Aggie Success Academy Named Inaugural Student Success Innovation Lab Grantee

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 7, 2019) – The Aggie Success Academy at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will receive funding as an inaugural Student Success Innovation Lab (SSIL) grant competition winner.

The Aggie Success Academy will provide an immersive summer residence program that will integrate incoming first year students into the university community and prepare them for success at the college level.

Grants were awarded to six UNC System institutions in the SSIL cohort to help more students finish their degrees in a timely fashion.

Funded by the ECMC Foundation, the John M. Belk Endowment, Arnold Ventures and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the SSIL is designed to help UNC System universities develop and test new strategies for promoting student success. The grants will support innovative practices in three areas: teaching and learning, student services, and financial aid. The grants require each institution to partner with a third-party evaluator to measure and evaluate the impact of these strategies. Individual initiatives that prove successful can be scaled up at the home institution and, in some cases, expanded across the UNC System.

“Affordable tuition at our UNC System institutions gives North Carolinians the opportunity to pursue higher education. The Student Success Innovation Lab reflects the hard work we are doing to ensure that students have the support they need to seize this opportunity fully,” said UNC System Interim President William Roper. 

“Certainly, other systems have given out money to support special initiatives, but they haven’t always paid as much attention to the need for rigorous evaluation,” said UNC System Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy Andrew Kelly. “What we’re doing is unique, and it will enable the system and the state to learn more about what works to get students over the finish line and to make an evidence-based case for expansion of proven strategies.”

The other SSIL grant recipients are East Carolina University, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro and UNC Pembroke.

All six projects were developed in concert with six research affiliates — faculty from within the UNC System who were selected by the Student Success Innovation Lab on the basis of their expertise in education research. These research affiliates assisted the institutional teams in planning the projects and drafting proposals, and they will serve as the principal investigators to oversee the evaluation of the SSIL projects.

The inaugural cohort of SSIL research affiliates includes: Angela Dills, professor of economics at Western Carolina University; Nianbo Dong, associate professor of quantitative methods at UNC-Chapel Hill; Julie Edmonds, program director for secondary school reform at the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro; Dora Gicheva, associate professor of Economics at UNC Greensboro; Steven Hemelt, associate professor of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill; and Carl Westine, assistant professor of educational research at UNC Charlotte.