N.C. A&T Leverages Technology During COVID-19

By Jamie Crockett / 04/15/2020 Admissions, Student Affairs, Students

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 15, 2020) – In the wake of COVID-19, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has shifted more than classes to the digital space. For the last month, university constituents have found applications like Zoom to be helpful for everything for information sessions to mental health support to additional learning opportunities.

Virtual Town Hall

On March 17, Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. joined other university leaders in a virtual town hall aired on Facebook Live and Periscope to address concerns in an unscripted forum. Members of the campus community submitted questions prior to and during the broadcast, which Martin read on camera and directed to the appropriate leader to answer. N.C. A&T was the first university in the UNC System to host a virtual town hall.

“The town hall served as a good example of how we are transparent with our students and employees,” said Todd Simmons, associate vice chancellor for University Relations.

Mental Health Support

Transitions can be overwhelming for anyone, especially if they are unexpected. The rapid response to the pandemic in every facet of life can be more than challenging for students. During a time of heightened uncertainty, fear and social distancing, it is important to stay grounded and connected. Counseling Services has shifted to a “telemental health” approach for Aggies near and far. 

“Some students are calling with concerns about their parents’ unemployment, about the challenges of balancing schoolwork and other responsibilities now that many have returned home and are looking for ways to connect with our counselors,” said Vivian Barnette, Ph.D., executive director of Counseling Services. 

Barnette and her team are scheduling virtual consultations for students and providing them with local and national resources. They also share tips on mindfulness and other actions students can do on their own to help manage stress.

Additionally, students are able to connect to various peer groups through Zoom, with topics including conflict management and resolution, friendship maintenance and weekly check-ins. 

The Counseling Services team understands if students are better equipped to cope with issues outside the classroom, they can focus on engaged learning. 

Online Learning Opportunities

In addition to transitioning all coursework online, N.C. A&T hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to providing various learning opportunities for students and faculty.

For example, the College of Engineering will virtually host its Freshman Innovation Challenge, Senior Design Expo and graduate poster presentations. Several groups across campus, including the Center of Excellence, will continue presenting virtual seminars to engage the community in specific topics of interest.  

“Offering virtual seminars provides an outlet for discussions and connecting with the community to alleviate a sense of isolation,” said Salil Desai, Ph.D., interim co-director of the Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing. “It also spurs new ideas and thoughts to pursue novel research and education directions.”

On April 16, Centers of Excellence scholars Sandra K. Johnson, Ph.D., and Steven D. Cook will discuss how blockchain technology can be leveraged across multiple disciplines to develop innovative solutions. 

Career and Professional Development

The Office of Career Services has committed to hosting all appointments and drop-in hours virtually to ensure students are prepared to navigate post-graduation planning. During these appointments, students can receive feedback on cover letters and resumes, LinkedIn critiques, job search strategies and interviewing tips. Students can also access Aggielink to view and apply for fellowships, internships, part- and full-time employment opportunities.

The Career Services also team partners with employers to ensure students are aware of virtual internship and career fairs, workshops and interviews. On April 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosted a virtual fair inviting students to connect with multiple agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with human resources representatives and recent interns and learned about career pathways programs. 


As seniors prepare to transition to the workforce or graduate school, the Office of Admissions is leveraging technology to introduce future students to campus. Families can schedule a virtual campus visit by signing up for the Aggieland Online experience, which is offered three times a week. Admissions staff presents information on academic and athletic programs, the admissions process and financial aid assistance. These virtual tours also provide opportunities for families to speak with Aggie Ambassadors for a student perspective. 

Additionally, the Office of Admissions has launched “Aggie the Web Bot” on its homepage to help answer admissions questions around the clock and will offer an interactive Transfer Open House on June 3. 





Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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