Two students studying in University Hall.

Academic Success Coaching

In Academic Success Coaching, professional staff and experienced Montclair adjunct faculty build strong individual relationships with students to coach students in the habits and behaviors that will enable them to reach their academic potential and reap greater rewards from the Montclair experience.

Academic Success Coaches

  • Build strong relationships with assigned students.
  • Develop individualized plans of action that are achievable and improve student success.
  • Expand students’ self-awareness and capacity to learn from mistakes.
  • Heighten students’ awareness of what it takes to achieve academic success.
  • Coach students in developing and maintaining new learning and academic life-management strategies.
  • Coach students in effectively utilizing campus resources.
  • Counsel students in maintaining supportive relationships and increasing their personal accountability.

Student Outcomes

  • Improve learning self-awareness: strengths and weaknesses and requisite conditions for learning and success.
  • Develop confidence, resilience, and grit.
  • Create and maintain time management and other personal organizational strategies that address challenges to success.
  • Utilize appropriate campus resources.
  • Successfully communicate with peers and professionals.
  • Improve or maintain academic standing.

Program Evaluation Measures

  • Academic performance.
  • Extra/co-curricular engagement.
  • Success self-awareness.
  • Program engagement.

Academic Success Coaches

Get to know your Academic Success Coaches!

Christina Dilkes

Christina Dilkes is currently the Academic Success Coach for Montclair’s College of Science and Mathematics, and has been serving students in higher education for many years. Previously, she was the Director of Bloomfield College’s TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) program, assisting first-generation, income-eligible, and disabled students. Christina began her career in higher education as an adjunct professor, and has taught composition, rhetoric, and literature (specifically Asian American literature) at various institutions, including Montclair State University. Christina graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in English, concentration Writing and New York University with an MA in English and American Literature. Her academic interests include disability studies and emergent literature.

Sharon Lai-LaGrotteria

Sharon Lai-LaGrotteria is an international educator from Hong Kong and Singapore with a graduate degree in education from the University of Oxford. She teaches educational foundations at Montclair State University. Prior to joining Montclair State University as a doctoral fellow, she was an ESL professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and Monroe College in New York. Previously, she also served as a pedagogy lecturer and clinical supervisor at the University of Hong Kong.

Stefanie Medina

Stefanie Medina is an Academic Success Coach in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She supports students through the development of strategic academic success plans that seek to identify and further, circumvent barriers to academic success. Stefanie helps students establish realistic goals and assists them in leveraging the academic resources available to them at MSU.

Prior to joining MSU, Stefanie worked with the City University of New York (CUNY) as an Academic Success Coach, Retention Specialist, Adjunct Lecturer and Supervisor of the College Success Network at CUNY Prep. She believes in the resilience of college students and their abilities to adapt and overcome challenges when provided with suitable resources.

Stefanie holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from Lehman College (CUNY) and a Master of Public Administration degree from John Jay College (CUNY).

Christina Paolucci

Christina Paolucci is an Adjunct Instructor of classical ballet and pointe technique and Admissions Coordinator for Dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Christina has been at Montclair State since 2015 and has been on staff of The Office for Faculty Excellence since 2022. She was a Principal Dancer and former Executive Director of New York Theatre Ballet. Christina holds multiple certifications as well as a BFA from The Juilliard School.

Her certification (cert. #2550) in Academic Coaching is through The Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession Institute.

Adrienne Wallace

Adrienne Wallace is an adjunct instructor in Management and Entrepreneurship and an Academic Success Coach at Montclair State. She is a nationally certified speech-language pathologist with a Master of Science from Penn State University and a Master of Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Adrienne brings her experiences as a manager and entrepreneur into the classroom. She regularly presents to local, national, and international audiences and recently co-authored a book, The SLP Entrepreneur.

Richard Yar

Richard Yar has been a social scientist and educator for over 20 years. His areas of interest and expertise include; learners with disabilities, social and cultural conflicts, diversity, globalization, and progressive pedagogy.

He teaches a range of courses in the Anthropology and Sociology departments at Montclair State University, and has worked in virtually every educational level and institution from preschool, and public middle and high schools taking valuable knowledge from his training at Montclair State and applying it in multiple areas.

Most recently, Professor Yar is serving as an Academic Success Coach for the Office for Faculty Excellence. In this role, Professor Yar is coaching students at the University who need support in achieving their academic goals by enhancing their skillsets and serving as a liaison between students and various other resources on campus.