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Emergency Coaching Services Available for Students in Crisis Due to COVID-19

Student success-focused nonprofit InsideTrack has launched a new initiative to provide emergency coaching services for college and university students facing crisis situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Coaching Network will give up to 5,000 students at participating institutions free access to InsideTrack coaches to help them navigate a range of challenges, such as mental and personal health concerns or financial distress. The network is funded by $250,000 from the ECMC Foundation and a matching grant from Strada Education Network.

"From food, income and housing insecurity to feelings of isolation, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety, the pandemic has magnified many of the challenges that students were already facing in growing numbers," said G. Brent Wallace, chancellor of North Central Texas College, in a statement. "During this unprecedented time for our students and communities, it's never been more important for us to help students navigate these challenges and build the skills to thrive. We're grateful that organizations like ECMC Foundation and InsideTrack are collaborating to support us and other institutions in these efforts."

Starting next month, the emergency coaching services will be available through a centralized portal connected to InsideTrack's uCoach engagement platform, the organization explained in a news announcement. Coaches will work with individual students on their specific emergency situations, and will also "help them develop more general skills crucial to long-term student success, such as time management and self-advocacy." Participating universities will gain insight into the challenges their students are facing, plus up to 10 will receive "dedicated staff development and training to enhance their ability to assess students' acute needs, de-escalate potential crisis situations and manage feelings of compassion fatigue among frontline student services professionals."

"COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the basic needs, mental health and other issues that often prevent students from completing, particularly among historically underrepresented student populations," commented Kai Drekmeier, founder and chief development officer at InsideTrack. "This initiative is about rapidly expanding the availability of responsive, holistic student support and building the long-term capacity of institutions to meet the evolving needs of their students."

Among the institutions already in the Emergency Coaching Network are North Central Texas College, Kingsborough Community College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. For more information, contact InsideTrack directly at [email protected].

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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