ENGAGE/Coaching Case Study
Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) is a learning community committed to giving their students full opportunity to discover and develop their talents and interests, to pursue their unique potentials, and to achieve an intellectually, culturally and economically satisfying relationship with society. Faculty and staff at AACC strive to create strong relationships with students and prepare them for success. AACC has realized that engagement matters a great deal to student success and has committed to increasing the level of engagement between faculty and students, to empower students to be more engaged in their studies in the service of creating the futures they desire.
To achieve these goals the AACC leadership believed it was critical for Faculty and Staff to adopt a “coaching” approach. Jen Lara (Director of Coaching at AACC) and Sue Abuelsamid were asked to design a program would enable staff and faculty to develop and strengthen relationships and enhance communication skills with the goal of improved student engagement, ultimately providing a more human centred approach to education.
The twenty-four participants came from a diverse cross section of departments and disciplines including Human Resources, the Police Academy, Athletics, Marketing, as well as many academic faculties. The rational for this was to demonstrate the value of bringing coaching engagement skills into all areas.
The program resulted in a range of positive outcomes for the participants. They became coaches who now engage not only students, but also co-workers and others outside their work environment in new and different ways. In addition to developing a new set of skills they were also able to operate more intentionally to positively impact others in the community.
By all measures the Engagement Coaching Program was a success. Participants were aware of and grateful for their own personal development as a result of participating in the program. They reported that it was one of the most valuable professional development programs they had ever taken. The high level of participant engagement and ongoing impact they are having in their community evidenced this. Ultimately participants gained so much value that they resolved as a group to use their skills to create wholesale culture change throughout AACC. The VP who championed the program was so pleased he has become a strong advocate of coaching as a valuable educational tool and leadership resource. As a result he has asked that the Engagement Program be expanded to train more faculty and supervisory staff over the next few years.
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