Researchers from Three State HBCUS Awarded UNC Undergraduate Research Grant

The University of North Carolina System Undergraduate Research Program awarded a $35,000 grant to identify strategies for enhancing the current undergraduate research enterprise to a team of researchers from three North Carolina HBCUs. The research team is comprised of lead investigator, Dr. Geleana Alston from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and co-principal investigators, Dr. Tyechia Paul of Fayetteville State University, and Dr. Erin Lynch of Winston-Salem State University.

The project, entitled “CURE-DEAL: A Tri-Institutional Collaboration for Equity-Focused Digital Engagement of Adult Learners” will utilize this grant funding to establish a consortium across the five public HBCUs in North Carolina to engage faculty in professional development activities to support and enhance practices in equity-focused digital engagement of adult learners in undergraduate research.

“According to the 2019 Fall enrollment data from the 5 HBCUs within the UNC System, approximately 20% of undergraduate students were adult learners aged 25 or older,” said Alston, an associate professor in the Department of Leadership Studies and Adult Education at North Carolina A&T. “As the first, multi-institutional team to explore the ever-growing, yet understudied, undergraduate post-traditional adult learner population at HBCUs within the UNC System, this proposed project is timely for its contribution to understanding a population believed essential to advancing the initiatives to increase undergraduate research engagement.”

Over the next year, the project team will bring awareness to faculty to enhance research skills development toward expanding access to undergraduate research opportunities. This will be done by establishing a professional learning community across the five HBCUs in the UNC System.  The training series and professional learning community check-in meetings will be fully virtual. This project commences immediately and will continue through June 2021. 

This project will advance the strategic priorities of the UNC System and Fayetteville State University. It will do so by enhancing faculty’s high impact practices of incorporating undergraduate research opportunities in courses, while also expanding equitable access and participation of the underrepresented student group of undergraduate post-traditional adult learners, to foster more inclusive and effective learning.

About Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina System and the second-oldest institution of higher education in the state, having been founded in 1867. FSU is a historically black university offering degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,700 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation. To learn more about Fayetteville State University, visit