STATE Program

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 offers a structured environment, effective learning strategies, academic tutoring and other forms of academic support. Beyond traditional accommodation concepts, STATE provides new disability-specific instructional, tutorial and peer-mentoring components.

STATE Program Components:

  1. 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 life long impact. A dynamic MSU faculty member leads 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.
  2. Tutoring: 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. STATE students who struggle in math receive enhanced opportunities through math enrichment course sections.
  3. Peer Mentors: Each program participant is paired with a peer mentor who demonstrates academic success, despite having a learning disability. Mentors meet with their proteges on a regular basis throughout the semester. This relationship assists in adapting and implementing seminar ideas to fit individual needs and experiences. Students develop awareness, acceptance, critical thinking skills and positive study habits necessary for academic excellence. Peer mentors are trained to build on the students' exiting knowledge while introducing new resources. STATE Program students may later become peer mentors, an experience that will further develop leadership skills.
  4. Assistive Technology: Program participants are introduced to various assistive technologies, such as Kurzweil 3000, AlphaSmart, Dragon Dictate, electronic books and electronic spellers. 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 participants' study strategies to facilitate academic success at the collegiate level. Students also learn behaviors and attitudes which further educational and life goals. Generally participants have earned a CGPA of less than 3.0, are registered with a documented learning disability and display strong motivation to improve their academic achievement by adopting new techniques. About 15-20 students are accepted per semester, and participants are expected to attend the 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

  • Read this feature article about the STATE Program on page two of the University Advancement magazine Developments 
  • The STATE Program oral history clip presentation demonstrates the work the program achieves through the words of actual instructors, mentors and participants.

Make a gift to the Stern Tutoring and Alternative Techniques for Education (STATE) Program.

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 Financial Contributions page.

STATE Program in the News:

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Elaine High: Reflecting on a 23-year Legacy

As she finishes her 23rd year, Elaine High’s retirement from the RCPD marks a joyous celebration of a devoted and gifted specialist.

STATE Program Featured on University Advancement's Magazine

MSU's University Advancement office took an opportunity to feature the STATE program in their magazine, Developments.

Tagget Fellows Explore Ability to Fit their Passions

Two RCPD students are following their passions and interests through their dedication to service and helping others as Tagget Fellows. Read about what they have done so far and their plans for the rest of the semester!

Passing the Torch: Vision for Learning Disabilities Remains Strong

After nine years facilitating the STATE Program’s weekly seminars, Dr. Tim Goth-Owens has retired, leaving two familiar faces to design a new chapter.