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Pod Leader Application Winter 2020

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Job Title: Pod Leader

Department: Student Success and Retention

Job Description

The Pod Leaders support entry and orientation efforts welcoming students to campus by making welcome calls to new WCC applicants,  providing tours to prospective students, and providing tours to new students during New Student Orientation. They focus on building relationships with and between students during orientation and serve as the first-point of contact for new students and the greater Whatcom community; and contribute to a more accepting campus climate through being positive examples of Whatcom Community College values. 

Pod Leaders support retention efforts of first-year students via outreach calls to struggling students and 1:1 and group peer mentoring. These outreach calls are part of the Early Alert Support Program. Pod leaders visit classes, represent the program at campus events, and do special outreach calls to various populations to better support students in learning about various resources on campus and help ensure that students begin working with the appropriate support staff early on to support their academic goals. These support staff and resources include peer mentoring with pod leaders, academic coaching, advising, specific programs like BFET, tutoring resources, and other resources on campus. The Pod Leader Program is supervised by the Coordinator for Student Success and Retention. . 

Please Note: We are hiring 3-4 people to begin by the end of March, and more to begin mid-June.

About the Department

Student Success and Retention creates opportunities for students to enhance their belief in themselves to succeed at Whatcom Community College and beyond. Our work promotes a culture that proactively responds to students' needs and affirms each individual's ability to take action toward their goals.

About the Whatcom Wave Student Orientation

Running year-round, Whatcom Community College welcomes new students to campus through the Whatcom Wave. The Wave is a Whatcom tradition in helping to orient new students to their college experience, as well as helping those students identify resources to set them up for success.

We believe one of the best predictors of student success is students feeling connected to the college they are attending. Whether this is through student life, clubs, a valued instructor, or connecting to valuable campus resources; Whatcom Wave seeks to help students find their place on campus. This is the first point of contact for new students, and is the first opportunity to find a connection point for each student on campus.

Orientation also seeks to eliminate barriers to equitable access to college. We know students come from all backgrounds, and we want to make sure Whatcom is welcoming to all students who arrive on campus. To do this we spend time intentionally helping students identify resources, navigate campus, and connect to campus technology.

About the Early Alert Support Program

Each quarter, instructors complete progress surveys to communicate to struggling students in an effort to connect them to resources and staff on campus. During each progress survey, instructors also have the opportunity to send Kudos messages to students who are doing well.

When instructors complete progress surveys and raise alerts for students, this sends a resource email to that student and raises a little flag in their Starfish profile that advisors and pod leaders can view. Alerts that instructors raise are usually related to attendance and low grades because poor attendance early on in the quarter or low scores signals to instructors and staff that students are at risk of falling behind.

We understand that a variety of factors impact learning and ability to attend. Many students have competing responsibilities related to work, childcare, health, and more that sometimes impact grades. What’s most important is that students reach out for help when they need it, and keep looking for resources and stay connected to staff and faculty who are part of the network they’re building on campus to support their success in reaching their academic goals. Pod Leaders facilitate the creation of that network for individual students.

Starfish is the tool we use to manage progress surveys and house these “early alerts.” Starfish allows faculty and staff to communicate more effectively in supporting students, enables students to view currently open flags as well as kudos, and allows support services staff to divide up outreach and response efforts to early and mid-quarter alerts so we reach as many struggling students as possible.

Responsibilities | Student Success & Retention

  • Lead campus tours for Whatcom Wave Orientations
  • Build relationships with incoming students through ice breakers, and intentional conversations based on the eight areas of wellness
  • Assist with Wave facilitated session activities and assist facilitators per request
  • Work closely with the Coordinator for Student Success and Retention in planning Orientation sessions and new ways to connect with incoming students
  • Visit classes and represent the Pod Leader Program at events to share information about peer mentoring and resources on campus
  • Complete phone outreach to students with alerts
    • outreach calls over the course of the first two through five weeks of the quarter to provide navigational support and facilitate problem-solving behaviors for students
    • calls over the course of weeks 6-8 (during midterms) to students who have disappeared from classes or are in danger of not passing their courses.
  • Make referrals via phone and assist students in scheduling meetings with academic coaching and advising services on campus
  • Meet with students in the role of a peer mentor
  • Support other areas on campus as we are able to as a program (Marketing, Student Life, Financial Aid, representation on various committees, working Foundation events, etc.)

Responsibilities | Outreach & Student Success

  • Lead the tour portion of Whatcom 101 Information Session & Campus Tour
  • Partner with Associate Director of Outreach & Outreach Coordinator to co-present information sessions from student perspective.
  • Participate in on-campus Outreach Events
    • Campus Tours
    • Student Panels
    • Event prep/set-up/tear down
  • Complete phone call campaigns to prospective students
  • Be a resource to prospective students between inquiry stage to their first day of class.
  • Provide timely information, support and resources to applicants throughout the onboarding process, including by phone, email or in person
  • Refer applicants and new students to helpful campus resources (BFET, AIM, Advising, etc)


  • 2.25 cumulative GPA
  • Earned at least 20 college level credits with 2.0 or better by end of winter quarter
  • Eligibility for Work Study (Visit Financial Aid to find out if you are eligible)
  • Ability to work Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 9-6 PM (shifts can vary, but working hours will fall between these timespans)
  • Ability to work at Wave Orientations
  • Enthusiasm for college and supporting students
  • Willingness to learn new technologies (office phones, Starfish system)
  • Willingness to teach college navigational skills in 1:1 settings (Class Search, Starfish degree planner, scheduling appointments via Starfish)
  • Strong email etiquette and writing skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA
  • Previous experience making phone calls
  • Previous experience working with people in a helping role


$13.50 per hour

Start Date

Spring start: March 30, 2020 (required training dates March 30-April 1)

Summer start: June 16, 2020 (required training dates June 16-19)  


10-25 hours the week before classes start (25 in Fall, 10 in Winter and Spring)

5 to 15 hours a week during weeks 2-10 of each quarter (2-6 in summer quarter)

Training prior to start, to be determined (pending Work Study approval)