Conversation Starter 4 – UIS Exploration Academy


The primary function of the UIS Exploration Academy (UISEA) is to serve as a summer academic enrichment program designed and offered by academic departments and programs at UIS for either elementary, middle-school, or high-school aged students as a vehicle for enhancing their knowledge, skills, and competencies in select areas of academic engagement through the use of active and high impact teaching and learning methods.

Secondary goals of the UISEA include:

  • providing meaningful learning experiences for children and youth both locally and regionally that is not available in their home communities at a time when campus facilities are less utilized;
  • establishing a visible and reputational presence in the community, region, and state as a leader in active academic engagement that creates increased interest in UIS as a destination of choice by students and families residing in Illinois;
  • providing an academic opportunity bridge for all students (both the well-served and the under-served) as an affirmation of our commitment to educational equity and inclusion.

The proposed programs should be designed to provide students with a meaningful learning experience that is based on active, experiential, high impact teaching practices.

The topics proposed should be developed to appeal to the interests of the targeted age group, should be developmentally appropriate in terms of expectations and pedagogy, and should have the potential for generating sustainable summer enrollments over time.

Examples might include robotics, forensics, field-based environmental science, performing arts, archaeology, GIS, public or regional history, behavioral neuroscience (brain and behavior), entrepreneurial studies, etc.  This is not an exhaustive list and the range of programs is limited only by the imagination of our faculty.  Interdisciplinary offerings are especially welcome.

The UIS Commitment

The Office of Academic Affairs will work with university support units to provide all local arrangements and supportive infrastructure, including:  insurance, food service, housing, space assignment, marketing and advertising, legal and HR services, and necessary business functions.  Faculty will design and deliver the selected programs, the university will provide appropriate support.

Call for Proposals

Proposals for offering a program within the UIS Exploration Academy for Summer 2019 are due to the Office of Academic Affairs ( by October 1, 2018.  All proposals will be reviewed and those to be offered will be identified by October 30, 2018.  Selection of proposals will be based on the recommendation of an ad hoc faculty committee advising the Provost (or the Provost’s designee).  It is anticipated that the strongest proposals with the greatest likelihood of attracting participants will be selected to pilot the first year of UISEA, with additional programs added in following years.

All proposals shall include:

  1. Sponsoring Department(s):
  2. Key Faculty:
  3. Statement of proposed program expected learning outcomes.
  4. Strategy for assessing identified learning outcomes.
  5. Description of pedagogy and activities and how these are related to outcomes.
  6. Intended audience (age group) with brief rationale.
    1. Number of desired participants.
  7. Proposed length and daily itinerary for the program.
    1. Engagement Academy will be held during the month of June – indicate preferred week.
    2. Programs should not exceed one week unless a strong rationale can be advanced for a longer timeframe.  Programs proposed for outside the month of June also requires supporting rationale
    3. Indicate whether there will be residential option – the default is commuters only.
  8. Estimated budget including cost for:
    1. Personnel/staffing
    2. Supplies and materials
    3. Lunch
    4. Housing (if residential)
    5. Charge for participation, including how many full ride scholarships could be provided.

9. Space needs during the entirety of the experience (classroom, labs, stage, etc).


Provost Dennis R. Papini

Read more about Conversation Starters

4.23.18; rev 8.28.18