DAS Support Coaching Information

Students who are registered with Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) at UM-Dearborn are eligible to make DAS Support Coaching appointments. 

What is DAS Support Coaching?

The DAS Support Coach can help with a range of challenges and topics related to the student’s academic and social experiences as a college student.

Support Coaching is an interactive, collaborative process to assist students in reaching their educational goals. DAS Support Coaching appointments are conversations between the student and the coach about the student’s unique experiences, strengths, challenges, and goals. Each appointment is individualized, so the student and the coach work together to create a personalized plan of action based on the student’s learning styles, habits of working, and goals. 

The DAS Support Coach and the student discuss strategies, tools, and resources to assist in the student’s academic journey. During each appointment, there is opportunity for the student to engage in self-reflection about their goals and progress. Students might benefit from just one session or they might find it helpful to check in regularly with the DAS Support Coach. Support Coaching offers students accountability and encouragement.

Support Coaching is not academic advising, personal counseling, or tutoring. However, the DAS Support Coach will connect students with on-campus and off-campus resources as needed.

How does Support Coaching fit within the DAS office?

The DAS Support Coach works with the rest of the Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) team to ensure that accommodations are working well for students. If a student is experiencing any issues or challenges with their current accommodations, the Support Coach will collaborate with the DAS team to resolve the issues or implement new or additional accommodations. 

The DAS team includes:

Sara Byczek, Director of Disability and Accessibility Services

Judith Walker, Disability and Accessibility Services Coordinator

  • Conducts the intake process, re-enrollment appointments, and follow-up appointments for students who have a documented disability
  • Works collaboratively with faculty and staff to create an inclusive educational environment for students

Cathy Sidor, Disability and Accessibility Services Testing Center and Alternative Formatting Coordinator 

  • Provides test proctoring for registered DAS students with testing accommodations 
  • Seeks and creates accessible formats of course materials for registered DAS students

Hillary Degner, Disability and Accessibility Services Coordinator of Case Management and Support

  • Assists students through DAS Support Coaching appointments
  • Works collaboratively with faculty and staff to create accessible learning environments by utilizing the Universal Design for Learning framework
How is DAS Support Coaching beneficial to students?

Support Coaching is a great resource for students to take advantage of while they are in college. Some of the benefits of meeting with a support coach might include, learning effective time and stress management skills, understanding alternative learning strategies, strengthening problem solving skills, getting assistance with connecting to on and off campus resources, developing skills and strategies that can transition into the workplace, and receiving encouragement.

Why might a student already receiving academic accommodations also want to participate in DAS Support Coaching?

DAS Support Coaching is not a replacement for academic accommodations. Instead, Support Coaching compliments academic accommodations. The purpose of providing both academic accommodations and the option of Support Coaching is to give students with disabilities the tools and resources to feel more confident in reaching their educational goals. DAS Support Coaching is an extra resource for students registered with DAS to utilize in their educational journey at UM-Dearborn. 

What type of assistance can students receive from DAS Support Coaching?

The DAS Support Coach can help with a range of challenges and topics related to the student’s academic and social experiences as a college student. Coaching appointments will be tailored to what each student needs.

Since Support Coaching is available to students registered with DAS, students can also discuss their accommodations with the coach. The Support Coach will collaborate with the entire DAS team to resolve any issues or implement new or additional accommodations.

Areas of Support Coaching assistance include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic accommodations
  • Time management/prioritization
  • Organization
  • Goal setting
  • Study skills, writing skills, and reading strategies
  • Note-taking strategies
  • Preparing for exams and managing test anxiety
  • Motivation
  • Learning strategies
  • Connecting to on-campus or off-campus resources
  • Communicating with professors
  • Self-advocacy skills
  • Mindfulness 
How can students who are registered with DAS schedule a Support Coaching appointment?

DAS Support Coaching appointments are currently being held over Zoom. Students can schedule a date and time by emailing the Support Coach, Hillary Degner, at hdegner@umich.edu.

How often can students meet with the DAS Support Coach?

Students will discuss this with the Support Coach. Depending on availability, students may be able to meet with the coach once a week or every other week. Appointments range between 15-30 minutes.

What happens in a DAS Support Coaching appointment?

The first appointment is typically 30 minutes. The DAS Support Coach will get to know the student by asking about their experiences, strengths, challenges, and goals. Support Coaching appointments are collaborative, so the coach and student will work together to create a personalized plan of action and track progress toward goals. 

The coach will offer insight and suggestions for tools and strategies the student can use to reach their goals. It is not a guarantee that each suggestion will work for every student. It is important for the student to be engaged in the coaching process so the coach can provide different or additional suggestions if needed. 

During Support Coaching appointments, the student and the coach will work together to find what works best for the student. It takes time to find what works for each student and to build habits.

The coach and the student will agree on when to schedule another appointment and how often appointments will occur. Follow-up appointments can range from 15-30 minutes and will be different for each student. Generally, the student will update the coach on which strategies the student tried and whether the student found them effective. The coach and the student then might set more goals, try strategies during the appointment, or prioritize the student’s schedule. 

The Support Coach may refer the student to other on-campus or off-campus resources.

What is the difference between advising, counseling, and coaching?

Academic advisors at UM-Dearborn assist students with information about program and graduation requirements, policies, procedures, and campus resources. 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at UM-Dearborn has a team of trained mental health professionals who help students navigate life-changing experiences. CAPS can help students with a variety of concerns, including but not limited to mood changes, relationship problems, anxiety, and stress.

The DAS Support Coach discusses strategies, tools, and resources related to the student’s academic and social experiences as a college student. Support Coaching appointments are specifically offered to students registered with DAS to ensure that academic accommodations are working best for students. The student and the Support Coach work together to problem-solve challenges students are experiencing. Support Coaches often work collaboratively with other on-campus and off-campus student support services and will refer students to those resources as needed.

Who is the DAS Support Coach?

Hillary Degner has eight years of experience working with students as a writing center tutor at three universities and a first-year writing teacher at Eastern Michigan University and The Ohio State University. 

Hillary holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional and Technical Writing from Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree in Written Communication, with a concentration in the teaching of writing, from Eastern Michigan University. She completed coursework in the Rhetoric and Composition PhD program at The Ohio State University, where she also completed a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Disability Studies.

Hillary’s research focuses on mental health support in writing centers and first-year writing courses. She has delivered over 20 national and international conference presentations and invited talks. Her co-authored article, “Opening Closed Doors: A Rationale for Creating a Safe Space for Tutors Struggling with Mental Health Concerns or Illnesses,” was published in a 2015 issue of Praxis: A Writing Center Journal.

Hillary approaches student support with kindness and empathy. She is committed to advocating for students and empowering them to advocate for themselves. She also educates students, faculty, and staff about accessibility practices and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) so that universities are more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Hillary’s email: hdegner@umich.edu 

Disability and Accessibility Services

Fairlane Center North (FCN)
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