Summer 2017 at UB: Early College Experiences, Games, Philosophy ... and Even Some Fun
June 6, 2017
Contact: Office of Government and Public Affairs
Every summer, only a few hours after Commencement has ended and the busy-ness of the spring semester is fading into memory, the University of Baltimore retools itself to become more than a home for warm-weather classes, private conferences and symposia, and art happenings. Even though the usual crowds of students dwindle and some faculty offices are dark, a whole new university is coming to life in these late May, early June days. New faces are everywhere—including many high school students—and new dreams are growing. Let's take a look at what goes on around campus in the summer—it's much more than you might think.
The most obvious change is the arrival of well over 100 high school and community college students from throughout Baltimore. With the support of the University's Early College Initiatives, these young men and women are finding out what it takes to commit themselves to a four-year education, while simultaneously strengthening their college-level reading, math, and writing abilities.
"Everything about the Summer Academy relies on relationships—with our students, community partners, public schools, and the city,” says John Brenner, program manager for the ECI in the Office of the Provost.
In only four years, the Early College movement at UB has experienced tremendous growth.
One aspect of the ECI mission is the establishment of new and stronger connections around the city in order to serve Baltimore City students.
"Our value is being communicated to partners and students in demonstrable ways: nearly all summer students are paid by YouthWorks, they receive a college credit, and all get to participate in the UB community in an authentic college experience," Brenner says. "That value is not only communicated by us, but by our city partners as well."
This starting place, combined with and the innovative ways that UB strives to serve Baltimore City students, has driven ECI's growth since the University began summer programming for high school students in 2014, more than tripling the number of summer students over the past three years.
Brenner explains that the University's network of summer partners is growing, and now includes the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of College and Career Readiness, KIPP Through College, Sister's Circle, the Urban Alliance, the Urban League, THREAD, SquashWise, Code in the Schools, Building STEPS, Next One Up, the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore, BRIDGES, and others.
"They all support city students in unique ways, and our summer programs provide the opportunity for us to work toward common goals and support each other on the UB campus," he says.
The University of Baltimore is the perfect place for this kind of interaction to take place: the campus is in the geographic heart of the city; it's a community that is strongly committed to providing college access to city students; and it has a lot to offer as an institution for higher learning.
"Students who come to us in the summer get a head start on college in general, but at UB in particular," Brenner says. "They get to know us, feel comfortable here, and see themselves as college students before they even graduate high school. That's empowering for them and for us."
So, for a significant part of the campus, the learning doesn't stop in the summer. Regular college classes also go on, over sessions of various lengths. Conferences and other gatherings take place, and, this year, UB's Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics is introducing a Philosophy Camp for students currently in grades 9-12.
One major highlight of the "conference side" of summer life at UB is Baltimore Data Day, an annual workshop hosted by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance "to help communities expand their capacity to use technology and data to advance their goals." This year, Data Day will take place on Friday, July 14.
From July 21-23, the campus transforms itself yet again, becoming a city-within-a-city during Artscape, the nation's largest free arts festival. An estimated 350,000 attend the festivities throughout midtown, with many zeroing in on UB's large-scale offering for the festival: Gamescape. This event, held both indoors and out (with Gordon Plaza at its center), is a showcase for videogames and their creators. UB's Simulation and Game Design program is a major reason why Gamescape is such a natural fit for the campus.
Of course, it wouldn't be fair to leave out all of the academic planning—course preparation, faculty hiring, strategic matters, professional development and plenty more—that happens at the University in summer. The grades are in, but the next semester is always just around the corner. Thus, the Office of Admission is especially busy these days, hosting campus visits like First Saturdays.
For the University of Baltimore campus community, summer offers a different pace and vibe, but "slower" is not the right word to describe it. Some of us might take a few days to get away to the beach or the mountains, but UB remains the place where everything's happening. Summer, spring, fall or winter, it's the hot spot.