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Academic Accelerator Program names interim director

Thu, 06/19/2014

LAWRENCE — The new Academic Accelerator Program at the University of Kansas will provide first-year international students a mix of academic and cultural courses to assist in their transition to the KU and Lawrence community. To lead the development of the academic program, KU has called on Antha Cotten-Spreckelmeyer, a longtime leader in the Humanities and Western Civilization Program.

Cotten-Spreckelmeyer will serve as the KUAAP’s interim academic director during the program’s first year. Sara Rosen, senior vice provost for academic affairs, said Cotten-Spreckelmeyer’s career in Western civilization and long commitment to study abroad at KU made her an excellent choice to establish KU’s distinctive new program.

“Antha’s long commitment to exposing KU students to the great works of Western civilization provides the perfect foundation for the KUAAP. She understands the transition to a new country is about exposure, not just about academic requirements. She will make sure the program we establish at KU provides the challenge students expect from a top-tier research institution while also allowing students to acculturate themselves to the KU and Lawrence communities.”

As academic director, Cotten-Spreckelmeyer will work with academic units, the Applied English Center and KU’s partner in the KUAAP, Shorelight Education, to create an effective student program in English for academics, tutorials and progression through the 12-month program. She will have oversight of both the academic curriculum and the English language program.

Cotten-Spreckelmeyer joined the faculty of the Department of English in 1988. She was named assistant director of Humanities and Western Civilization in 1995 and associate director in 2002. She served as acting director in 2013.

“I love the energy and enthusiasm of first-year students, and I think KU’s involvement in international education places it first among peers in global learning,” said Cotten-Spreckelmeyer. “We have a great team of educators and opportunities prepared for our first semester of KUAAP, and I look forward to introducing students to the KU community, where I know they will have a well-rounded experience.”

She was named KU’s Outstanding Woman Educator in 2004 and was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000. She holds a master's degree in English from the University of California-Riverside and master's degree in library science from the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate in English from KU in 1987 and completed postdoctoral research at the National Library of Scotland from 1987-1988. 

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 pilot 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.

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 series of courses in Environmental Studies over the course of the year, culminating with a capstone experience or project.



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@KU bschool 's KIP team includes @KU _SADP students in all-ages housing project. http://t.co/c6Ss0FsWLL #KUworks http://t.co/FW0eI69uRi
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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