News

University College Hosts National Conference of Summer Sessions Providers

Each year, AUSS members attending the organization's annual conference take an excursion to a local area of interest. This year, the group visited Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette, New York.
Each year, AUSS members attending the organization’s annual conference take an excursion to a local area of interest. This year, the group visited Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette, New York.

University College hosted the national Association of University Summer Sessions (AUSS) annual conference Oct. 14-16 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Since its formation in 1917 (Syracuse University is a founding member), the AUSS has served as a forum for discussing the theoretical and practical issues of summer sessions. Administrators from 40 colleges and universities across the country, and as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, attended the conference to discuss best practices and challenges, as well as brainstorm on how to manage and execute trends in summer sessions.

The round-table format allowed for informal but in-depth discussion on topics of interest and provided for professional development and growth. Topics included programming, finances and revenue sharing, online and hybrid course offerings, obstacles presented when recruiting international students and winter sessions.

Chris Cofer, executive director of Summer@Syracuse has been a member of the AUSS for 8 years. “The organization offers valuable information and perspective from my colleagues across the country,” says Cofer. “Association members who conduct research and development at their institutions are gracious in sharing what is and what is not working on their respective campuses.”

AUSS members reported the continuing trend of flat or declining on-campus undergraduate summer session enrollments, while both online and pre-college enrollments continue to rise. SU’s Summer College Program saw an increase of 41.5 percent this year: from 429 students in 2017 to 607 in 2018. Of those 2018 students, 530 hailed from 33 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while the other 77 came from 23 other countries.

A Record Season for Summer College

Summer College students explore new technologies in the MakerSpace and 3D Printing program.
Summer College students explore new
technologies in the MakerSpace and 3D
Printing program.

A wave of teenagers swept onto campus this summer, when Syracuse University Summer College for High School Students welcomed more than 600 students from 33 states and 23 foreign countries for the Summer 2018 session. The students, who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school, took part in the pre-college experience which offered more than 35 programs in 10 of Syracuse University’s schools and colleges.  Each program was two to six weeks long.

Waitlists started early for the most popular programs—Sound Engineering and Audio Production, Filmmaking, and Architecture.

Innovative new programs introduced in 2018 included Technology in Sport Management, Art & Craft of Animation, and Cybersecurity: Hack-a-thon Challenge.

Summer College students can take noncredit and credit-bearing programs, and explore areas of interest as they consider future college majors. They also learn independence and time management, as they navigate campus life and complete college-level assignments. “Summer College prepared me to enter college with confidence,” says Regan Talley, who attended Summer College in 2015 and is now a second-year student at Newhouse.

 A Summer College forensics class taught by SU professor Jim Spencer and Beth Burns.
A Summer College forensics class taught
by SU professor Jim Spencer and Beth
Burns.

Summer College leaves plenty of time for fun and socializing as well as learning. This year’s students flocked to Ernie Davis Fitness center and attended Friday Night Flicks on the Quad. There were Twilight Tours of campus and weekend field trips to Green Lakes State Park, Darien Lake Theme Park, and Niagara Falls. Students enrolled in the Team and Leadership Academy went on a white­water rafting trip in the Adirondacks.

Students who were awarded Summer College scholarships from the Charles Hayden Foundation hosted a Poster Session at Schine Student Center to display work they created in their WRT 104 class. Omar Ramirez enhanced his poster’s impact by performing a rap song he wrote about homelessness. His Summer College writing class tapped into his creative side. “My writing has improved so much,” he said. “This class has taught me to think critically and analytically.”

Joelis Paula found a community of peers at Summer College. “I was so sad to leave,” she said. “I got so close to these people.”

Summer College: An Eye-Opening Experience

Nazrun Chowdhury can’t believe that the Charles Hayden Foundation was willing to spend its money sponsoring “a kid from the Bronx.” The foundation provides grants that focus on helping youth develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in school and lay the foundation for satisfying and productive lives. This year, the foundation sponsored 20 Syracuse University Summer College students.

Chowdhury, a senior at Marble Hill School for International Studies, says this was not his first experience in a Summer College Program. “Last summer I took classes at Marist College for two weeks,” he says. “Although that was fun and challenging, it was nowhere near as rigorous and exciting as the Summer College program at Syracuse University.”

woman holding diploma
Epiphany Adams, a senior at Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City, holds a certificate of completion from the Summer College program at Syracuse University.

Epiphany Adams, a senior at Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City, holds a certificate of completion from the Summer College program at Syracuse University. The Summer College Program offers both credit and non-credit options for students to engage in rigorous college courses over a two to six-week period. The students sponsored by the Charles Hayden Foundation earned college credits during their six weeks on campus. While many of the students found the coursework demanding, they also learned the skills they need to be successful in college and in life. Chowdhury says the benefits of the Summer College program far outweighed the challenges he faced balancing homework, the rigors of schoolwork and socializing with his new friends. “The classes I took forced students to be open with their own opinions and creative minds. I was forced to listen to different perspectives—something I wasn’t normally exposed to in the Bronx,” says Chowdhury. “Listening to other people’s thoughts and experiences from around the world molded me into a more mature and critical-thinking individual.”

This year, 501 students from 35 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands—as well as 70 students representing 19 foreign countries—attended Summer College.

Epiphany Adams, a senior at Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City, agrees that the Summer College experience was more difficult than expected. She thought that taking Advanced Placement courses in high school prepared her for the coursework and academic requirements of college but soon learned that she was not as prepared as she hoped.

“My eyes were opened to the realistic rigors of college life,” she says. “The program is not an imitation of college, it is college.” When she was feeling overwhelmed, Adams took Professor Jeffery Mangram’s daily advice to heart: “just keep going.”

Adams was also concerned she wouldn’t fit in, but found that attending the program helped her become a more social person. “I was immediately accepted for who I was. I wasn’t afraid to be myself,” she adds.

“Summer at Syracuse not only opens a window of experience for rising seniors to see what college demands from you and what it takes for you to go the distance, it really opens your eyes what college life is like,” adds Chowdhury. “I was excited and humbled that the Charles Hayden Foundation gave me this opportunity. I know not everyone receives this privilege.”

After experiencing Summer College, Adams and Chowdhury returned home with an arsenal of tools to succeed in college—time management, discipline and discovering that they could be comfortable in a global culture.

“I’m so thankful for a program that helped me grow personally and academically,” says Adams. “If I could, I would rewind time and do it all over again.

501 Students Attend Syracuse University’s 2018 Summer College Program for High School Students

When Horane Daley from DeWitt Clinton High School in Bronx, New York, learned he was selected to participate in Syracuse University’s Summer College Program for High School Students, he was very grateful for the opportunity. “I was ecstatic (when I was chosen),” he says. “I was proud of myself for doing the essay and getting through the interview.”

Horane Daley

Horane Daley (center in helmet and harness) with other Summer College participants.

Daley was one of 25 students selected to attend Syracuse University through the generosity of the Price Family Foundation.

The Price Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in New York, provides funding for higher education, children’s services and hospitals. For three years, the foundation has provided opportunity to New York City students to attend the Summer College Program.

Summer College offers both credit and non-credit options for students to engage in rigorous college courses over a six-week period. While many of the students found the coursework challenging, they also learned the skills they need to be successful―managing their time, working hard, and having the discipline to follow through on assignments in a short period. This year, 501 students from 35 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands―as well as 70 students representing 19 foreign countries―attended Summer College.

Daley took part in the Team and Leadership and Launching a Business programs. The Team and Leadership Academy challenges students to safely expand their comfort zone, test their understanding of what it means to be a member of a team, and develop communication skills. “The experience has been amazing,” says Daley. “I’ve met great people and have formed bonds in a short period of time. I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime.” Daley says the high ropes course taught him how to communicate in a team setting: “I learned to be a leader.”

Isaiah Hoyte

Isaiah Hoyte

Isaiah Hoyte, from New Explorer’s High School in the Bronx, took 3D Art Studio and Computer Animation and Game Design through Summer College.

Hoyte, who plans to major in computer engineering, thoroughly enjoyed making a 3D Bluetooth device in ComArt in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “The creativity of the course allowed me to open my mind to different things,” Hoyte says. “The experience also gave me the opportunity to do a lot of networking. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’ve met some wonderful friends.”

Both students believe that being away from home will help them navigate a college campus in the future. “The experience teaches you college readiness and the maturity you need to do the work,” Hoyte says. “The opportunity given to me by the Price Family Foundation warms my heart.”