LAWRENCE — A new program providing a distinctive first-year experience for international students with strong English skills will help grow the international student population at the University of Kansas, which is currently more than 2,200 students from 99 countries.
The KU Academic Accelerator Program will welcome its first students in the fall 2014 semester, providing international students a new opportunity for earning a KU degree.
“International students enhance KU in so many ways, and as a major public, international research university KU has much to offer to students across the globe,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “The KU Academic Accelerator Program is a wonderful option for students who are ready for the challenge of KU but also need class time to meet English proficiency standards and acculturate themselves to the KU and Lawrence communities.”
Students who enroll in the KU Academic Accelerator Program (KUAAP) will participate in a 12-month, three-semester program consisting of 30 hours of freshman-level academic courses as well as specialized courses through KU’s nationally recognized Applied English Center. Upon successful completion of the KUAAP, students will achieve sophomore status to continue their coursework at KU.
“Our most recent incoming class of first-year students was the highest achieving, most diverse class in KU’s history, and we have the same standards for our international students,” Vitter said. “We are attracting the best and brightest across Kansas, the nation, and the world; this new program will help us expand the scope and diversity of our global outreach to top students. Their perspectives and cultures will enhance the academic and social experience for all of us in the KU community.”
KU is partnering with Shorelight Education on the KUAAP. The partnership will combine the strengths of Shorelight, including its existing international presence and expertise in dealing with international students, with KU’s academic and student service programs. KU and Shorelight expect the first class of students in the KUAAP for the fall 2014 semester to be smaller than in future semesters. The program is expected to expand over the coming years possibly doubling the number of international students on campus.
“Shorelight is excited to be working with KU and their leading academic and student services programs,” said Tom Dretler, CEO and co-founder of Shorelight Education. “We are looking forward to expanding KU’s international reach and providing new opportunities for students from around the world.”
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has created the academic curriculum for the KUAAP in consultation with Shorelight, with courses in math, American studies, communication studies, social and natural studies, humanities and western civilization, and English. In addition, students will participate in supplemental academic, cultural, and community activities. Students will also complete a learning or research project over the course of the year, culminating with a capstone experience or project.
For KU International Programs, the KUAAP will be a third option for international students enrolling as undergraduates, who may also be admitted as freshmen or may enroll in the Applied English Center.