Program Structure and Features
Summer Momentum combines two 4-credit courses, a variety of academic support and a residential living-learning community in order to achieve its mission. Evening events designed around academic and social development are conjoined with numerous one-on-one advising meetings aimed at helping that student select a college major and think through his/her career goals.
IH-COMM 199: Self-Development and Decision Making:This 4-credit common course, which will count towards the students general education credits, provides the student with an academic, social and personal understanding of key concepts and issues we find in our social lives. We will be looking at the concepts of duty and obligation, happiness and justice, individual freedom, the nature of the self, as well as power and choice. This is an immersive course in which our time together will be spent doing daily course work as well as evening activities, which include conversational dinners and film analyses on certain evenings. The content of the course focuses on experiences from our everyday lives, and our aim is to critically understand the course material and how the processes of decision making relates to us and to the world at large. Assignments for this course will help the student relate the material to his or her life in very specific ways.
i. Cohorts: At the beginning of the program, each student will be assigned to a small group, or cohort. These small groups will work together with a student mentor through specific assignments, academic competitions and various dinners/discussions throughout the program. Cohorts are utilized in order to make the program more effective as well as help develop the key skills needed for success during the summer session
ii. Ropes Course: During the first weekend of our session, our group will travel to a local summer camp for a evening campfire for further in-depth introductions to one another, followed by a full day of ropes course interaction designed to build group moral and trust within individual cohorts. Cohorts will work together to solve a variety of mental and physical puzzles that highlight the need for critical thinking as well as working together to overcome obstacles.
iii. Volunteering. “Enter to Learn, Go Forth To Serve.” The quote that welcomes individuals on to our campus reminds us that we are part of a larger social whole. On two occasions during the eight-week program, students will engage in volunteering activities with local service providers. As part of the course curriculum, students are encouraged, through face-to-face interaction and the serving of hot meals to those in need, to develop a connection with their larger community here in Keene.
iv. Journaling.A reading journal will be used each day, in which the student will be given specific prompts over the course material which allow him/her to reflect on the conceptual content of the course as well as relate that content back to his/her own decision making and future aspirations. Giving students a chance to write out and articulate their responses to questions of significance (“Do you believe your life experiences inform your moral decisions?; “What is self-realization? When is the last time it happened to you?”, etc.) allows them to think critically about their own decision making, as well as take responsibility for it in a social, classroom setting.
v. Critical Reading Assignments. These have been constructed in order to learn the skills necessary for absorbing the assigned reading material as well as for learning how to process, apply and, at times, take a position on our readings. By providing activities that encourage thoughtful, conceptual analyses of academic materials, students can begin to create positive reading techniques necessary for learning at a higher level.
vi. Film Analyses. These have been integrated into the curriculum of the common course in order to broaden the spectrum of when/how students apply their academic skill set. Key ethical problems are raised in the films chosen for this course, and the questions these analyses pose will help change the viewing of a movie from a passive, entertaining experience to an active, critically useful one.
vii. Quizzes.Two quizzes are given that will cover the core course material, ensuring that a retention of conceptual understanding is accomplished throughout the summer session. Review sessions will be provided prior to each quiz to ensure proper preparation for success.
viii. Dinners and Discussions. On several occasions, the class will dine together while opening up conversation about topics related to the course material. These dinners will also take place at times within individual cohorts. These dinners take a more relaxed approach to the material in the course and are used to explore the variety of applications it may have in student’s everyday lives. Given that the program is a living-learning community, events that highlight fellowship and group interaction are crucial in establishing its success.
Elective Course.Each student will choose a 4 credit Elective course with the assistance of academic advising. This course will allow the student to choose a course for a variety of purposes: raising one’s GPA through retaking and succeeding in a specific course, which utilizes Keene State Colleges “forgiveness clause”; meeting a course prerequisite which is in line with achieving full standing in one’s chosen major; taking an introductory course in one’s major area of interest. By having these two courses coincide, students will be learning both core curricular skills while also applying them towards their major area of interest.