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UA Little Rock Employees Earn Academic Coaching Certification

UA Little Rock employees Heyam Dannawi, Heather Reed, De'Ja Johnson and Tyler Harrison earn their academic coaching certification.
UA Little Rock employees Heyam Dannawi, Heather Reed, De'Ja Johnson and Tyler Harrison earn their academic coaching certification.

In their unwavering dedication to student success, four exceptional UA Little Rock employees are finding new ways to help students through a certification program.

Armed with newfound expertise and a passion for empowering learners, the four employees earned the academic coaching certification from the Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession (ACTP).

The employees who earned the certificate all hail from the Academic Affairs Retention Office, which operates the university’s Care Team, peer mentoring, student success coaching, and Child Care Connections program. They include Heather Reed, director, Tyler Harrison, associate director, Heyam Dannawi, student success coach, and De’Ja Johnson, student success coach.

“We are now all certificated academic coaches,” said Heather Reed, director of the Academic Affairs Retention Office. “The training focuses on student success and retention, psychological theory, student development, and learning strategies. We are bringing back new techniques to work with students to help motivate them, help facilitate positive behavior change, and help students explore ways to successfully develop new tools, such as study skills, time management, and work-life balance.”

Johnson said that earning the coaching certification allowed her to see new perspectives and approaches, make connections with other universities, and gave her new insights to share with her students.

“I’m excited to hold this new credential,” Johnson said. “Being certified by this institution is a mark of credibility and expertise in this field. It also means that I’ve successfully completed the requirements for professional coaching, and it demonstrates my commitment to continuing education and professional development. I feel more confident in my role as a coach now, and I’m excited to implement some of the tools I learned while at ACTP.”

The UA Little Rock employees took the training during the ACTP Training and Certification Institute Sept. 17-20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were among 60 professionals who completed the training. The certification included 30 hours of training, feedback on coaching methods, take home resources, and membership to ACTP.

Their commitment to guiding and nurturing student potential not only exemplifies the university’s mission to student success, but also promises to reshape the trajectory of countless academic journeys. You can learn more about UA Little Rock’s student success and retention initiatives at