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
Alumni magazine for Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas