UNT welcomed about 150 high school students from throughout Texas June 10, during a convocation ceremony for the opening of the Texas Governor's School.
Special guests included Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and Evelyn Levsky Hiatt, a senior director in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Division of Participation and Success. Hiatt directs the division's P-16 College Readiness and Success Strategic Action Plan, which formulates integrated systems of education spanning preschool (P) through senior year of a four-year undergraduate degree (grade 16).
Funded by the Texas Legislature and free to selected students, the Texas Governor's School at UNT has a theme of "The Future of Science and Technology in Our World."
Students will live in Bruce Hall during the three-week program and take courses to further develop their abilities in science and technology and explore the impact of these fields on past, current and future societies. The courses will be taught by both UNT faculty and public school teachers.
Governor's Schools began in 1963 in response to widespread concern about the level of support in American society for educational excellence necessary to maintain the United States as a leader in producing professionals skilled in science, technology, humanities and the arts. The first Governor's School was established in North Carolina. Today, the programs are offered in 22 states.
Although Texas has offered a summer Governor's School in leadership for 18 years at Lamar University, the Texas Governor's School at UNT is the first program in the sciences.
Rick Reidy, associate professor of materials science and engineering and the school's director, says its curriculum is designed to give the students, who will all be sophomores this fall, a broad look at science and technology.
"We're not simply trying to create better scientists, but better people," he says. "I want the students to look past particular topic areas and leave here with the ability to look at the world a little bit differently after hearing others' viewpoints and discussing new scientific concepts."
The students are in class between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with optional research Saturday mornings. Classes include:
- What's in a Cell? Biological and Medical Science in the 21st Century
- Macro and Nano Technologies
- Chemistry in Everyday Life
- To Infinity and Beyond!
- Mathematics is Cool Because...
- The Impact of Jazz and Technology
- Philosophy, Ethics, Science, Technology and Society, also known as PESTS,
- Preparing for College
- Life Directions or Developing Writing Skills.
In the writing course, students will be taught by up to six instructors and work on different writing techniques, including technical writing and essay writing for college applications. In addition, they will learn how to do research in a university library.
Life Directions will provide an interactive program to help the students think about their future life goals. In the college preparation class, students will examine academic goals and create a plan for their remaining high school and college years.
No grades will be assigned, but Reidy says the amount of work - including writing assignments and Internet research - "will keep them busy."
After class and on weekends, students will have social events and field trips, some with a theme. Some activities will be planned by students through their houses - groups of 30 students that will develop their own group identity in a system similar to the houses at Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The houses also will have friendly competitions.
The Texas Governor's School houses will be led by UNT students acting as mentors. Each house will include five small discussion groups of 10 students each and five resident assistants for Bruce Hall. Because students will be encouraged to be involved in activities, they may leave the UNT campus only between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays, and parents cannot enter rooms in Bruce Hall, Reidy says.
"It's been fun to create," says Reidy, who attended a National Science Foundation-sponsored summer program as a high school junior, and says the program led to him become a scientist. "Our goal is to give them an enrichment program that they can use to decide on a career, and to learn more about themselves."
UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509