What if I want to require coaching for a specific few struggling students in my class?

If you want to spell out the expectation of coaching for possible use with struggling students, you may want to put something like this on your syllabus: “If you have a grade of C- in this class, I reserve the right to ask you to work with an LRC coach.” That way, students are forewarned that you will strongly encourage coaching as a policy to support everyone needing special help, not as a penalty to individuals.

Letting students know they can improve their performance in your course by choosing to get LRC coaching makes it their decision to get assistance, which reinforces personal responsibility and self-advocacy.

Can I require coaching for my entire class?

Faculty have the option of requiring a whole class to pursue coaching through the Learning Resource Center. When this expectation is clearly stated on the syllabus, seeing a coach is an assignment that is factored into all of the students’ grades. Here's the approach that has worked best for CCA faculty who want to make and track this requirement:

  1. Clarify to the students you are making coaching a requirement.
  2. Make sure they have the correct information about how to make an appointment with a coach.
  3. Explain what to work on with a coach (sometimes they don’t know) and help them set realistic goals.
  4. Encourage them to work with coaches early and often, not at the last minute. (Coaches get booked up at the end of the semester and cannot be held responsible for a fellow student's grade in a course.)
  5. For academic writing projects, remind students that coaches are not proofreaders. Coaches are trained to help students become better writers and learners, not to “fix papers” for a grade.

Request: If you require coaching, please give the LRC Director ample notice so we may do our best to support the students. Since coaches are also students with their own pressing deadlines, we cannot guarantee that last-minute requests for coaching will be accommodated.

May I have a coach assigned to my class?

A coach is not a teaching assistant. However, coaches may be booked to visit with study groups outside class, answering questions and mentoring them on academic research, writing, goal-setting, and collaboration. Contact LRC Interim Director Leonard Crosby to determine an appropriate coach.