Penn State World Campus Wins Top Honor from UPCEA for Student Coaching Program

Penn State World Campus partnership with student success experts InsideTrack receives award from leading association for professional, continuing and online education

PORTLAND, ORE. and UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—(OCTOBER 4, 2017) — Today, Penn State World Campus and InsideTrack announced that they are joint recipients of the UPCEA 2017 Mid-Atlantic Region Partnership Award, which honors outstanding collaborations to improve outcomes for students and other higher education stakeholders.  The partnership was recognized for its Strong Start coaching program, which leverages InsideTrack’s uCoach technology platform to cost-effectively assist newly enrolled undergraduate and degree-seeking World Campus students during their first few semesters.

The coaching program combines live support from professional coaches and academic advisers with automated nudges, interactive content and engagement of students through a broad range of communication channels, including voice, video, email and text.  Coaching and self-service content modules address a number of critical issues, including career exploration, time management, communication, study skills, finances and perseverance.

InsideTrack and Penn State World Campus began working together in 2010. Initially, the partnership focused on enrolling more students who were a strong fit for Penn State’s online programs, resulting in significant growth. The scope later expanded to include coaching and consulting to improve retention and completion.  The Strong Start program concentrates on degree-seeking students, supporting them from the moment they confirm their intent to attend Penn State World Campus, all the way through their first 8 months with Penn State World Campus.

In the first year, more than 1,500 students participated in the program. Students praise the program for providing consistent and valuable guidance, making them feel better connected to the online community and helping them start their educational experience as strongly as possible.

“Penn State World Campus students are busy learners, balancing their educational pursuits with work and family obligations,” said Dr. Renata Engel, interim vice provost for online education at Penn State. “Supporting them effectively requires continuous innovation and strong partnerships.  That is why we are honored to be recognized by UPCEA alongside one of our most innovative and student-centric partners, InsideTrack.”

Since the beginning of their partnership, Penn State World Campus and InsideTrack have focused on using the latest advances in behavioral science and technology to engage, guide and motivate students. InsideTrack coaches and World Campus academic advisers work closely together to ensure that all students receive the personalized support they need to reach their full potential. The launch of the Strong Start program involved close coordination between both organization’s data teams, as well as marketing, admissions, financial aid, disability services, advising, and other student-facing professionals committed to creating an incredible student experience.

“Our partnership with Penn State has always been about doing whatever is possible to make students more successful,” said Ellen Leher, associate vice president of client partnerships at InsideTrack. “They are a true partner in every sense of the word, collaborating closely with us to continuously improve student support. We are excited to see World Campus gain such well-deserved recognition for their achievements.”


About Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus is the online campus of The Pennsylvania State University with more than 13,000 students. Penn State World Campus provides an accessible, high-quality Penn State education online to address the needs of individuals who seek a higher education beyond the traditional campus experience. Partnering with Penn State’s academic units and colleges allows Penn State World Campus to offer more than 125 degree and certificate programs developed and taught by Penn State faculty. Find out more at

About InsideTrack

InsideTrack is passionate about student success. Since 2001, we have been dedicated to partnering with colleges and universities to create adaptive coaching solutions that generate measurable results. These solutions combine professional coaching, technology, and data analytics to increase enrollment, completion, and career readiness. Our adaptive coaching methodology is based on the latest behavioral science research and knowledge gained from working with more than 1.5 million students and 1,600 programs. In combination with our uCoach® Platform, our approach optimizes student engagement and generates valuable insights on the student experience through predictive modeling, behavioral analysis, and multichannel communication. InsideTrack is a member of the nonprofit Strada Education Network. Join us and the leading institutions, foundations, and others working to bring the transformative power of education to all individuals. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @InsideTrack.

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