Current position: Success Coach since September 2019
Work Life Before Lane: Glenda is a lifelong educator and prior to joining Lane was the site administrator for an adult education program that served more than 12,000 students in southern California. She holds a Ph.D. in human development.
Prior Work at Lane: Glenda has worked at Lane for nearly seven years and previously was an adjunct faculty member for ABSE and ESL. She also has assisted with qualitative data analysis work in support of student success.
Personal Look: Her second grandchild (a granddaughter) was born recently. She has three adult children and a 3-year-old grandson. “I’m a happy mom and grandma.” She plans to retire at the end of December.
Q: What interested you in your current position?
A: It was my dream job to be able to work one-on-one with students. That was my sole purpose to help them. When you teach, you’re helping them, but you have multiple students. As a coach, i feel like I can interact more and find out really how I can help and share the resources. A lot of them don’t know what’s available at Lane. Lane is crazy full of opportunities for them and the community.
Q: Tell us about your role as a success coach. What is it and do students find you … or do you find students?
A: Prior to this year, I was more involved with counselors and students who needed help meeting Academic Progress Standards. I’d be a liaison between the counselors and students. If they were having academic challenges. I’d set up appointments for them to meet with the counselor and help them navigate resources and identify solutions. My role has evolved since we’re not putting students on alert now while we’re in our remote environment. Now, I’m working primarily with First Year Experience students and providing support as they navigate the Moodle course. I still get referrals from Early Outreach, tutors, retention counselors and financial aid as I have built up rapports with them and am eager to help our students.
Q: Have you had to alter how you approach your job as a success coach during the pandemic? If so, how?
A: We’re now working largely through email and I think a lot of our students aren’t used to communicating or focusing on email. So, when I learned I could request a phone, I decided to get one. I love having it because going back and forth on email with a student, it takes a little longer because they don’t always immediately respond like some of us to email. Sometimes, it could take a few days or longer to get their issue resolved just by email. Before, students also would come to our office. There’s something to be said by talking to someone face to face. You can tell by their body language if they’re anxious or nervous and through email, you can’t tell. Phone is tricky, too. I miss that authentic way of communicating. We have to adapt to that. Like everyone else, we need to be more patient. The empathy is certainly still there. I feel for them. This is tough. Also, just being in the same workspace is helpful. Cheryl (Shaw) and I worked well together and with the part-time coaches. If there was a student that had an issue that we didn’t know how to deal with it, we had the other coaches there and we could bounce ideas off each other. Or, I could walk over and bring in a counselor. Now, I have to text or email them and it’s a slower process. I’m afraid that we may lose some students in the process. I think younger people want immediate results or immediate solutions and that’s hard. We’re all doing the best we can. I also miss the camaraderie and support of counselors and success coaches.
Q: Are you receiving questions that you didn’t hear/read prior to the pandemic? If so, what are some of them?
A: Yes. Some of the things I hear: I’m fine but my teacher has no idea what’ he’s doing (technology-wise). My friends and I decided we’re just going to be patient with him. That’s not very often, but it just goes to show that everyone, regardless of one’s role, is struggling with this new normal. We have students who have Internet access challenges. I refer them to the SHeD. I just had a student who was having problems learning chemistry remotely, so I referred them to the tutoring center. Most of the students we’d see are new students, or those that are not necessarily resourceful. In the past, we were able to walk them to resources. Now, if it’s through email, you have to send them a link or a screenshot. It’s hard to have a warm hand-off remotely.
Now, students face new challenges staying at home with parents, grandparents, and/or children 24/7 while juggling work and school. The vast majority of students I communicate with are first year students. So, in addition to dealing with the new role of being a college student, many are suddenly thrown into working full-time as well, helping their parents with childcare, or even being caregivers for family members at home. This all on top of adjusting to remote learning and using technology in newly discovered ways.
Q: What do you think employees may not realize about the needs of our students who reach out for success coach support?
A: In the beginning, when I started this job, I was surprised myself because just because they’re younger and know social media does not mean that they check their email and know how to check for links. We can’t assume that they know how. Emails are seen as an archaic form of communication to many students, so LCC needs to acknowledge that students are not necessarily email savvy. Even just navigating Moodle, they’re not aware of all the possibilities or how to access all the information in a shell.. Also, that they have amazing struggles. We need to acknowledge that. I think we need to just know that if it’s hard for us, it has to be hard for these students, especially first time students who may or may not be supporting families, or even their parents during this time.
Q: Have you started any new work practices to help you better adapt to our remote work environment?
A: I have a white board that I glued onto my back door because there’s a lot of new information that I want in front of me: changes in CRNs and due dates. There are some adaptations I’ve had to make because the FYE has a few different expectations. I set up an office space. I originally would work in my kitchen, but found that it was not as effective. I moved things around and I have a work space now and I actually “go” to work. I have coffee in the kitchen and then I go into my work space room.
Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic?
A: Being face to face with students and colleagues. Absolutely. Being able to walk students to where they need to go and introduce them. Laugh with people.
Q: Since you are retiring, what will you miss most about Lane and your work?
A: I hope that I’ll be able to help continue to serve, help people. I think I will. I’ll miss that. Selfishly, hopefully, people will give me feedback. That makes my day when students do that. When we had furlough days in summer, I volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels, it was so great. People were so appreciative. I didn’t know what to expect, they were so kind. I may continue that. I need to figure out next steps. The idea of retirement is still new to me. Hopefully, I’ll find something. I have an immigrant Zoom group that I started with my ABSE/ESL students. When I was teaching we’d meet every other week, and now we do a (Zoom) book club. Most of them were students at Lane and from Iran, China, Taiwan, South America, Hungary. Hopefully, i’ll be able to devote more time to that.