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Academic camp expands, offers travel to Colorado and New Mexico

his summer, high school students interested in a variety of topics – from problem-solving via robotics to the communication methods of ancient civilizations – can earn college credit while experiencing life on campus at ACU’s Summer Academy.


by K At I E N O A H G I B S O N

e Summer Academy program began in 2010, with a one-week camp offering a choice of several elective courses taught by ACU faculty members, each worth 1 hour of college credit. Students stayed on campus in residence halls, getting a brief taste of the ACU experience as they attended classes, worked on projects together and ate in the World Famous Bean. is year’s Summer Academy offers a similar one-week option, with courses in digital media, entrepreneurship, debate, robot-based problem solving, cryptography, and an intensive piano course. But students also can opt for the two-week version of the Academy, which offers the opportunity to earn 4 hours of college credit and take an excursion to several UNESCO World Heritage sites in New Mexico and Colorado. “We wanted to do something different,” says Dr. Kristina (Campos ’99) Davis, assistant professor of communication and honors studies, and director of Summer Academy. “We wanted to provide continuity by offering the one-week camp again. But the two-week camp was really the result of the Honors College staff dreaming and imagining something really unique. e camp is like a shortened version of our Study America program – it’s a vastly different experience from most academic camps.” As she and the Summer Academy team surveyed summer academic camps at other institutions, “we found so many different examples of what this could look like,” Davis says. “Many camps only connect with one part of a student: the mind, the body or the soul. Some Christian academic camps were still mainly about a spiritual experience, so we didn’t want to simply duplicate that. “ACU already has Leadership Camps – a strong group of spiritual summer camps – and we wanted to focus on academics. So we looked for ways to foster a love of learning in our students. We want them to truly see what it means to be Christian scholars,” she says. During the two-week camp, students may choose one core course (for 3 hours of freshman- or sophomore-level college credit) and one elective (for 1 hour of fine arts credit). Core courses include Introduction to Human Nature (a survey of psychology with a focus on human behavior), Film and Faith (a study of recent and classic films, emphasizing the films’ theological elements and expressions of contemporary culture), and e Ethics of Jesus (a survey of the four gospels, focusing on the ministry and teachings of Jesus). e 1-credit-hour fine arts courses include introductions to digital media, on-site drawing and sketching, and black-and-white photography. “We hired some of the toughest – but most fun – professors on campus, and asked them not to go easy on these students,” Davis says. “is is their chance to see ACU at its best: ey’ll have the best faculty and the most challenging classes in a short-term experience.” After the first week of classes, students will visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Colorado and New Mexico, where they will begin to apply the skills learned in their elective AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


ACU Today Winter 2012