HU Implements New Success Coaching Model For Students

Photo of Benito Pacheco

Benito Pacheco

September 16, 2019

Las Vegas, N.M.– New Mexico Highlands University is implementing a new student success coaching model aimed at empowering students in reaching their educational goals in a positive and supportive environment.

As part of the change, the Office of Academic Support is changing its name to the Student Success Center.

“Success coaches identify roadblocks to student success and provide comprehensive, proactive support,” said Benito Pacheco, director of the Student Success Center. “All of the services directly support retention efforts. Our goal is student success.”

Pacheco said the student success coach model is based upon being proactive and engaging students early in a holistic way, looking at more than academics.

“For example, a student might be missing class because of transportation issues so how do we overcome that challenge? Each undergraduate student on the Las Vegas campus has an assigned student success coach that works with faculty in a proactive partnership to serve the students.

“Student success coaches meet with students individually early in the semester. We also welcome walk-ins at any time,” Pacheco said.

The Highlands University faculty continue to be the academic advisers for the students.

Pacheco said what the university is doing differently is intentionally engaging with the entire undergraduate student population, expanding on enrollment success programs, and adding an early intervention program called “Cowboy Up” for students who are facing challenges.

Pacheco said student success coaches are here to help students tackle academic and other challenges and reach their full potential.

“Student success coaches work with students early to help them develop an individualized study plan that works with their schedule and learning style. Students don’t have to wait until they have a problem to talk to their success coach,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco said another component of the Student Success Center is measuring students’ involvement in campus activities.

“A happy, engaged student is a retained student,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco said the Student Success Center model builds upon existing support services at Highlands such as undergraduate success counseling; orientation for new students; a learning center computer lab; an adaptive needs computer lab; online tutoring; in-person tutoring and writing help available for all enrolled students; accessibility services; the early alert program to identify and help students who are struggling; and placement testing.

The Student Success Center at Highlands also offers services for the community, like administering the HiSET exam, a state-issued high school equivalency credential.

The Student Success Center at Highlands is in the Felix Martínez Building, Room 130, 800 University Ave. Highlands University students and others may call 505-454-3188 or email