Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) Team

Student Success Coaches and Support Specialists

Our Student Retention Initiatives Team includes both Coaches and Specialists. Our Student Success Coaches provide one-on-one support and can help you with time management, test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, tips to connect with faculty members, and how to get connected on campus. Our Student Support Specialist is a Licensed Masters Social Worker who provides strategies for managing stress, navigating relationships, conflict resolution, and connections to campus and community resources.

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Student Retention Initiatives

Our Student Retention Initiatives Team includes both Coaches and Specialists. Our Student Success Coaches provide one-on-one support and can help you with time management, test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, tips to connect with faculty members, and how to get connected on campus.

News Articles:
STUDENT RETENTION INITIATIVES HOSTS FIRST-GENERATION, TRANSFER STUDENT WELCOME – September 1, 2021
CULTIVATING STUDENT SUCCESS: HOW UA LITTLE ROCK RESOURCES EMPOWER FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS – November 29, 2022

Meet the Team

Tyler Harrison, M.Ed. | Associate Director | jtharrison1@ualr.edu 
Mr. Harrison is the Associate Director for the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. He is a native of Southeast Arkansas, raised in the small town of Star City. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Southern Arkansas University. Mr. Harrison is a first-generation college student. He has worked in various college departments ranging from Academic Advising, Financial Aid, and pre-college counseling. Mr. Harrison is passionate about student success and enjoys helping students reach their full potential. His personal motto is “everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.” He enjoys cooking, music, kickball, and spending time with friends and family in his free time.

News Articles:
SRI CELEBRATES UA LITTLE ROCK FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS

Shanna Parker, M.B.A | Director of Child Care Connections | sdparker@ualr.edu
Ms. Parker is the Director for the Child Care Connections within the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She is a native and resides in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Ms. Parker is an alumna of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She earned her Master’s Degree in Business with an emphasis in Human Resource from Purdue University and has completed all but her dissertation for a Doctoral Degree in Business from Walden University. She has Family Service Credentials recognized by the Board of Social Workers. Ms. Parker is a trainer, mentor coach, advocate, and administrator for students, parents, and staff in early childhood education.

Ms. Parker has worked for the University of Arkansas Medical Science’s Head Start/Early Head Start, serving as Site Director and as Family Service Advocate. In addition, she worked for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for six years, where she served in various capacities, including Interim Early Head Start Director. Ms. Parker’s passion and drive for student success come from being a first-generation graduate who has overcome many obstacles. She stands on her belief “If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.”

News Articles:
NATIVE OF PINE BLUFF LEADS PROJECT – March 26, 2022
PARKER JOINS UALR AS DIRECTOR OF NEW CHILD CARE CONNECTIONS PROGRAM – March 25, 2022
PARKER JOINS UA LITTLE ROCK AS DIRECTOR OF NEW CHILD CARE CONNECTIONS PROGRAM – March 18, 2022
UA LITTLE ROCK LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM TO PROVIDE CHILD CARE FUNDING FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS – February 22, 2022

Heather A. Reed, Ed.S., M.P.A. | Director of Student Retention Initiatives | hareed@ualr.edu
Ms. Reed is the Director of the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. A native of Kansas City, MO, Ms. Reed now calls Arkansas home. As a life-long learner, she has earned an Education Specialist Degree in Education Policies and Leadership Studies – the University of Iowa, a Masters’s in Public Administration (MPA) – University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel – Western Illinois University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English – Truman State University. Ms. Reed has 20 plus years of experience helping students succeed in college drawing on her time in housing/residence life, learning communities, crisis management, mentoring, judicial affairs, first-year experience, advising, and success coaching. Ms. Reed has served as an Assistant Dean at UA Little Rock and now focuses on building and leading the SRI team. Ms. Reed is passionate about student success/retention and believes in reducing barriers for students to achieve success.

News Articles:
AMP POWER WOMEN 2021 – December 21, 2021
SREB STUDENT SUCCESS ADVISORY COUNCIL – November 29, 2021
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AWARDS UA LITTLE ROCK $581K GRANT TO PROVIDE CHILD CARE FUNDING FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS – October 19, 2021

De’Ja Johnson, M.A. | Student Success Coach | dxjohnson1@ualr.edu

Ms. De’Ja K. Johnson, a native Arkansan, is a Success Coach on the Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She is a proud double UA Little Rock graduate, having obtained both her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Applied Communication with a concentration on Interpersonal Relationships. In her role as a Success Coach, De’Ja hopes to inspire students to define success on their terms and help them realize that they have the ability to create the life they want. De’Ja’s one piece of advice she would give to her younger self would be, “Nothing just happens, but everything is created. And you have the power to do just that.” When she’s not working, De’Ja enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Alicia Williams | Senior Research Assistant | arwilliams@ualr.edu

Ms. Williams is the Senior Research Assistant for the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She is a Little Rock native pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional and Technical Writing from UA Little Rock. In addition to her role in SRI, Ms. Williams supports the Learning Assistant Program, and STRIVE Program in budget and finance functions. As a nontraditional student and single parent, Ms. Williams has overcome the struggles many students face daily. She is excited to support student success by connecting students to resources so they can successfully complete their degrees.

Mercades Parker, LMSW | Student Support Specialist | mmparker2@ualr.edu

Ms. Mercades Parker is a native Arkansan, born in Texarkana, AR but raised in the small town of Ashdown, AR. She is a double alumnus of UA Little Rock. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in psychology, sociology, and health sciences. She earned her Master of Social Work degree and is licensed to practice as a Licensed Master Social Worker. Ms. Parker has worked in various college departments, ranging from facilities management, Academic Advising, Student Support, and Campus Living. Mercades has mental health counseling experience through her work at Methodist Family Health, The Bridgeway, and The Arkansas State Hospital. As a first-generation graduate and single mother, Mercades has overcome many obstacles faced by students. Mercades is excited about helping students to succeed. She believes, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” Mercades enjoys being a mother to her daughter and Goldendoodle, spending time with her family, and binge-watching television series.

 

Our Student Success Coaches Can Help With:

Academic Success Skills: Classroom Success: Life Skills:
  • Time Management & Organization Skills
  • Study Skills & Test Preparation
  • Goal Setting & Strategizing
  • Learning Styles Exploration
  • Forming Study Groups
  • Building Productive Faculty Relationships
  • Motivation VS Procrastination
  • Personal Health
  • Relationship Building
  • Grit ~ Resiliency ~ Skills to Thrive