Generously funded by Mickey and Debbie Stern, the Stern Tutoring and Alternative Techniques for Education (STATE) endowment began providing innovative and important assistance for MSU students with learning disabilities in the spring of 2004. The program provides a structured environment, effective learning strategies, academic tutoring, and other academic support.  STATE provides disability-specific instructional, tutorial, and peer mentoring components as well as strategies for academic success. 

Seminar (Constructing Success: Foundations and Bridges)

The heart of the STATE Program is an instructional seminar on successful learning strategies and harnessing support services for lifelong impact. STATE participants develop awareness, acceptance, critical thinking skills, and positive study habits necessary for academic excellence. Dynamic MSU academic specialists facilitate a personalized experience that fosters growth and achievement of goals. Regular meetings with program staff occur throughout the semester, creating opportunities to evaluate the efficacy of new academic techniques and to integrate all components of the program.


Another important piece of the STATE Program offers students individual tutoring in the course he or she identifies as the most challenging. Students are also empowered to meet with their professors directly.  

Peer Mentoring

The STATE Program also includes peer mentoring. Each STATE participant is grouped into a team which is supported by each of the peer mentors. These mentors are students registered with RCPD who demonstrate academic success despite having a learning disability. Mentors attend each session of the seminar and are available to the STATE participants throughout the semester. This relationship assists in adapting and implementing seminar ideas to fit individual needs and experiences. Peer mentors are trained to build on students' knowledge while introducing new resources. STATE Program students may later become peer mentors, an experience that will further develop leadership skills.

Assistive Technology

Program participants are introduced to various assistive technologies, such as Kurzweil 3000, Dragon Dictate, and electronic books. Individual assessments for appropriate assistive technologies are available through the Assistive Technology Specialist or the Assistive Technology Trainer. Students receive instruction in the use and application of assistive technologies that improve reading and writing performance.

The STATE program expands study strategies to facilitate academic success at the collegiate level. Students also learn behaviors and attitudes which further educational and life goals. Participants are registered with a documented learning disability, have struggled academically, and display strong motivation to improve their academic achievement by adopting new techniques. Each semester 15-20 students are accepted and participants attend weekly seminar and mentor meetings. Additional expectations for STATE participants include utilizing all appropriate support resources available and applying the principles and strategies suggested to their own learning. For more information, contact your Ability Access Specialist.

STATE Program in Action

The STATE Program oral history clip presentation demonstrates the work the program achieves through the words of actual instructors, mentors and participants.

This donor-supported program provides awareness and expanded opportunity for persons with disabilities. You can help support this initiative or find out more about other RCPD programs and giving opportunities by visiting the Make a Gift page.