The excerpt below demonstrates how external sourcing is gaining ground in higher education -- in this case, student "coaching" services sourced from InsideTrack. Coaching is aimed at student success -- and improved retention and graduation rates and enrollment management. Externally sourcing coaching services is effective, according to the schools cited in the article, and more cost effective than internally sourcing the same services. Such arrangements are examples of Thomas Friedman's "flattening forces" and the new "business" models they enable.
To boost retention, some colleges turn to personal coaches
Boston Herald (Associated Press), September 8, 2006
Heather Parsons was already juggling a full-time job and family life on top of her classes at Northeastern University. On top of that, a school project was in jeopardy because her team wasn’t working well together _ anxiety she just didn’t need. Time to consult her personal coach, Chris Tilghman. "It was so easy, taking a step back from the emotions surrounding the issue," said Parsons, whose coach used his weekly phone session with Parsons to make a variety of suggestions for getting the group back on track. "Hearing a third person made all the difference." The best part: Northeastern picked up the tab. "I told him, ’You’re cheaper than therapy,’" Parsons laughed. "He said, ’I get that a lot.’" Long reserved for pro athletes and corporate executives, personal coaches are now being offered by some colleges to help students set goals and manage time. It sounds like the kind of college concierge service one would expect to find at exclusive, upper-crust schools. But in fact, the 15 or so schools that have hired a coaching company called InsideTrack don’t fit that description at all. Several _ including a number of for-profits _ cater to older students trying to balance the demands of work, school and family. Others serve traditional-age college students who may need help making the transition from high school. The coaches talk to students about setting goals and respond to anything that might be getting in the way of pursuing their degree, from financial issues to personality conflicts. Following a pilot program last year, Northeastern will offer once-weekly telephone coaching sessions to all new adult-education students this year. Read more ...