Welcome to the Student Success Coaching 2023-2027 Strategic Plan

Letter from the Director, Dr. Adrienne White

To the Mason Community:


Since the launch of the Student Success Coaching (SSC) unit in 2019, we have accomplished more than we ever thought possible. In our first year as a unit, we primarily served exploratory, non-degree seeking, and terminated students in an advising capacity as we developed the success coaching program for Mason. We launched our first full year of success coaching in Fall 2020 and have held over 17,000 student appointments since Fall 2019. This incredible accomplishment could not have happened without the amazing efforts of the success coaching team and our campus partners who helped make success coaching at Mason a reality. We have been fortunate to have internal and external stakeholders who have recognized the value of success coaching and supported my team from the very beginning.


We are also fortunate to have stakeholders go from our biggest critics to our biggest champions. Success coaching not only has a profound impact on the Mason student experience, but how we engage with our stakeholders and partners is equally profound. We have had over 100 stakeholders at Mason help make success coaching possible, and I thank everyone who put their time, energy, and care into the development of coaching. We are only successful today because of the assistance you provided in the past and how we are receiving your support in the present. I cannot talk about the success of the coaching program without the efforts of our campus partners.


Supporting students through success coaching has become more important than ever before. The coaches at Mason have played a key role in supporting students in their transition to online learning, navigating the current sociopolitical climate and racial injustice, and providing guidance in the nine key focus areas in of our coaching methodology (academics, well-being, finances, managing commitments, effectiveness, school community, civic engagement, career exploration, and commitment to graduation). The students of today and the future have unique needs and will need additional support to help them achieve their goals, which my team is ready and excited to provide.


Finally, I would like to extend a special thank you and acknowledgement to the SSC team. The SSC team is the most dynamic team I have had the pleasure of working with and I am incredibly thankful for all of the love, energy, and effort they put into helping Mason students along their journey. Although the members of our team have seen many changes to our unit, they never wavered, always held a positive outlook, and refused to let any trials and tribulations affect how they supported Mason students. We have accomplished so much in a short amount of time and I can’t wait to see the incredible things we will accomplish in the next phase of success coaching at Mason.


I am excited to present our first success coaching strategic plan for the next four years to the Mason community. Mason has always had lofty goals for its success coaching program and the next four years will be no different. Our team is and will be a key contributor to closing retention gaps for Mason students and providing resources to support degree completion. The SSC team has already accomplished many milestones which you will see throughout our strategic plan, and I am looking forward to the next era of success coaching at Mason.



Adrienne D. White, Ph.D.

Director, Student Success Coaching

Strategic Plans

Student Success Coaching Strategic Plan 2023-2027

Goal I: Student Success



We will ensure that all Mason students receive a premier student experience through transformational engagement opportunities and coaching conversations to ensure that every student succeeds.  



The SSC unit is committed to supporting all Mason students with achieving their personal, academic, and career goals through enhanced co-curricular opportunities, providing a sense of belonging at the institution, and supporting students to degree completion. Leveraging our internal and external partnerships, we will continue to enhance the coaching program to ensure all Mason students have access to a Success Coach.  


Goal Alignment 

  • Mason: Goal 1, Goal 3, Goal 4 
  • UL: Holistic Student Support Services, Inclusive Thriving Community, Engage All Students, Organizational Excellence 

Desired Outcome 1: Reaching Underserved Students


  • Identify the students that are not engaging with success coaching, determine barriers to utilization, and implement outreach  
  • Identify student populations that are underserved and of-promise at Mason and implement coaching strategies to support their success 
  • Leverage technology to increase engagement with students 

Desired Outcome 2: Strategic Partnerships

Strengthen and build our strategic partnerships with Mason stakeholders to promote student success, well-being, and collaboration.  



  • Strengthen and leverage relationships with current and future strategic partnerships, while creating best practices to ensure student needs are being met 
  • Expand programmatic efforts with campus partners 
  • Strengthen and leverage partnerships with academic stakeholders to support student success 

Desired Outcome 3: Students' Basic Needs

Reimagine intervention support to ensure all Mason students receive support who are struggling with food/shelter/safety insecurities, sense of belonging, persistence, and academic concerns.       



  • Review current intervention practices and identify gaps where students need high-level support from success coaching 
  • Create best practices to support Mason’s intervention outreach 
  • Strengthen and leverage intervention partnerships with CAPS, SSAC, academic units, Learning Services, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, etc. to support student success 

Desired Outcome 4: Patriot Experience

Increase student engagement with the Patriot Experience 



  • Identify intentional ways to engage students in the spring semester 
  • Create an academic track

Goal II: Training and Professional Development



We will ensure that the SSC team receives training and professional development opportunities to excel in their jobs and create opportunities for advancement.  



The SSC unit is committed to providing a positive workplace culture and environment by offering transformational professional development opportunities for our team and educating our stakeholders on how to leverage our coaching methodology in their daily work.  


Goal Alignment 

  • Mason: Goal 1, Goal 4, Goal 5 
  • UL:  Holistic Student Support Services, Organizational Excellence, Engage All Students 

Desired Outcome 1: Staff Professional Growth

Expand opportunities for professional growth for staff 



  • Maximize the Senior Success Coaches in creating opportunities to grow their skill set in mentoring and supervision 
  • Expand on the established career progressions to create a program for staff interested in progressing to leadership positions 
  • Implement opportunities for professional staff to attend, engage, and support professional associations in higher education 
  • Continually review and adapt existing success coach training to the needs of Mason students and our professional staff 
  • Continue to prioritize training in diversity, equity, and inclusion for all SSC staff 

Desired Outcome 2: Student Professional Growth

Expand opportunities for professional growth for student staff and graduate assistants 



  • Implement opportunities for student and graduate assistant staff to attend, engage, and explore professional development networks 
  • Provide opportunities for the student and graduate assistant staff to attend and engage with professional staff training  

Desired Outcome 3: Stakeholder Training

Create and implement modified coach training for Mason stakeholders 



  • Determine the important elements of coach training that are relevant to the work of our stakeholders and create a training that allows them to utilize coaching methodology in their work 

Goal III: Communication and Marketing



The SSC unit will ensure that success coaching and co-curricular experiences are embedded into the fabric of the Mason community through creative and innovative outreach to students, staff, faculty, and our stakeholders. 



The SSC unit is committed to creating a unified and authentic voice to support Mason’s contemporary students. SSC will leverage technology, social media platforms, and our partnerships to develop specific content to strengthen the communication and marketing infrastructure which supports the lifecycle of how the Mason community engages with our services.  


Goal Alignment 

  • Mason: Goal 1, Goal 3, Goal 4, Goal 5 
  • UL: Holistic Student Support Services, Organizational Excellence 

Desired Outcome 1: Marketing and Communication Infrastructure

Build a communication and marketing infrastructure that supports the lifecycle of how the Mason community engages with the Success Coaching unit in an evolving climate. 



  • Implement a success coaching communications group to leverage the best methods for students, staff, and community partners to receive information 
  • Identify, develop, and implement best practices for student outreach 
  • Partner with SSC stakeholders to cross-promote services and outreach to students 

Desired Outcome 2: Referral Processes

Develop a reciprocal referral process with campus stakeholders 



  • Review and update the current referral process to and from the coaching team 
  • Develop a faculty academic outreach plan to educate them on success coaching and the referral process 

Desired Outcome 3: Becoming Part of Mason Culture

Embed success coaching and the Patriot Experience into the fabric of Mason’s culture 



  • Partner with the Office of Admissions, New Student and Family Programs, and other units that work with prospective and incoming students to market and promote success coaching to all students upon their enrollment at Mason 
  • Develop strategies with our campus partners to integrate success coaching into key campus services (Mason Student Services Center, Housing and Residence Life, student leader support, etc.) 
  • Partner with Human Resources to embed success coaching resources into new staff and faculty onboarding 
  • Increase staff engagement with the Patriot Experience by connecting with UL and Academic Affairs units to promote the program

Goal IV: Assessment and Knowledge Dissemination



The SSC unit will ensure that we are creating a data-informed decision-making culture by improving communication and transparency, while adapting to the evolving needs of the Mason community. 



The SSC unit is committed to creating a culture of assessment and dissemination of best practices to continue to be a leader in the field of success coaching and co-curricular development. We will use assessment to continuously improve our services and programs to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness.  


Goal Alignment 

  • Mason: Goal 5 
  • UL: Organizational Excellence, Holistic Student Support Services 

Desired Outcome 1: UL & SER Assessment

Create an assessment plan for University Life and Student Experience Redesign (SER) efforts 



  • Maximize the new assessment platform for assessment efficiency 
  • Strengthen and expand partnership with OIEP to assess coaching services and support Mason’s retention efforts 
  • Review and adapt the assessment plan for the Patriot Experience 

Desired Outcome 2: Coaching Assessment

Develop a coaching assessment plan to ensure our services are effective while achieving our goals 



  • Review and adapt the current post-coaching survey 
  • Create and implement best practices for the pre-coaching assessment 
  • Create and implement an assessment plan for success coach training 

Desired Outcome 3: Coaching Archives

Develop a success coaching historical archive of past efforts to enhance student retention and operational efficiency 



  • Identify and implement strategies to retain knowledge from previous coaching models 
  • Determine how the information will be continuously updated 
  • Incorporate historical knowledge into professional staff training 

Desired Outcome 4: Sharing Best Practices

Share success coaching best practices regionally and nationally 



  • Engage with the NASPA Success Coaching Knowledge Community to help lead the efforts on establishing national best practices for success coaching 
  • Identify the spaces in higher education to share best practices for creating success coaching programs

Meet the Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Adrienne White, Ph.D.



Dr. White originally came to Mason to work on her Ph.D. as a full-time graduate student, but fell in love with the Mason community. She has now been at Mason for 8.5 years and is a proud Mason alum. Dr. White is thrilled to be able to continue to support Mason students in the work that we do in the Student Success Coaching unit.  Dr. White received her Bachelors degree in Audiology from the University of Tennessee, a Masters of Science in Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, and her doctorate from George Mason University in Education, specializing in Higher Education.

Michael Ward, Ph.D.

Assistant Director


Michael joined the SSC team in April 2022. Michael earned his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Fordham University, Master’s in Counseling from Montclair State University, and Doctorate in Higher Education from Florida International University. Prior to joining the SSC team, Michael supported students at a variety of colleges and universities in the roles of Assistant Director of Advising/Retention at Widener University, Disability Resource Center Academic Coach at CNM, and Senior Academic Advisor at FIU. Michael is excited about supporting students at GMU and looks forward to working with you during your Mason experience! In his spare time Michael enjoys spending time outdoors and watching his favorite basketball team, the New York Knicks.

Sara Clifton

Project Implementation Specialist


Sara graduated with a degree in Sport Management and Communications from Western Kentucky University and participated in Americorp for a year before going on to get her Master’s in College Student Personnel from the University of Louisville. After graduation she moved to Wichita, KS and worked in Student Activities. Sara joined the Student Success Coaching team in September of 2019 and enjoys helping students find a program that matches their goals, interests, and passion.

Melanie Jalim

Communications Specialist


Melanie Jalim graduated from George Mason University with a major in Communications, concentrating in Public Relations and a minor in Tourism and Event Management. She has worked with multiple departments around campus, including Housing, SSAC, and the LEAD office. She strongly encourages students to partake in opportunities that will help them thrive not only as a Patriot, but to fulfill their own aspirations when on their journey in higher education and beyond. Before Mason, she worked on the NOVA Loudoun Campus with the Student Life department, where she helped create events and workshops for leadership and social engagement. During her free time, Melanie loves to travel, thrift, spend time with family and friends, and create chocolates for her small business.

Kelly Severo

Associate Director


Kelly has nearly a decade of experience working in higher education. She spent seven years as a academic advisor to graduate social work students and special education students. For the past three years, she has been an Assistant Director in the Student Success Coaching unit prior to her current role as Associate Director. She loves supporting students in their personal and academic goals. In her personal time, Kelly loves hiking and backpacking with her family.

TJ Pegg, Ed.D.

Assistant Director


TJ is excited to serve as our Assistant Director for Training and Student Engagement within Student Success Coaching, working directly with our Graduate Professional Assistants, Peer Coaches, and provides oversight to the Patriot Experience program. Prior to joining the George Mason University, TJ strives to support students’ own definition of success and connection to campus through intentional interactions, engagement opportunities, and utilization of campus resources. In addition to his role at Mason, TJ is currently passionate about improving practices for transfer student success through student engagement and belongingness on campus.