The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday August 15th

Learning Center to test graduate coaching program

After more than a decade of having only two certified learning coaches, the Learning Center finally has the funding to add a graduate student coach as part of a new pilot program.

Theresa Maitland and Kristen Rademacher have been coaching at UNC for more than 10 years, and said they are looking forward to expanding.

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The Learning Center was one of 14 organizations that recently received grants from the Carolina Parents Council, and it was awarded the second largest grant amount of $10,000.

Maitland said the center hopes to impact more undergraduate students while working within budgetary restraints. The graduate coaches will gain experience in education while costing the center less than a professional coach, she said.

Stephanie Miller, 2013-14 national co-chairwoman of the Parents Council, said the council was impressed with the Learning Center’s proposal to increase academic support for undergraduates through coaching because it coincided with the council’s objectives, she said.

“Coaching gives students the opportunity to set goals and develop action plans while meeting one-on-one with learning coaches and in group meetings,” Miller said.

The Learning Center did not receive the full $15,000 grant it originally requested.

“Our dream was originally to have three graduate coaches,” Maitland said. “This will not happen, but we will certainly look to how the Writing Center has expanded with graduate students as a model. We would start with a small core, train that small core, and then expand.”

Bill Miller, 2013-14 national co-chairman of the council, said it cannot fully fund every grant and had asked applicants to list the money necessary to create an effective program. The Learning Center listed this amount at $10,000, the amount of money it would cost to hire one graduate student.

The pilot program will provide important information to full-time staff about the effectiveness of graduate students as coaches and employees of the Learning Center, Maitland said.

This information will be crucial if the Learning Center plans to expand the graduate student staff and seek further funding from the University and potential donors, she added.

“We know there is an interest (in the coaching programs),” Maitland said. “We simply do not have the capacity to reach the numbers of undergraduates who need our help.

“We hope to help students balance their social and academic experience here at Carolina.”

Contact the desk editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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