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Wofford to be hotbed of activity this summer

Panther Camp
2008-05-30

Thousands to attend camps, programs on campus

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Come onto Wofford’s campus at any given time this summer, and if you didn’t look closely, you might think it’s a regular academic semester.  With literally thousands of people attending athletics camps, writing programs, a variety of special programs, and yes, even summer school, the campus is a veritable hotbed of activity.

For summer school (June 2-July 4 and July 7-Aug.8), Wofford is taking advantage of its assets to keep its students more connected with the college and to engage new students with the campus through exciting, intellectually stimulating offerings, says Dr. David S. Wood, dean of the college.

“It’s imperative for American higher education to more effectively utilize the human and physical capital it has,” Wood says.  “That’s what we’re doing.  It’s important that students realize that there’s an opportunity at their age to fill in the gaps and to add value to their undergraduate experience in summer school.  They can take courses they never would have taken otherwise, enriching what they already have experienced.  They can spend their time in the summer in an intellectually stimulating environment.”

The college has created an enticing array of course offerings this summer, including “Reading and Writing the River,” a special eight-day English course taught by professor John Lane that gives students a chance to travel throughout the Upstate to examine its beautiful rivers through the eyes of nature writers William Bartram, Ron Rash, Thorpe Mackel, Janesse Ray, Lane and others.  In addition, students have the option of living in Wofford’s award-winning Village apartments – a nice change from regular dormitory life.

“We have a better product,” Wood says.  “We encouraged our faculty to stretch and come up with more and better choices of courses.”

The offerings and even the enticing housing option alone cannot be given credit for the 22 percent increase in registrations over last year, Wood says, with some 300 taking courses this summer.  “We chose to use some innovative marketing of summer school – namely Facebook, the ‘ultimate’ in target marketing for this audience.”  In addition, summer school has been promoted through traditional newspaper advertising, “sleuths on the ground” (students who will attend summer school quietly encouraging their peers to attend as well) and other means.

In its third year, Wofford’s Community of Scholars, an interdisciplinary program in which 20 undergraduates conduct research alongside their professors and mentors, provides innovative opportunities to enhance the learning process as well.  “Anything that continues to help students grow, learn and prepare for the 21st century globally in this knowledge-based economy is important,” Wood says.  “Expanding their knowledge is really important, and that’s what we’re trying to do – provide opportunities for Wofford’s students and others in the region.”

Shared Worlds (July 20-Aug. 2), a pilot project for a dozen or more students to campus, is an interdisciplinary creative writing program that encourages students to solve problems, to assimilate large quantities of information, to work in groups, and to express themselves creatively.  The two-week residential camp is taught by Wofford professors as well as visiting writers.  During the program, students design fantasy worlds with other young, creative writers and share those worlds through fiction, art, and game design.  (For more information, go to http://sharedworlds.wofford.edu.)

The Hub City Writers Project’s “Writing in Place” Conference (Aug. 1-3) brings 72 students – from beginners to professionals – to campus.  Tommy Hayes, author of the novel “The Pleasure Was Mine,” is the keynote speaker and a two-day class in screenwriting was added, in addition to fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.  (For more, go to http://www.hubcity.org/events-and-readings/registration-opens-for-2008-writing-in-place.html.)

Other summer programs being held on Wofford’s campus this year include:

Soccer Coaching Academy (June 2-8) – Presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, this program draws more than 100 soccer coaches from around the country and internationally to learn how to be better coaches.

Citizen Scholars Program (June 3-6) – Presented in partnership with the Spartanburg County Foundation, this program for 45 high school students is designed to aid Spartanburg County students who have exhibited academic potential and a strong desire to further their education.

Liberty Fellowship “Promise of Leadership” Seminar for the Class of 2008 (June 6-9) – The fourth and final seminar for participants in the two-year leadership program in which they explore the broad implications of professional decisions they face each day; reviewing their community projects; evaluating their experiences in the program; and laying the groundwork for continuing interaction after the formal program is concluded.  These are 20 of the state’s most promising young leaders.

Milliken Summer Leadership Institute (June 21-28) – 50 selected rising high-school seniors from the Southeast are exposed to a combination of corporate and academic experiences, providing them with leadership and team development skills they would not normally receive through traditional classroom education.  The Institute is held on the campuses of Milliken & Co.’s Milliken University and Wofford.

Carolina Panther Summer Training Camp (July 25 through mid- to late August) – The NFL’s Carolina Panthers hold their 14th annual summer training camp at Wofford, owner Jerry Richardson’s alma mater.  The camp attracts thousands of visitors to campus and the Spartanburg community each year.

Athletics camps (All summer) – More than 2,000 youngsters are attending sports campus presented by Wofford coaches for a variety of sports, including volleyball, football, tennis, basketball and soccer.  Volleyball camps alone attracts some 700 participants; football is close behind with about 600.