SRU expanding student services with trio of success coaches


student success coaches

(From left) Emily McClaine, Earl Coburn, Corrine Gibson and Sunshine Mushrush meet to discuss ways to improve Slippery Rock University student success. McClaine, Coburn and Mushrush were recently hired by SRU to serve as success coaches. Gibson, SRU director for inclusive excellence, will supervise the trio.

July 26, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - They won't be wearing whistles around their necks or even toting clipboards, but coaches of a different sort have arrived at Slippery Rock University ready to help students win.

As part of an overarching strategy to focus on student success, SRU recently hired three student success coaches who will help connect all students to academic and social services provided by the University and make recommendations for desirable outcomes.

"This will expand our ability to retain students and keep them on the path to graduation," said David Wilmes, associate provost for student success. "We've hired people to do proactive outreach to students to help them reach their goals."

Aligning with one of the University's strategic goals to "maintain an unwavering focus on success for all students," SRU is among the first institutions in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education to hire student success coaches, but, according to Wilmes, SRU's approach is different from other institutions' models because SRU's student success coaches will reach out to students who are struggling, in addition to providing services upon request.

The new student success coaches are part of the University's Office for Inclusive Excellence. They will meet with students, develop an individualized plan, refer them to services and follow up with them to ensure that they are executing the plan optimally.

"It's a one-stop shop for students to connect to whatever they need on campus," said Corinne Gibson, director of the Office for Inclusive Excellence. "These conversations are important to not only make sure their requirements are being met, such as taking enough credits to graduate on time, but also to help students make successful choices, both academically and socially."

The student success coaches, hired July 10, include:

-Earl Coburn, from Glenshaw, who previously worked in customer service for the University of Pittsburgh's housing department.
-Emily McClaine, from Austintown, Ohio, who was previously a program coordinator for academic diversity outreach and the TRIO McNair Scholars Program at Kent State University.
-Sunshine Mushrush, a 2015 SRU graduate from Grove City, who was previously a clerk in the academic services department at SRU.

"We're all excited for the opportunity to enhance students' experiences and help students reach their full potential," Mushrush said. "The best way for us to do that is to understand what each student needs to succeed, match that with all the great resources that SRU has to offer and help overcome any barriers that may hinder a student's path to success."

"They (the coaches) are very personable and I can see that they are going to be very engaging with students and that's going to be key," Gibson said. "They will be able to know the resources that are available and realize that each student's plan for success can be different."

SRU students interested in making an appointment with a student success coach should contact the Office for Inclusive Excellence at 724.738.2700 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |