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Get to Know ASPSA

Individualized tutoring is just one of the ways the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) helps the Wolfpack excel academically and stay on track for graduation. In fact, this unit in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs is a "one-stop shop for all things academic for student-athletes."

A group of four student-athletes outside the Everett N. Case Academic Center
A group of four student-athletes outside the Everett N. Case Academic Center (taken in 2019)

By Caleb White, DASA Marketing and Communications intern

As part of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) supports the academic, personal and professional development needs of all student-athletes at NC State. 

Each year, hundreds of student-athletes in the Wolfpack benefit from ASPSA’s tutoring services, thanks to the efforts of professional staff as well as students who serve as tutors and mentors. However, tutoring is just one of many ways ASPSA helps student-athletes excel academically and stay on track for graduation.

We spoke with Lauren Nogle, learning specialist for ASPSA, to get a feel for the program and learn how students can get involved:

Tell us about ASPSA and its role at NC State?

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) supports the recruitment, retention and graduation of NC State student-athletes by providing a comprehensive support system that affords student-athletes equitable opportunity to pursue academic, personal and professional development while strongly adhering to the principles of integrity, excellence and lifelong learning. Our staff consists of 10 academic coordinators, two assistant academic coordinators, three learning specialists, two support staffers, one tutorial coordinator, one eligibility coordinator and 120-plus part-time academic support staff who serve as tutors and mentors.

How does ASPSA help students (specifically student-athletes) reach their goals?

ASPSA helps student-athletes reach their goals by providing individualized and targeted support that they need to be successful at NC State. We work with a diverse student population, so that might look different for each student. Some students need a learning specialist, content tutor or academic mentor to make sure they have the skills to be successful in the classroom, while other students might need weekly support from their advisor to keep them on track toward graduation and be eligible to participate in their sport. We provide opportunities for students to get involved in other academic experiences like undergraduate research or study abroad; provide information and support for students eligible for campus, conference and national awards; and we work with all colleges on campus to support students in a variety of majors. Overall, we’re here to help student-athletes make the most of their academic experience at NC State.

How have student-athletes adjusted academically, during COVID-19? What effect has it had on them?

Overall, we have been really impressed by the way our students have responded to the academic challenges presented by COVID. A lot of student-athletes quickly learned how to use new programs and communicate in new ways. They dealt with technology issues, spotty wifi and having to leave their friends and teams all of a sudden last March. It was tough! I think the biggest challenge has been for the incoming first-years, though. It’s really hard to make friends, find supportive classmates and get to know your instructors when everything is online. I think we’re all looking forward to the day when our building is bustling with students again!

What is something that students might not know or realize about ASPSA and the services it offers at NC State?

Many students might just see us as a tutoring center for athletes. While individualized academic support is an important service we provide for our students, our office does so much more than that! Advising, workshops, connecting students to campus partners, and helping student-athletes find challenging and interesting academic experiences are all part of the services we provide. Our advisors work with all of the colleges on campus, international student services, compliance and their teams to make sure students meet eligibility benchmarks and are on the right track towards graduation. We’re really a one-stop-shop for all things academic for student-athletes! 

What does tutoring entail? 

Tutoring entails working with a student in a particular course to help the student gain the skills necessary and knowledge to be successful in the course. Tutors work with students in one-on-one and small group sessions. Sessions are typically one hour in length, and students and tutors are engaged in the course material and discussions the entire time.

What does academic mentoring entail?

ASPSA employs approximately 15 part-time mentors who work with over 80 student-athletes. Mentors meet regularly with student-athletes to assist with the development of time management skills, organization and learning techniques. 

How can students apply to become a tutor or mentor? 

Students can apply and learn more about our tutoring and mentoring positions on our employment website

When are the next applications due? 

We take applications on a rolling basis. We will begin reviewing applications for the summer and fall tutoring positions in April!

How have tutoring and mentoring changed since COVID-19? 

Since COVID we have moved our tutoring and mentoring sessions to Zoom. Session expectations and structure are the same, but just performed in the Zoom format! 

How has your part-time staff adapted?

Our part-time staff has adapted extremely well. They’ve provided productive feedback and insight to support student-athletes in the Zoom format. We are so appreciative of our tutors and mentors who continue to embrace change while supporting our students at the highest level.