Fayetteville State University
In 2014 Fayetteville State University joined the College STAR initiative (a consortium of UNC colleges and universities that innovatively supports students with learning differences), and in 2015 the Bronco STAR program began.
Bronco Star is comprised of two major components. (A) The first component provides direct student support for students with learning differences, and (B) the second provides instructional support through targeted resources and activities for campus faculty and staff grounded in the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Together, these components were designed to strengthen FSU’s capacity to create conditions that will improve student success and address retention of students with learning differences.
Planning and Institutional Capacity
Early on, Bronco STAR core team members began communications with key campus offices, and many of these partnerships remain at the heart of Bronco STAR. For example, University College (UC) is the organizational college that houses the student support component of Bronco STAR and is the major academic department for all first year, first time students until they are admitted to a major degree program in the university. Key units within the UC that align with the mission of College STAR include: (a) the freshman center, (b) Student Support Services, and (c) the University College’s Learning Center, Math Center, and Supplemental Instruction Center.
Direct Student Support
The FSU Bronco STAR student support component focuses on students with Executive Functioning Challenges. The program offers multiple points of entry for students, making it available both to students who are able to be proactively identified upon arrival to FSU (as either traditional or transfer students) and those who find themselves facing learning challenges after a period of time on campus. Thus, Bronco STAR weaves together a network that incorporates awareness across campus about talented students who learn differently in order to find students who are a good match for the supports available. The Bronco STAR student support program is located in the Helen T. Chick building - a dedicated space in a central location on campus that is easily accessible to students both during and outside of normal business hours.
The goal of the instructional support component of Bronco STAR at FSU is to infuse the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) throughout the campus in a way that reaches a broad range of students. Early on in FSU’s involvement with College STAR, the campus Office of Faculty Development hosted a multi-campus College STAR sponsored Flipped Classroom workshop using Adobe Connect. Since then, the campus has led or engaged in a variety of professional development projects, learning communities, and module development activities. A major focus of this component of College STAR has been connecting with new faculty members about the principles of Universal Design for Learning through a seminar course that all first-year faculty members take together. Moreover, Bronco STAR “Champions” are our partners in the effort to increase transition, access, and retention in student-centered offices all across campus. A Champion’s primary role is to serve as a point of contact for our students when they need assistance and ensure that the principles of UDL are woven into campus environments beyond the classroom.
Beginning in the summer of 2016, the Bronco STAR program launched B.O.O.S.T. The B.O.O.S.T program was created for middle and high school students with learning differences in the Fayetteville community. It is designed to give students an extra boost in identifying their strengths while planning for the transition to high school and college. B.O.O.S.T. is an acronym for Bringing Out Our Students' Talents.