Research Study Conducted by Southeast’s Dr. Carolyn Sundy Receives National Attention | SKCTC

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Research Study Conducted by Southeast’s Dr. Carolyn Sundy Receives National Attention

Cumberland, KY – A research study conducted by Dr. Carolyn Sundy, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, will be included in the What Works Clearinghouse, created by the U.S. Department of Education to provide evidence-based best practices to policymakers, researchers, and educators in order to improve student outcomes on a large scale.

The Clearinghouse helps the education community locate and recognize credible and reliable evidence to assist in making informed decisions. To be selected, research studies must meet rigorous design standards. 

“I’m very humbled and appreciative to have my work included among the nation’s best practices in higher education,” said Sundy, who compared the academic performance of students in the college’s Academic Advantage program, located on the Cumberland and Harlan campuses, with that of similar students at Southeast not enrolled in the program.  Dr. Sundy helped to develop and oversee the program for several years. 

Academic Advantage provides intensive support services such as advising, coaching, tutoring, and financial assistance, to help students complete an associate degree before transferring to a four-year institution.  Dr. Sundy’s study found that the program boasts better than average success rates.  Participants were nearly three times more likely to graduate and four times more likely to transfer than community college students who did not participate in the program.

Dalissa Noe, a former program participant and current senior at Lincoln Memorial University, said of the program, “I was given a wonderful advisor that helped me through the ins and outs of being a first generation college student. I had opportunities that helped me to further my knowledge, find my career path, and become an outstanding leader.  The program helped me to become the student and person that I am today. I am forever grateful.”

Southeast President Vic Adams noted that the percentage of research included in the What Works Clearinghouse is extremely small, showing that Dr. Sundy conducted valuable research that highlights a successful program.

“Academic Advantage serves as a model for providing needed services to students—not just at Southeast but around the nation,” said Dr. Adams. “I am proud that we have quality educators like Dr. Sundy who make programs like this available to our students.”

For information on the program, contact Dr. Deborah Hodge, Academic Advantage Program Director, at or 606-589-3063.


A portrait of Dr. Carolyn Sundy(Dr. Carolyn Sundy, VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Southeast, received national attention for her research study of educational best practices.)