News

UNC Announces $1-million grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation

January 25, 2012

North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Grant to Help UNC Campuses Meet Needs of Students Who Learn Differently

CHAPEL HILL, NC -- The 17-campus University of North Carolina today announced a three-year, $1-million grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to help UNC campuses better meet the needs of students who learn differently.

This grant provides funds to match an earlier grant from the Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland, announced last May.  Additional matching funds have been provided by a coalition of Greensboro-area foundations including the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, the Cemala Foundation, the Weaver Foundation, the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, and the Michel Family Foundation.

College STAR (Supporting Transition, Access and Retention:  A UNC-System Project Supporting Students with Learning Differences) will provide a network of support services for students who are capable of college success, but who often struggle academically because they learn differently.   While starting with three UNC campuses— Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—University leaders expect to expand the program to three additional UNC campuses and also to engage campuses within the North Carolina Community College System in the next phase of project implementation.   By weaving together direct support for students, instructional support for faculty members, and partnerships with public schools, participating campuses have an opportunity to learn together and to put in place effective strategies for teaching students with varying learning differences in postsecondary settings.

In announcing the grant, UNC President Tom Ross said, “We share the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation’s deep commitment to equipping our young people to compete successfully in tomorrow’s workplace.  We are grateful that this generous grant will help foster success in college and in life for students who learn differently.”

In spite of demonstrated abilities, students with learning differences attend and graduate from college at lower rates than their peers.  UNC aims to become the first public university system to intentionally address this issue by blending direct supports for select groups of students who learn differently with instructional development for college faculty who are teaching increasingly diverse groups of learners.  The network of resources and collaboration that will be established through College STAR has the potential to make a positive difference for a wide variety of students, as well as for the faculty who teach them. 

The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation supports programs in North Carolina that help to meet the educational needs of today's society and of future generations.  Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has approved grants to UNC institutions totaling $19.1 million.

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 220,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for academically gifted students.