Academic Coaches Announcement

The National Research Center for the study of Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee is conducting a study about the experiences and roles of academic success coaches in competency-based education (CBE) programs. The goal of the study is to understand what it means to be a coach, the current practices coaches use to help students succeed in CBE programs, and the meaning of student success in CBE.

DETA seeks participants whose primary responsibility is to coach students toward success in CBE programs. If you are currently or previously have served as a coach in a CBE program, please consider serving as a study participant. If you are interested in participating in the study, please fill out the brief screening survey so we can contact you with more information.

Coaches are defined as individuals whose primary responsibility is to “maintain an advisory relationship with a student, typically throughout the student’s enrollment in a competency-based education program. Coaches may also be called ‘mentors’ or ‘student success coaches’” (American Council on Education & Blackboard, 2014, p. 15).  Sometimes, coaches may be also involved in program advising, curriculum design, instruction, assessment, and institutional services support.

CBE is defined as “an alternative to the credit hour-based system of credentialing. Student progress is based on demonstration of proficiency and/or mastery as measured through assessments and/or through application of credit for prior learning. In competency based education programs, time is the variable and student competency mastery is the focus, rather than a fixed-time model where students achieve varying results. In competency based education, as distinct from competency-based learning, the focus is on academic programs, practices, and policies” (American Council on Education & Blackboard, 2014, p. 4).  

Participants will be asked to participate in a virtual interview that will last approximately 45 minutes.

For questions relating to this study and/or participation in the study, please contact one of the following people:

Tanya Joosten (PI), PhD, Director of Digital Learning Research and Development, Co-Director of the DETA Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, tjoosten[at]

Lindsey Harness, PhD, Instrumentation Innovator, DETA Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, lharness[at] 

Who is DETA? The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, seeks to foster student access and success through evidence-based, cross-institutional learning practices and technologies.  Moreover, the DETA Research Center looks to identify and evaluate effective course and institutional practices in online learning, including competency-based education, specifically addressing underrepresented populations.