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.