Academic Affairs Retention Office (AARO) Team

Student Success Coaches & Child Care Support

Our Academic Affairs Retention Office offers Student Success Coaches for one-on-one support with time management, test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, connecting with faculty, and campus involvement. AARO also partners with each college’s Student Support Specialist for stress management, relationship navigation, conflict resolution, and community resource connections. We also have Child Care Connections services available to support students with children. Appointments can be requested by completing a Care Team request. 

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Student Success Coaching | Academic Affairs Retention Office

Our Academic Affairs Retention Office offers Student Success Coaches for one-on-one support with time management, test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, connecting with faculty, and campus involvement.

News Articles:
UA Little Rock Employees Earn Academic Coaching Certification – September 26, 2023
Education Matters: UA Little Rock student services – August 15, 2023
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
SRI CELEBRATES UA LITTLE ROCK FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS  – November 29, 2022

Meet Our Coaches

Heyam Dannawi, M.A. | Student Success Coach | hxdannawi@ualr.edu

Ms. Heyam Dannawi is a Student Success Coach for the UA Little Rock Academic Affairs Retention Office. She is a proud UA Little Rock double graduate, having obtained her Master’s degree in Art History and Master’s degree in Higher Education. Ms. Dannawi has worked in different academic departments, from Library Staff, Administrative Assistant to Advising. Heyam hopes to educate students on developing skills and habits that will lead to academic success. When Heyam is not working, she enjoys reading, walking in nature, drawing, traveling, and cooking new recipes.

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

Ms. De’Ja K. Johnson, a native Arkansan, is a Success Coach in the Academic Affairs Retention Office. She is a proud double UA Little Rock graduate, having obtained 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.

Meet the Rest of the Team

Heather A. Reed, Ed.S., M.P.A. | Director of Academic Affairs Retention Office | hareed@ualr.edu
Ms. Reed is the Director of the UA Little Rock Academic Affairs Retention Office. A native of Kansas City, MO, Ms. Reed now calls Arkansas home. As a lifelong learner, she has earned an Education Specialist Degree in Education Policies and Leadership Studies – from the University of Iowa, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) – the 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, teaching and building learning communities, crisis management, mentoring, judicial affairs, first-year experience instruction, advising, and success coaching. Ms. Reed has served as an Assistant Dean at UA Little Rock and now focuses on building and leading the AARO. 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

Heather Reed – Interim Coordinator | Child Care Connections Coordinator | childcare@ualr.edu

Related Child Care Connections 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

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

Ms. Williams is the Senior Research Assistant for the UA Little Rock Academic Affairs Retention Office. She is a Little Rock native pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional and Technical Writing from UA Little Rock. 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.

Katelin Hayward | Graduate Assistant | khayward@ualr.edu

Ms. Hayward is a Graduate Assistant for the Child Care Connections within the UA Little Rock Academic Affairs Retention Office. She is a native of Grenada, Mississippi. Ms. Hayward is an alumna of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Public Policy Leadership and minors in Education and Journalism. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program here at UA Little Rock while also pursuing a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management. She is excited to assist students and connect them with resources to ensure their success.

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