Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Seth Helmandollar, a Non-Traditional Success Coach with the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative at Southwest Virginia Community College, has prior experience in areas such as recruitment and retention. After completing an A.A.&S. in General Studies: Psychology at Southwest Virginia Community College, he went on to complete a B.A. in Human Services and Counseling from Lindsey Wilson College. Seth is currently in pursuit of an M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Development at Lindsey Wilson College. With a heightened empathetic understanding for non-traditional students as a result of being one himself, he was also a first-generation college student. This provides for a heightened empathetic understanding for the students served.


As a success coach, it can be challenging in identifying and referring students to the resources that can aid, and that can assist with each student’s success during their first year. It is vital to use modern technological resources that are available at no additional cost to institutions, and which students are currently using, to aid in consistency within the field of academic advising and coaching as it pertains to a student’s first year. It engages students to reach out to faculty mentors to provide a “holistic” approach to the student’s success on the campus and meets students where they are via their learning management system. Included is information and feedback obtained through the National Academic Advising Association’s summer institute faculty regarding the usage of technological resources to provide a successful student experience. An overview of the creation and implementation of Canvas to perform the institutions’ advising objectives to create consistency in advising and coaching across campuses, especially in a time in which technology is a requirement as a result of the 2020 SARS-CoV-19 viral pandemic that ceased main campus and offsite campus operations for the remainder of the academic year with potential impacts to the proceeding academic year going forward.



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