Students who learn differently have access to an array of academic supports through Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) Bronco STAR (Supporting Transition, Access and Retention).   The program is the result of a three-year $1 million grant from the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, currently in the second year of funding.

Bronco STAR continues to build on programs that have earned Fayetteville State recognition as an Exemplar Institute for Access and Success by the Washington-DC-based Institute for Higher Education Policy.  Through the Bronco STAR initiative, Fayetteville State joined the College STAR program which previously had been implemented at UNC system institutions of East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and Appalachian State University.   All College STAR programs are focused on providing support for students who, in the past, have slipped through the cracks of the education system even though they are capable of college success. 

In the 2014-15 academic year, Bronco STAR served 45 students on a regular individual basis with many more served through embedded tutors in nine course. During the coming year, the embedded tutor program will expand to 12 courses.

Each participating UNC campus has designed a model that weaves together direct student-support targeted to specific populations as well as instructional support for faculty members interested in teaching methods that can facilitate student achievement.   While each campus model is unique, common elements of the programs thread throughout all participating campuses to maximize opportunities for collaboration and shared learning.   The overall program is funded by the Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. James A. Anderson, Chancellor at Fayetteville State, said the funding assists the university in addressing one of its key priorities—retention and graduation.   “With Bronco STAR we are pleased to have expanded FSU’s institutional capacity and leadership to students who learn differently and whose talent, skills, and unique perspectives are critically needed in our state and our world,” he said. 

Applications for the program are open to all students. Participants are identified from two primary populations: traditional college students who are in their late teens and recent high school graduates and transfer students who often are older, more experienced and have significant life experience.  

Student support available through Bronco STAR includes dedicated study space, tutoring services, success coaches, psychosocial services, high impact practices, and personalized academic success plans. Assistive technology is another essential feature of Bronco STAR.

The faculty component of Bronco STAR is designed to infuse the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) throughout a variety of educational environments.   Fayetteville State provides a range of professional development opportunities for faculty and staff and supporting learning communities focused on the implementation and evaluation of instructional approaches that align with UDL.    

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent self-funding 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting activities that help meet the educational and health needs of today's society and future generations. Since its creation in 1986, the Foundation has granted over $61 million to support North Carolina projects and programs that emphasize the understanding and application of health, science and education at all academic and professional levels. Visit the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation at NCGSKFoundation.org and follow it @ncgskfound.

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