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Course Stories, Season 4, Episode 4: Beyond the Classroom: The Power of Faculty Connection in Student Success

Students around a table with professor Carroll and Coach Vollmer

In a season of special episodes, we have another very special and unique episode of Course Stories for you! In this week’s episode, we have four very special guests on the show to talk about student success and the role that faculty and ASU Success Coaches play in getting our students to the finish line of graduation. The episode delves deep into the pivotal role that faculty presence and genuine connection play in shaping a student’s academic journey. It all began with a simple, yet profound gesture: an invitation to a casual lunch for graduating students. Join us as ART 394 professor, Granville Carroll, shares how he infuses his course with instructor presence and life throughout the course-building process by developing engaging assessments and activities and making sure he’s present for learners throughout the course experience. In a special twist, we also hear from the student themselves! Tufan Comert joins us to discuss his experiences in several of Professor Carroll’s courses and the significant impact his unique presence in these courses has had on his success, especially during challenging times.

The story doesn’t end there though! We also hear about Tufan’s experience working with a Success Coach and the impact this relationship had on his overall success with ASU Online while driving with Uber and balancing his personal life. Hear from Katrina Volmer and Nicolette Miller as they share what it’s like working so closely together with students to create clear plans for success and making it across the finish line!

In this Episode:

Granville Carroll

Granville Carroll

Granville Carroll is a visual artist and Afrofuturist using photography and poetry to explore representation and identity. Carroll’s work also explores the multidimensionality of blackness through spatial blackness, temporal blackness, and spiritual blackness. At the core of his practice is the investigation into metaphysics, specifically the ontology of self and the universe. Carroll’s work highlights the imaginative qualities of the mind through storytelling and world building to create new speculative futures and states of being.

Carroll has been awarded Top 50 Critical Mass 2022, 2022 NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Photography and 2022 JGS Fellowship for Photography. He was named a 2021 Silver List artist and Project Space Visual Studies Workshop AIR. Carroll earned a BFA in photography from Arizona State University in 2018 and an MFA in photography and related media from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2020. His work has been shown across the United States and internationally. His work has been published through online platforms and printed media such as: Panorama Journal, KJZZ radio in Arizona, Fraction Magazine, What Will You Remember, Brink Literary Journal, Lenscratch, Humble Arts Foundation, Black Is Magazine and many others. Carroll’s images have recently appeared in Light and Lens: Thinking About Photography in the Digital Age (Robert Hirst and Edward Bateman) and There’s Light: Artworks & Conversations Examining Black Masculinity, Identity & Mental Well-Being (Glenn Lutz). In 2022 his first artist book, Dark Matter was published through Visual Studies Workshop Press.

Katrina Vollmer

Katrina Vollmer is an Instructional Designer Associate with EdPlus at ASU Online where she assists instructional designers and faculty in the design and development of online courses and course materials. Prior to her role as an instructional designer, she worked as a teacher accumulating more than 10 years of instructional experience and curriculum development. She also supported online students in higher education of various backgrounds and disciplines as a Success Coach. 

Tufan Comert

Tufan Comert

Tufan graduated from ASU in May 2023 with a major in Fine Arts. While attending ASU, he gained eligibility for tuition coverage by partnering with Uber. He was born in Istanbul, Turkiye and has lived in the States since 2000. He previously worked in the Food and Beverage industry for 19 years and left a management position to pursue his education.

Nicolette Miller

Nicolette has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Her focus on student services and support over the last 20 years crosses both public and for-profit institutions.

At ASU, Nicolette has served as the Director of Student Services in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation prior to joining EdPlus (ASU Online) in Fall 2021. She has held similar roles at other universities serving primarily in student services leadership roles. She has a keen focus on providing an excellent experience for students to aid them on their path to graduation. Nicolette also has years of experience in building effective, skilled teams that are inspired by helping students overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

As the Senior Director of Student Success Initiatives at EdPlus she leads teams that drive innovative and individualized solutions to increase student success outcomes at ASU Online.

Your Hosts

Ricardo Leon smiling
Ricardo Leon is a Media Developer for EdPlus and is a co-creator and co-host of Course Stories. He has developed a number of other podcasts and various other forms of instructional media. In 2021, Ricardo was on a team that received The President’s Award, which formally recognizes successful solutions in innovation, for his work on the Study Hall project with Crash Course.
Mary is wearing glasses, smiling, has short brown hair
Mary Loder is an instructional designer at EdPlus and is the Online Learning Manager - Professional Development and Training on the Instructional Design and New Media team at EdPlus. She is also the co-creator and co-host for Course Stories, a podcast highlighting and showcasing the talents of our faculty and staff at ASU.

Your Producer

Elizabeth Blythe-Lee, a Senior Instructional Designer at ASU Online - EdPlus, is the creative force behind Course Stories. An ASU alumna with a BA in English Literature and a Masters of Education from NAU, Elizabeth has been a part of the ASU community since 2009. Her expertise in crafting accessible online courses is enhanced by her passion for storytelling and a unique flair for adding a touch of Disney magic to her work. A history and literature enthusiast, Elizabeth's background in writing shines through in every course narrative, making learning an enchanting journey.

Your Production Manager

Aubrey Holland is a multimedia developer with EdPlus at ASU Online where she primarily works on the Study Hall Youtube project between ASU and the Youtube channel Crash Course. She also supports various media projects under the New Media team at EdPlus.   

Resources from this Episode

Additional Links for your enjoyment and exploration into a deeper understanding of this Course Story.

Explore some of Granville Carroll’s amazing work at the following links:

Dark Matter Pre-order

Maine Media Workshop-Alumni Lecture Series

Maine Media Workshop; Breaking the Tools in Photoshop

Memento Morie III (ASU Exhibition)

Of Dawn Exhibition and Discussion Panel

Are you an ASU Online student interested in creating your own unique relationship with your Success Coach? Find your Coach and get connected here!


Course Stories is produced by EdPlus out of Arizona State University.

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