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

Maureen Branca has worked at Montclair State University or over 22 years. She has worked as an Academic Advisor and an Academic Success Coach. Maureen has also taught 2 classes: New Student Seminar and Pathways to Success. In 2014, she was awarded the Academic Advisor – Primary Role award.

Maureen is a proud alumni of Montclair State University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Counseling in 1990, and her Master’s Degree in Counseling in Higher Education in 1996. During her undergraduate and graduate programs, she was advised and inspired by her academic advisor/mentor. It was this experience that shaped her professional career. Maureen is determined to provide the same level of expertise and inspiration to her students.

Maureen earned her Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification from Centenary University in 2017. She is an avid animal lover and spends her free time with her family and her dogs.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

Academic Success Coaching at Montclair began as a HEERF III Pilot, led by the Office for Faculty Excellence with the Center for Academic & Success Tutoring (CAST) and the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE). It has since grown to what it is now, with the part-time AEC coaches joined by three full time academic coaches working in CHSS, CSAM and University College. 


DSS 5/26/23