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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 Website

Transition Curriculum

STEPP Program fact sheet

Contact Information

Sarah Williams, Director

Adam Denney, Senior Associate Director for Program Services

Ashley Cooper, Transition Specialist

Danielle Dietz, Instructional Specialist & Academic Advisor

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


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

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