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ACS Athens: Collaboration with St Louis University

 ACS Athens, credibility and international reputation

By Steve Medeiros
Dean of the Institute for Innovation & Creativity

On Friday, November 9, Dr Stefanos Gialamas, ACS Athens President, and Dr Paul Vita, Dean of the Madrid campus of University of St Louis, representing the administration of St Louis University, signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the terms of a partnership between the two institutions that will result in enhanced learning and professional development opportunities for ACS Athens students and faculty. This partnership, executed as an initiative of the Institute for Innovation and Creativity at ACS Athens, is the latest and most expansive of the university partnerships that the IIC has developed in its six-year history. (See box.)

Saint Louis University is a private, co-educational Jesuit university located in St Louis, Missouri, and is ranked among the top research universities in the United States. Founded in 1818, SLU is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River. ACS Athens and SLU make fitting partners becasue of the two institutions’ shared commitment to promoting and fostering academic excellence; free, active and original inquiry; innovative, creative and critical thought; service to humanity; ethical citizenship; and living with ethos.

The partnership agreement envisions collaboration between the two schools in five areas:

* Summer Leadership Discovery Institute for ACS Athens students
* SLU International Advanced University Credit Program at ACS Athens
* ACS Athens/SLU Visiting Scholars’ Program
* ACS Athens/SLU Teaching Intern Program
* ACS Athens/SLU Research Partners’ Program

Work is currently under way to design an exciting university learning experience for qualified ACS Athens students during the summer of 2013. Drawing on SLU’s unrivaled programs in aviation, communications and service learning, the SLU/ACS Athens Summer Leadership Discovery Institute will challenge students to clarify their concepts of leadership and develop their own leadership potential as they study the basics of flight, learn to make a movie, participate in SLU-run service projects and interact with leaders from a wide range of endeavor. The multidisciplinary program – which will involve one month of online learning and three days of seminars in the Greek capital led by ACS Athens faculty in preparation for two weeks of study on the SLU campus in St Louis – is designed to challenge students to complete university-level study and to make meaningful connections among the various strands of the program in an active, hands-on, minds-on experience. The program will also offer students the opportunity to experience US university life firsthand (in a program designed specifically for them) and to provide them with a close-up look at American life and culture: including baseball, Broadway shows, summer fairs and Fourth of July fireworks too.

Within the framework of the International Advanced University Credit Program, ACS Athens students may have the opportunity to enroll in SLU courses, taught by ACS Athens faculty in Athens, for university credit. ACS Athens faculty, designated Fellows of the IIC and chosen to participate in the Visiting Scholars’ Program, will spend 1-2 weeks on the SLU campus, taking advantage of all of the intellectual opportunities the campus affords. They may attend lectures, classes and labs, make use of research resources and museum collections, participate in service learning projects, and interact with university faculty and students working in their fields. They will also have the opportunity to share their expertise in seminars and other formal or informal presentations with SLU Education students in training to become teachers. Two SLU faculty, Dr Diana Pascoe, Director of ESL in the College of Arts and Sciences, and her departmental colleague Dr Larry Schmidt will visit ACS Athens as featured presenters at the Eighth Annual Conference on Learning Differences. ACS Athens has also committed to developing an 8-12 week teaching internship/study abroad program on the ACS Athens campus for SLU students preparing to enter teaching careers. The Research Partners’ Program envisions ACS Athens faculty working in concert with SLU faculty and graduate students to conduct educational research on the ACS Athens campus that addresses significant questions about the teaching-learning process that will help us to improve and enhance student learning.

Why does such a collaboration matter for ACS Athens students and faculty? In his address to the Academy faculty and student body preceeding the signing of the memorandum of understanding, Mr Steve Medeiros, IIC Dean, noted that such a partnership between ACS Athens and a nationally ranked US university is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides for innovative university-level learning opportunities for ACS Athens students. The programs also provide innovative professional development opportunities for ACS Athens faculty. At the same time, the agreement recognizes the academic achievement and potential of ACS Athens students as well as the excellence and expertise of the school’s teaching faculty. The partnership also speaks – in no small way – to ACS Athens’ institutional credibility and international reputation, which follow our students as they apply for admission to colleges and universities in the US and around the world.


IIC – A History of University Partnerships

North American Colleges and Universities

2006-2008 Tufts University, Williams College, York University (Athens Summer Institute: “Promoting Ctitical and Creative Thinking”)
2008 Boston University (Summer Professional Leadership Institute)
2009-2011 University of Richmond (Summer Leadership Institute)
2009-2012 University of Winnipeg (Summer Teacher Professional Development Institute; ACS Athens Teaching Intern Program)
2010 University of Mary Washington (Articulation Agreement)
2011 Pepperdine University (Articulation Agreement)
2010-2012 University of Northern Iowa (ACS Athens Teaching Intern Program)
2012 St Louis University

Local Universities

2009-2012 University of Indianapolis (Professional Development Program)
2011-2012 AKTO Art and Design (Portfolio Development program for ACS Athens students)
2011-2012 Athens Information Technology (Robotics/Computer Programming courses for ACS Athens students)
2012 Hellenic American University (University music classes for ACS Athens students)

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