By: Breeanna Greer
Jose Alcorta is currently a bilingual success coach at Graceland who graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication. Before taking this job, he worked at a credit union helping people with loans. But when he heard about this position for helping students, he knew it would be the perfect opportunity for him to give back. He gave credit to his father who always told him that, by being bilingual, he’s “got a gift, use it.”
Alcorta feels it is crucial to ensure students have help, whether it is from him or another coach. He believes it’s important that all students receive the help that they need, no matter where that is from. For him, having his door always open, to all students, for any reason is key. Being the only bilingual coach, his role on campus is extremely important. He helps many students with
not only academic, social, personal, and emotional help, but also communication needs for international students, or non-native English speakers. He explained that with non-native English speakers, he helps have conversations in English and Spanish and helps students with their writing, emails, and communication between students and teachers or coaches. Since Alcorta is currently the only bilingual Success Coach, he sees potential benefits in more bilingual coaches and teachers to help students succeed.
Donna Hurt is the director of Trio and the Success Coach Program. The Trio success program is specifically for first generation college students, which only helps about 180 students, but the Success Coach program is for all students. Hurt suggested this program a few years ago to be able to help all students attending Graceland. It was started in September of 2022 and has already given many students greatly needed support.
Hurt explains that the purpose of this program is to “offer support in areas of academics, but also social, emotional, relational, and behavioral support.” She explains that students can ask the coaches about anything or just seek support, and the coaches will help find answers or help solve problems. Some barriers students may face include grade point average and their class attendance. Success Coaches though offer support and encouragement and can give solutions that the students may not be able to see. Alcorta makes sure students always can reach him with either a text or setting up an appointment. They have weekly meetings with students who are on academic probation, and it has shown that these meetings do help, as GPA’s have risen. She also wants to emphasize that the success coaches are not so the students are in trouble, but to see if they can help support in any possible way.