The NACE Career Readiness Assessment on Suitable

Learn More
Back to Case Studies
Student Engagement
Student Success

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics: Deese DART

Screenshot 2024-03-27 at 12.13.15 PM

Solutions Used


Want to learn more?

Watch The Video


At the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics (COBE) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the institution has initiated the DART program, which stands for Data, Achievement, Reflection, and Tracking. Although the program welcomes participation from all COBE students, its primary emphasis is on supporting their Black Male Student Initiative Program and first-generation students.

About the School

The Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics (COBE) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University holds the distinction of being the first named college at NC A&T, honoring esteemed alumnus Willie A. Deese (‘76). With a student body comprising 1,949 individuals, COBE boasts five dynamic departments: Accounting & Finance, Economics, Marketing, Supply Chain, and Management. Offering a diverse array of educational opportunities, COBE provides 14 majors, 5 minors, and hosts 5 graduate program degree tracks. Renowned for its academic excellence, COBE has earned prestigious accolades, including being ranked as the #1 Public HBCU in the Nation, #1 Producer of Black CPA’s, #2 Public HBCU Business College, #6 Best Business Schools for Women, and #64 Best MBA Program in the country. This remarkable standing underscores CoBE’s commitment to delivering top-tier education while fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment for its students.

Challenges before Suitable

Prior to teaming up with Suitable, COBE sought a rejuvenating change. Their aim was to adopt a novel platform that could foster greater student engagement and encourage involvement beyond traditional classroom settings. Opting not to carry over data from their prior platforms, COBE dedicated its entire focus to the innovative DART program. Before partnering with us, they mainly tracked student engagement through Qualtrics surveys and Excel spreadsheets. They wanted the ability to be able to track student engagement in real-time. They specifically sought to incorporate Suitable add-ons alongside active feed data and seamless integration with our Learning Management System (LMS). This strategic decision underscored their commitment to fully leveraging Suitable’s capabilities and maximizing the effectiveness of their student engagement initiatives.

Life with Suitable

In 2021, they initiated their program and subsequently rebranded it in January 2023, making a significant evolution to their approach. With seven distinct competency selections including Aggie Pride, Career and Professional Development, Interpersonal & Team Skills, Student Success, Business & Digital Acumen, Civic & Social Engagement, and Networking and Relationship Management, they aimed to provide a comprehensive framework for student development. Utilizing gamification features offered by Suitable and leaderboards, they strategically enhanced engagement level among participants. Their focus on intentional programming was evident, particularly with the integration of a new student orientation badge, designed to kickstart engagement early on. They directed their efforts towards catering to outstanding males in business and participants of the Bridge Leadership Academy, adapting their target population accordingly. Incorporating incentivized leaderboards and fostering corporate partnerships were key strategies to enhance program effectiveness. Ultimately, their overarching goal is to empower students to accumulate points and badges throughout their tenure at COBE, fostering holistic growth and achievement.

Screenshot 2024-03-27 at 12.13.02 PM









Screenshot 2024-03-27 at 1.31.17 PM

Outcomes Achieved

Since the inception of the program, there has been a remarkable surge in student engagement, with an impressive average of 90% in the year of 2023 alone. The competitive spirit among students was evident through their enthusiastic participation, striving to secure a position within the top five spots on the leaderboard by diligently completing various activities. Students had the opportunity to earn a range of badges, including the esteemed College Success Badge, Professional Development Badge, Exceptional Males in Business Badge, and the Bridge Leadership Academy Badge. Additionally, they introduced several time-limited badges during the fall of 2023, such as the Closing Bell Speaker series, Homecoming Safety, Ignite & Empower Symposium, Deese DART, and Aggie Pride badges.

Particularly noteworthy was the exceptional achievement within the Exceptional Males in Business Program, boasting a 100% completion rate at the Ignite and Empower Fall 2023 Symposium. Utilizing Suitable for conference check-ins, selfie uploads, and QR codes for each session enhanced the overall experience. The program offered a diverse array of events spanning multiple competencies, including those sponsored by corporations.

Integration of Suitable into freshman courses proved highly effective within the DART framework. Following the program’s relaunch, there was a concentrated effort to target specific student demographics through integration with learning management systems (LMS) and data feed systems. Spearheaded by the Student Success team, the development and implementation of new strategies during the New Student Orientation in the Summer of 2023 yielded significant positive outcomes, showcasing the program’s adaptability and commitment to fostering student success.

Plans for the Future

In the next year, DART aims to boost engagement rates to 95% among their target populations. They are actively working to enhance student awareness of the Deese DART program, recognizing the importance of ensuring students are well-informed about available resources. Additionally, DART intends to expand its reach by onboarding new COBE student organizations and clubs into the program, fostering a broader community of support within the college.

Looking ahead, DART has long-term goals focused on strengthening faculty and staff involvement in the program. By garnering increased buy-in from these key stakeholders, they aim to create a more comprehensive and supportive environment for students. Their objective is to sustain a high engagement rate of 80% across all target populations, demonstrating their commitment to fostering student success over time.

Furthermore, DART is determined to implement a university-wide Suitable Partnership initiative, fostering collaboration and synergy across the broader academic community. Through this initiative, they seek to create a seamless support network that extends beyond COBE, enhancing opportunities for student growth and achievement throughout the university.