High school students who want to explore architecture can start building a solid foundation through the School of Architecture's summer college program. The hands-on experience introduces a select group of high school juniors and seniors to the rigors of the discipline. "We give students an opportunity to produce a body of work as the basis for their college application portfolio," says Richard Jensen, director of the program.
                                 peter finger
Summer college introduces high school students to campus life and studies.

      The six-week program, offered each summer for nearly two decades, is designed to introduce prospective students to the SU architecture curriculum and give them a taste of campus life, says John Fiset, director of Syracuse University's Summer College programs. "These students actually are starting their college careers early," he says. "They earn six college credits for completing the program. They live in University residence halls and eat together in campus dining centers. In many ways, the experience mirrors that of an SU student's first year."
      Between 25 and 30 students—recruited from among 30 states and 16 European countries—participate in the program, which has admissions criteria as selective as the school's. "Basically, we look at the same things in a potential student as the admissions office does," Fiset says.
      Participants, who meet in the Slocum Hall design studios four times a week, are taught basic concepts and design principles by architecture faculty, and are assigned studio space to work on projects. In addition, faculty-led field trips and lectures by architecture alumni give participants firsthand experiences that help them decide if they want to pursue the study of architecture. "The program's primary goal is to introduce architecture education and practice to high school students to help them make an informed life decision," Jensen says.
      About 25 percent of participants are accepted for admission into the school's undergraduate program, Fiset says. "Many of the students are already interested in SU's architecture program, so it's not like the summer program is a hard-sell recruitment tool," he says. "But the program does help the University identify talented students."
      Bruce Abbey, dean of the School of Architecture, says the program has introduced many topflight students to the school. The idea is to interest them in coming back in another year or two as SU students and logging many more hours in the design labs of Slocum Hall. "We hope to recruit the best students for Syracuse," he says. "The program has proven to be an excellent feeder system for us."
      The students' dedication is inspiring, Jensen says. "For me, the program's most rewarding aspect is working with these students, seeing their genuine interest in architecture and willingness to work and study so hard during the summer."
                                                  —TAMMY DIDOMENICO



For College of Arts and Sciences students, innovative learning opportunities abound. Thanks to a new college initiative, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Innovative Learning (CURIL), students can explore a variety of research and learning options in one place. "The center provides a way to organize, facilitate, and combine these activities," says Assistant Dean Richard Pilgrim, CURIL director.
      Students will be officially introduced to CURIL this fall. Initiatives now under way are the Undergraduate Research Program, the Soling Program, the Ruth Meyer Undergraduate Research Scholar Program, and the Allport Center Scholars Program. CURIL will also support various departmental research and innovative learning programs, and certain projects submitted by faculty and students. In addition, the program will serve as a catalyst for collaborative projects between arts and sciences students and those in other schools and colleges."
      CURIL makes more obvious to students the different opportunities available to them," says biology professor Larry Wolf, a CURIL advisory board member.
      Wolf notes, for example, that the biology department has traditionally encouraged undergraduates to become involved with research projects. Through CURIL, biology students have opportunities to become involved with community-based learning projects that could challenge them in ways the laboratory would not.

                         mike prinzo

      Pilgrim says CURIL also embraces students with majors that aren't research-oriented. "The stereotypical understanding of research is not what we are about," he says. "CURIL includes original research, but it also is about understanding the many kinds of hands-on, experiential learning opportunities available to our students."
      The CURIL Advisory Board is composed of faculty and staff members from various college departments and University programs.
      Pilgrim hopes that by presenting the different programs as a cohesive package, innovative learning activities like the Mock Trial Program will be revived. The school did not support a mock trial team last year, but Pilgrim is confident a new team will be formed this fall.
      In addition, CURIL will serve as a centralized funding agency for many of the college's non-classroom activities, providing an attractive option for the college's donors. "With CURIL, we can help donors coordinate their giving," Pilgrim says.
      Faculty members have already begun to think about opportunities presented by the center. "We made a significant beginning," Pilgrim says, "and I think CURIL will eventually become a signature of the College of Arts and Sciences."

For more information on the Undergraduate Research Program contact Eric Holzworth at 315-443-7192 or e-mail him at

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