The UNC System will launch a Student Success Innovation Lab, a newly created initiative that will help fund and evaluate cost-effective innovations that drive improvements in student success.
“We know it’s not enough to get students into school. This initiative will leverage our System platform for research and development on student success,” said President Margaret Spellings. “By supporting promising initiatives at our campuses, and funding researchers across UNC System institutions to rigorously evaluate those projects, the Student Success Innovation Lab will help us identify what works to raise completion rates and take those ideas to scale.”
The Lab will link two key assets: student success initiatives developed and implemented by institutions and faculty with expertise in program evaluation. As a result of the Student Success Innovation Lab, the UNC System will be able to develop rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of student success interventions, increase collaboration and communication across institutions, and assemble the data necessary to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars.
The Lab will be launched with funds provided by just over $3 million from the ECMC Foundation and the John M. Belk Endowment.
At UNCG, the new Spartan StartUp program is funded in part by the System Student Success Innovation Lab Grant as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Spartan StartUp is a five-week, residential program limited to a select group of incoming first-time freshmen during the summer term. The students in this Frontier Set program will receive individualized academic support and advising as well as the personal attention of faculty in an intensive, yet nurturing environment. Participation in Spartan StartUp, which begins later this week, is by invitation only, and UNCG anticipates 40 students will participate this summer. They will have the opportunity to earn seven credits in a five-week period and will experience a variety of out-of-classroom activities designed to familiarize them with campus and campus services.
And it doesn’t end with the summer program. Spartan StartUp is actually a year-long transition program that begins with the five-week component in June/July, and continues throughout the academic year. The students will live with other students in the Spartan StartUp cohort, take selected General Education classes together, and participate in various co-curricular activities as a group.