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Motlow’s Rhonda Cotham Recognized for Commitment to Student Success

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 10:41 am

Motlow State’s Rhonda Cotham, director of student success, was recently recognized as a model leader for innovation in the field of college completion. At the annual conference of the Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention (TASSR), she was the recipient of its 2017 Faculty of the Year Award in a Learning Support Program. Ms. Cotham, a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Relations and a master’s degree in Education Administration and Supervision, has served the College for 30 years in a variety of positions. While recognized for her faculty role in teaching First Year Freshman Experience, she leads a team of completion coaches who are committed to ensuring Motlow students achieve their academic goals. Completion coaches are preparation and persistence professionals whose mission is to serve as college guides, monitor student risk, and provide intervention advising and referral as needed to ensure that students matriculate on to their four-year goals or are ready to move successfully into the workforce. Completion coaching is an individualized, holistic, multi-year commitment to a student’s well-being. Research indicates that students fostered by completion coaches are five-times more likely to graduate. Interim president Hilda Tunstill noted that, “Director Cotham leads a group of professionals who have a vast knowledge of college programs, financial aid, scholarships, student and academic policies, campus and community resources, and be able to manage a case load of scores of students. These are high-energy positions that demand strong interpersonal and communication skills for which Director Cotham must recruit, train and serve as leader. She is a model mentor for our completion coach program and we are delighted that her leadership has earned the recognition of her peers and state educators.” Cotham has played a signiÞ cant role in Motlow’s Quality Enhancement Plan, where First Year Experience (FYE) courses teach new students the skills to be successful by ensuring they have the critical thinking skills, engagement levels, study habits, and knowledge of college programs and services. Cotham said of her award, “I am honored to receive this recognition. I am so passionate about our students and their success whether I am working one-on-one, teaching or just being a part of an amazing team.” Seeing a completion coach at Motlow State is an elective resource. For those who have not yet met, or need to meet again, with their completion coach, they are encouraged to make an appointment and develop a relationship with a team committed to supporting s t u d e n t success. Cotham was nominated for the award by several colleagues. Advocates for her noted that her award was well deserved as she has impacted colleagues outside of the walls of Motlow.