Bronco STAR Helps Challenged Students Succeed

All college students struggle with adjusting to a new learning environment. Students with extra challenges at Fayetteville State University can now get assistance through a new program called Bronco STAR.

Bronco STAR is a support program for students with executive function challenges (EFC) and ADD/ADHD which can show up as chronic difficulties in starting projects, planning, organization and decision-making. These types of learning challenges can have long-term implications for academic and personal success. They may or may not have been identified earlier in a student’s academic career.

“The idea candidate for Bronco STAR will be someone who understands that they need support and is willing to make a commitment to the program and the resources it offers,” said Andrea P. Neal, project director for the program. Neal said 20 students are expected to be enrolled for the fall semester. There is no charge for the program. 

Bronco STAR is made possible through a grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. It is part of College STAR (Supporting Transition, Access and Retention). College STAR is a project of the University of North Carolina system designed to support students with learning differences and to disseminate best-practice teaching methods to faculty members for promoting the success of students of varied learning styles and backgrounds.

“Students with these types of challenges may or may not have been diagnosed with a learning disability in the past and we do not require that for our program,” said Dr. Beth Bir, director of the student component of Bronco STAR. “We are going to offer them a comprehensive package of services designed to assist them in getting their degree by maximizing learning opportunities and minimizing unnecessary barriers.”

Bronco STAR participants will have access to variety of services including peer learning assistants, coaching, dedicated study time and space, assistive technology, as well as specific training in writing, planning and note taking. 

Students do not have to have a diagnosis or an IEP to participate in the program, but they must be admissible to Fayetteville State. For more information, visit or call 910-672-2686.

In addition to direct student support, Bronco STAR also addresses students’ needs by helping faculty become better teachers. The faculty development program, under the direction of Dr. Emily Lenning, will share ideas based in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) through workshops as well as learning communities. 

East Carolina University and Appalachian State University are the other campus collaborators in the College STAR initiative. College STAR currently is funded by the Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland and the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. 

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent self-funding 501(c)3 nonprofit 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 and follow it @ncgskfound.