University of Leeds: Meet your Student Success Manager

Adam Morris is the Student Success Manager for the online Masters courses delivered by the University of Leeds.

In this Q&A, we learn more about his current role, what he enjoys most about the job, and how his team support students throughout their online studies.

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Could you begin by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit more about your role as a Student Success Manager?

A: My name is Adam Morris and I’ve been working for the University of Leeds for just over a year. During that time our online portfolio of programmes has grown from one course to five courses which I oversee.

Fundamentally, I’m a team manager to our Student Success Advisors and I support them in meeting the standards that are expected of them to help their students’ academic journey. Once a student has enrolled onto a course, they can go to the Student Success Team for support from the very first module all the way through to graduation, and our team are a primary point of contact to support them with any queries they have.

My team will always try our best to find answers for our students or direct them to where they need to go, and we work with them to make sure they are aware of best practice and specific deadlines.

What do you enjoy most about your role as Student Success Manager?

I really like to see all the feedback we receive from our online Masters students. We send out surveys to students and are ranked on how well we are supporting them. We’ve been receiving world-class scores above the benchmark of 70/100, which is lovely to see, and we get lots of nice comments from students about how their advisors directly helped them through a specific situation or how the support received has been phenomenal.

I like the fact that what we’re doing is well received by students, I think that’s a lovely thing to see and supporting them throughout their studies before seeing them graduate at the end is really rewarding. We’ve also had students who are going through very tough times, or battling personal challenges, so when they do eventually graduate, that’s very rewarding as well.

Could you share some examples of feedback you’ve received from students?

Yes, we get some lovely feedback through from students, so I’ll give you a flavour of some of that:

“My Student Success Advisor understands my needs and supports me as much as possible. I always receive a timely response when I ask for help. Their support is priceless, and they offer both encouragement and clear direction.”

What we’re doing matters in many ways and definitely helps people, and it’s great to see these positive comments throughout the year.

What can students expect from the Student Success Team before they begin studying?

We present students with a welcome pack when they start their studies which covers key information including:

  • The programme start dates and when their introductory ‘pathways to success’ course begins.
  • How students can utilise the Student Success Team.
  • Online registration.
  • Academic year dates.
  • How to access IT support services.
  • Navigating Minerva, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  • Tuition fees and payment processes.
  • Other services including health and wellbeing and disability support.
  • Contact details for each department.

How can an online student work with you and the wider Student Success Team?

We welcome students from all over the world, from different walks of life, who study for different reasons – both personal and professional. We therefore have to cater our support to meet different needs and support students through whatever their specific academic journey is.

For new students joining an online Masters course, the support is initially very important, particularly during their first module so they can expect a stringent onboarding process. They’ll receive a dedicated Student Success Advisor who they’ll build a good relationship with over their academic journey, and this is followed by three additional onboarding calls to make sure they are happy and comfortable.

And could you tell us a little bit more about these initial calls?

We have a first module management call which is to determine how they’re getting on, find out whether they can navigate the virtual learning environment, discuss how they are managing their time and address any concerns or issues they might have. And we can direct them to where they initially might need some support, such as the academic team.

Following the first module management call, we go onto the contingency planning call which is primarily focused on assessments. And this is about making sure they’re clued up on assessment dates, what’s expected of them, and whether they have any mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

Then finally, we have a reflection call which unpicks how their first module went, looks ahead to their next module, and lets them know about anything they need to be aware of to help them plan their progression.

All students will begin with quite a bit of organised contact to make sure they have everything they need and ensure that their experience is as good as possible. However, as self-directed Masters students, although they are safe in the knowledge that support is there, they need to be accountable for their goals.

From then onwards, we have progression calls once a teaching period following subsequent modules. This can be more or less depending on the needs of the students so we will adjust accordingly, but these calls ensure we regularly check-in and find out how our students are getting on with their studies.

How can students contact Student Success and what impact will this have on their studies?

The Student Success Team are always on hand from 8am to 5pm (UK time) on a Monday to Friday, and we aim to respond to all emails within 24 hours. We are also available on the weekend to pick up any urgent queries via email.

Fundamentally, we’re always there to make sure students are successful, that they have a timely response and know who to speak to in order to succeed throughout their course. They can use us as a sounding board to make sure they are doing the right thing.

We’re always trying to maintain productive contact and a good relationship with them to make sure they know who to speak to and are aware of the support they can receive. Each student will have a dedicated Student Success Advisor who’s their main point of contact, however, if they are away on holiday for example, all students will still get a response from somebody in the Student Success Team.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a student studying online with the University of Leeds, what would it be?

I’d recommend students ask questions and use the services and resources available. At the University of Leeds, we have some of the best academics in the world, so make sure you speak to them and use their expertise to your advantage. We have different support frameworks and services throughout the University, so use them and keep in constant communication with them as well, particularly to help manage your time.

The Student Success Team and other support networks are here to help you, so don’t hesitate to contact us whenever you need to.

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Online postgraduate courses - University of Leeds