CHAPEL HILL, NC – UNC System President Margaret Spellings today announced the launch of the Student Success Innovation Lab, a newly created initiative that will help fund and evaluate cost-effective innovations that drive improvements in student success.

“We know it’s not enough to get students into school. This initiative will leverage our System platform for research and development on student success,” said President Spellings. “By supporting promising initiatives at our campuses, and funding researchers across UNC System institutions to rigorously evaluate those projects, the Student Success Innovation Lab will help us identify what works to raise completion rates and take those ideas to scale.”

The Lab will link two key assets: student success initiatives developed and implemented by institutions and faculty with expertise in program evaluation. As a result of the Student Success Innovation Lab, the UNC System will be able to develop rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of student success interventions, increase collaboration and communication across institutions, and assemble the data necessary to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars.

On Friday, faculty and leaders from across the System gathered to talk through the structure and design of the Lab, which will be launched with funds generously provided by just over $3 million from the ECMC Foundation and the John M. Belk Endowment. A larger convening and a request for proposals will follow later this year.

“Higher education is built around the idea that evaluation, inquiry, and data-driven debate advance society,” added President Spellings. “We must apply that same level of rigor to our own operation, using data and research to guide how we teach and support our students from enrollment through graduation.”