East Carolina University: Walter & Marie Williams STEPP Program

Mission Statement

The STEPP (Supporting Transition and Education through Planning and Partnership) Program's mission is to provide students with learning disabilities who aspire to achieve a college education and who demonstrate the potential for postsecondary success with access and comprehensive support throughout the university experience. By partnering with these students, their families, and a variety of educational communities, the STEPP Program fosters a network of opportunities and resources to empower and support students from admission to graduation from East Carolina University. By providing access to college for a bright group of students, designing an integrated and collaborative system of support on a public university campus, researching short-term and long-term outcomes, and partnering with a continuum of educational settings based on what we learn, STEPP will achieve the ultimate goal of the program - to open the door to a college education for students with learning disabilities here and at other universities.

Program Description

Program Overview

Incoming Transition Support

  • Monthly transition newsletters provide guided preparation in key areas of college readiness
  • Individualized consultation offers targeted support to students, families, and schools as needed
  • Boot Camp jump-starts the college experience for first-year students and parents with an intensive introduction to ECU held the week before the fall semester begins

Ongoing Services and Requirements during the College Years

  • Parallel curriculum, taken in seminar-style classes in addition to ECU's academic requirements, develop skills and habits essential to academic success
  • Required study hall hours enable each student to create a structured schedule with ample time devoted to academics within a resource-rich supervised environment conducive to effective studying
  • Mentoring by ECU graduate students offers support and guidance as first-year students implement new skills and access campus resources
  • Tutoring provides assistance in selected subjects during study hall hours
  • Assistive technology resources and support enhance learning routines
  • Ongoing advising (including goal setting, grade reporting, and consultation) assists students in tracking their academic progress; a dual-advising model partners STEPP with advisors in each student's major
  • Campus Living connections include placement within a designated residence hall for all first-year students
  • Guidance in accessing Disability Support Services and other campus resources foster establishing and managing connections with the range of ECU support resources

Outgoing Transition Activities and Support

  • Development of a professional portfolio that identifies critical competencies within each student's field of study and showcases his/her accomplishments 
  • Individualized support in the transition from college to career includes foci on activities such as finding and preparing for an internship, studying for the GRE, submitting graduate school applications, resume-building, etc.

Description of Services

The STEPP Program offers comprehensive academic, social, and life-skills support to a select number of students with identified Specific Learning Disabilities who have shown the potential to succeed at ECU. Funded primarily with private gifts, this program provides a unique opportunity to a population that traditionally may not have access to college.

Target Population

  • Specified Learning Difference

Contact Information

Sarah Williams, Director

Adam Denney, Senior Associate Director for Program Services

Emily Johnson, Associate Director for Transition Support

Alysha Gray, Instructional Specialist & Academic Advisor

STEPP Program
Joyner Library 1000 East Fifth st. mail stop 516
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858


Program at a glance

How many students are enrolled in this program? 50-99

What are the annual costs for a student to attend this program? $0

Is this program public? Yes

Is this program fee-based? No

how large is the instition associated with this program? 25,000-49,999

What type of institution is associated with this program? University