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Valdosta State using Concierge Coaches to assist students during pandemic

Posted at 8:07 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 20:08:51-04

VALDOSTA, Ga.(WTXL) — The academic age of coronavirus has students quickly adjusting to a new way of learning, many mid-semester when the pandemic took hold. Now completing courses can be more of a challenge.

Valdosta State University is using concierge coaches make sure their students needs are being met, beyond the books.

The idea started around the time the University was making plans to transition courses on-line. School administrators from the VP of General counsel to even the head football coach, all have a list of students to check on at least once a week.

But, this isn’t just an academic check-in. It’s more about the students well being from food, housing, and mental health.

We were really fortunate we have a homegrown system here that we use for advising,” said Rob Freidhoff, VSU interim associate vice president for student success. “We were able to take that system and re-create it for our concierge coaches. Part of that system allows us to adjust what we call a flag. So we can have a flag set at a high, medium or low. What we ask our coaches to do is have an initial call or an email or some kind of an out reach with the students and then follow up as appropriate.”

VSU has 290 concierge coaches supporting 6,100 students.

“Somebody could be completely fine and and be on a low mechanism and then we call him that next week and things can change, “ said Freidoff. “We’ve seen that where When we did our initial reach outs somebody said I have Internet and I have a computer and everything is good. Then we reach out to them the next following Monday or Tuesday and they say I was good but my computer just died and now I don’t have what I need. How can the University help me? And then we work through them through that process.”

The program has been so successful the school is now teaching other universities how to create a similar plan for their students.