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Spartan Innovation Academy


Norfolk State University Announces Spartan Innovation Academy Program University to Every Student and Faculty Member with Apple Devices

Norfolk State University (NSU) will launch the Spartan Innovation Academy program this fall, a new initiative that will provide students, faculty, and staff with access to industry-leading technology and specialized training for app development.  NSU will be the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to facilitate a campus-wide deployment of these Apple products to all students and faculty in a first-year program such as this one.

apple ipad photoNSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston announced this week that every incoming and returning student will be provided an iPad Pro with ultra-fast 5G speeds to access their studies on and off campus, as well as Apple Pencil, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, and AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation, enabling students to access all aspects of the NSU academic enterprise and digitally engage with faculty, peers, administrators, and NSU learning platforms from any location. NSU, the largest HBCU in Virginia, will distribute more than 6,000 Apple products to students, faculty and select staff members during the Fall 2021 semester. Students will be able to keep the devices throughout their enrollment at the university and upon graduation, can purchase the device for a nominal fee of $1 dollar. The devices will be provided to faculty and staff at no cost.

The Spartan Innovation Academy program builds on NSU’s participation as a community coding center through HBCU C2, an Apple-supported initiative focused on coding and creativity. NSU has utilized learning outcomes from the 2020 program to create the new initiative.

“The Spartan Innovation Academy program is all about giving students the tools they need to be successful in and outside of the classroom,” Adams-Gaston said. “The University is committed to access and affordability for all students. We know that providing access to powerful tools for learning will help ensure that our students will have a successful academic career while reducing the cost of obtaining a degree. 

“Moreover, we know that the creativity of our students is endless. I am excited about the possibilities for coding and app development, with the help of our amazing faculty, that will be beneficial for the entire Spartan community.” 

Adams-Gaston also said the devices will give students the opportunity to unleash their creativity, download digital textbooks and cut down on overall back-to-school expenses.  

“This tremendous collaboration is all about investing in students at Norfolk State, one of Virginia’s leading universities,” said Governor Ralph S. Northam. “Apple’s work with Norfolk State will give students the physical tools they need to compete now---and the never-ending gift of confidence that come with knowing they deserve a chance to succeed. The Spartan Innovation Academy Program demonstrates the tremendous value, diversity, and opportunity that these students bring to the Commonwealth.” 

“At Apple, we believe that education is a powerful force for equity and opportunity, and that technology can empower all students to be creative and collaborative as they look ahead to their future careers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple's Vice President of Education and Enterprise Marketing. “By providing every Spartan student and faculty equal access to our innovative products, Norfolk State is taking a bold step forward, and we can’t wait to see what the University community will accomplish.”

“The Board of Visitors is excited to support President Adams-Gaston with this game changing initiative,” said Norfolk State Board of Visitors Rector Devon Henry. The collaboration between Apple and Norfolk State, along with the support of the Commonwealth leadership allows the University to make significant strides in minimizing the digital divide within our student population and surrounding communities. NSU will lead the way, with not only a culture of care, but also with a culture of connectivity.” 

“Every student deserves the opportunity to use high quality tools that maximize learning opportunities and increase technological competencies,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Apple’s collaboration with Norfolk State shows how public-private partnerships can uplift and energize a generation of students by providing enhanced learning experiences and equipping graduates with skills critical for success in the 21st century workforce.”

“We are grateful that Apple is making an incredible investment in Norfolk State University that will also lead the way towards achievement for our students attending Norfolk Public Schools. From Pre-K to university, Norfolk ‘believes in learning’ and we congratulate NSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston for her leadership in developing this innovative, collaborative effort to connect our students with resources that will help them thrive,” said Mayor of Norfolk, Kenneth Cooper Alexander.

As part of the initiative, Norfolk State will utilize a full-time Apple Professional Learning Specialist, engineering services, and project management. The university will also provide MacBook Pro notebooks to students based on their majors or courses in addition to iMac desktop computers that will be in an innovation design lab for students to learn coding and app development using Apple’s curriculum and Swift, the powerful and intuitive open-source programming language. Additionally, the University will partner with K-12 systems in the region and leverage this program to create academic and professional development opportunities for NSU students and K-12 students.

Spartan Innovation Academy Frequently Asked Questions