A new grant gives high school students opportunities to explore the humanities at Miami beginning summer 2021.
A new grant gives high school students opportunities to explore the humanities at Miami beginning summer 2021. Photo: Scott Kissell

$290,000 grant supports Student Citizens summer program for underserved high school students

Miami University has been awarded $290,000 over three years from the Teagle Foundation to engage underrepresented high school students during rigorous two-week humanities summer seminars.

The goal is to dramatically improve college readiness and graduation rates, while cultivating students’ interest in humanities-related fields and civic engagement. The grant comes through the Teagle Foundation’s Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative.

Rising seniors from Southwest Ohio will live on Miami’s Oxford campus, experiencing college life while exploring classic texts and enduring questions: “What does it mean to be a good citizen? What should we expect our community to give us, and what should we give back?”

“This program will give students space, time and help to debate, read and write about these questions,” said program director Steven Conn, W. E. Smith Professor of History. The program will prepare students with the critical thinking abilities, communication skills and confidence to pursue their college aspirations.

The Student Citizen program will enroll 15 students for a two-week program for each of the first two years, then 30 students for a two-week program the third year, with follow-up visits and support during the school year.

Students will participate in seminars, one-on-one mentoring, peer feedback, and opportunities to practice specific critical thinking and writing skills, in addition to recreational activities.

The program is co-sponsored by Miami’s Humanities Center and College of Arts and Science. Miami’s Howe Center for Writing Excellence will work with students, and the office of admission will help recruit and host the students on campus.

“This project is a great fit with Miami’s strong liberal arts program and our focus on undergraduate teaching. We’re excited to learn with these high schoolers from around the region,” said Renée Baernstein, senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Science.

Some of Miami’s top humanities faculty will lead the seminars and activities. Current Miami students will be mentors and coaches through the college application process over the year following the workshop.

The first cohort of students will be at Miami in July 2021.

The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, acting as a catalyst for improvements in teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. The Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative supports access to and success in liberal arts education, particularly for students from underserved backgrounds who might not ordinarily attempt a rigorous liberal arts program.

A well-rounded liberal arts foundation is a hallmark of the Miami Experience for undergraduates. Miami consistently ranks among the top public universities in the nation for the quality of academic programs, for faculty commitment to students and for experiences that lead to student success