Students can take advantage of academic coaching at Penn State Scranton

Eileen Giovagnoli and Matthew Smith stand together for a photo in the Study Learning Center with a brick wall behind them in the background

Assistant Director of Learning and Disability Services Eileen Giovagnoli and Disability and Learning Services Specialist Matthew Smith encourage any students needing a little extra help with their studies to contact them in the campus' Learning and Writing Center in the SLC's Student Success Center, where they offer academic coaching to students that address a variety of academic areas. 

Credit: Morgan Sewack

DUNMORE, Pa. — For students needing a little extra help with their studies, Penn State Scranton’s Learning and Writing Center now provides students with academic coaching, in addition to its other offered services. 

Academic coaching is a process where students partner with a professional academic coach to develop their full academic potential. The coach helps students identify academic and learning goals that will maximize a student’s opportunities for success and help students achieve academic, personal and professional goals. Through a collaborative process, students identify their learning strengths and build on their strengths for success at Penn State. 

Coaches help students assess their study skills through checklists and inventories designed to identify areas for growth. Tools include the Study Habits Checklist, Test-taking Skills Diagnostic and the LASSI — Learning and Study Strategies Inventory.  

“We work one-on-one with students to develop a personalized plan of action based on this self-assessment process,” explained Assistant Director of Learning and Disability Services Eileen Giovagnoli. “The goal is to help students develop a tool kit of study skills they can apply in different settings and courses and learn to adjust strategies based on course content.” 

A few areas students might focus on are:  

  • Time management and organizational skills 
  • Goal setting  
  • Improving memory  
  • Methods for notetaking 
  • Motivation and overcoming procrastination  
  • Exam preparation, including managing test and academic anxiety 
  • Active reading strategies  
  • General study skills/strategies 

Academic coaches can help make the skills of learning more apparent for students and take skills beyond simple memorization.  

“Our desire is to help students learn to value the learning process and become more intentional about how they approach learning,” Giovagnoli said, emphasizing that, “as students apply deep and active learning strategies and achieve success, they gain confidence even in areas they have typically found challenging.” 

Academic coaches work with students in all majors and can provide general study skills strategies that can be applied to all classes, such as time management or test-taking strategies, and skills specific to a field of study.  

“For example, studying skills for success in a math or science course may differ from the skills necessary for success in a history, nursing or philosophy course,” Giovagnoli explained. 

“Our coaches at Penn State Scranton are professional, graduate level staff members with years of experience and training in education, teaching and academic counseling. Coaches are skilled at study strategies that are based on sound research about learning and memory. In addition to knowledge about what works to maximize learning, our staff are highly committed to our students and to engaging as partners with them to increase the depth of their learning to achieve success.

“And, our coaches are available year-round!” Giovagnoli exclaimed.  

Giovagnoli recommends that it is best if students come early in the semester in order to have enough time to complete the self-assessment process and develop and implement a plan that can be applied during multiple course assessments throughout the semester.  

“This provides the greatest opportunity for success,” she said, adding that, “students can work with their coach to determine how often and how many meetings are best, based on the student’s goals.” 

Penn State is renowned for its academic rigor and students often find that their previous assumptions and strategies for studying are not as effective once they arrive at Penn State.

“At Penn State Scranton, we value our students’ contributions to our academic community and view our students as capable and powerful learners. We are committed to education as a transformative experience,” Giovagnoli said. 

“Working with an academic coach is an excellent way for a student to transform their learning by building on their skills to meet the high standards of our academic programs and to achieve success at Penn State and beyond,” she said.  

Interested in an academic coaching session? Students can stop by the Student Success Center in the lower level of the Study Learning Center (SLC) to request an appointment. Students can also call the Learning Center at 570-963-2678 or reach out directly to a professional coach: 

  • Eileen Giovagnoli, [email protected], Associate Director of Learning and Disability Services, Hawk Student Success Center, Study Learning Center, Office 21 
  • Matthew Smith, [email protected], Disability and Learning Services Specialist, Study Learning Center, Office 13