Statement of Curriculum
Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars Program is predicated upon the belief that one of the Commonwealth’s greatest resources is its academically talented young people. Consequently, a five-week summer program for over 1,000 of Kentucky’s brightest rising high school seniors will be conducted this summer on three college campuses: Bellarmine University in Louisville, Morehead State University in Morehead, and Murray State University in Murray.
The emphasis of the Governor’s Scholars Program is on the students’ development of critical thinking, adaptability, creativity, widened horizons, future-orientation, and constructive responses to the ambiguities of life. The curriculum of the Governor’s Scholars Program has been built with the recognition that talented students have a wide variety of interests and concerns. The curriculum provides opportunities to develop both general and specific intellectual skills and talents through student participation in the following:
The curriculum for the Governor’s Scholars Program is composed of three levels. All students will be participants in courses or seminars at each level. In addition, a computer laboratory, a speaker and concert series, field trips, and weekend events will provide enrichment to the basic curriculum.
Students choose one course from among a variety of interest areas, which allow a student to pursue a topic in-depth as a member of a small group. Focus Areas meet daily, Monday through Friday, for a minimum of twelve hours per week. Emphasis will be placed on individual and/or group projects, the development of ideas within the particular discipline, identification of significant themes, and on the interrelatedness of the discipline to other content areas. Class size will vary from 17-19 students.
The Focus Areas are not designed to prepare students for any high school or college course or to score higher on the ACT or SAT. The GSP Focus Area courses are meant to provide broad, interdisciplinary intellectual exposure and enrichment, rather than narrow, disciplinary training. Students are encouraged to try a Focus Area in which they have little prior experience.
Content descriptions are as follows:
AGRIBUSINESS & BIOTECHNOLOGY: The course explores the diverse components of agriculture and emphasizes the contemporary methods and technology -including biotechnology- that are applied to this traditional field of studies in its new age of development.
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN: This course features orientation to the historical perspectives of design from an architectural point of view, focusing on such aspects as landscape, interior, and historic preservation.
ASTRONOMY: This course provides a hands-on introduction to theoretical and observational astronomy. It combines late night observing sessions with regular classroom experiences. The course emphasizes the techniques of science and how they apply to the discipline of astronomy.
BIOLOGICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: This course stresses contemporary issues in and interrelationships between the various biological sciences. It may include some work in the laboratory and field. Classes may focus on environmental issues that concentrate on one or more of the following areas: medical field, toxicology, and social policy.
BUSINESS, ACCOUNTING & ENTREPRENEURSHIP: This course explores a wide-range of the economic forces and systems that have shaped and will impact societies, individuals, and bring about change. It will include exposure to real situations in the business world as well as introductory accounting techniques.
COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL THEORY: (Media, Sociology, Gender Studies, etc.) This course explores social and communication systems, considering them as forces that affect nations and individuals.
CREATIVE WRITING & LITERARY STUDIES: This course emphasizes the tactics and strategies in written texts – including those the Scholars write – and the human values those texts articulate.
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: In this course students study various societies and cultures, including sub-cultures within our own culture, and differentiate universal aspects of human behavior from those that are culturally determined. It may also include archaeological activities.
DRAMATIC EXPRESSION: This course explores creative expression through both practice and theoretical study of the dramatic arts. Students may be exposed to the various aspects of the art form including movement, literature, history, performance, and technical elements.
ENGINEERING: This course is an orientation to the historical and ethical perspective of engineering. It demonstrates the application of mathematics and science to the solution of “real-world” problems, and helps scholars understand the role of the engineer in today’s world.
FILM STUDIES: This course explores the history and development of film, emphasizing techniques used to produce a movie, as well as perspectives to read and interpret film.
HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY: This course will focus on the various fields of study that deal with issues related to health from a broad range of perspectives, e.g. medicine, insurance, disabilities, physical therapy, etc.
HISTORICAL ANALYSIS: This course stresses concepts and movements – cultural, social and intellectual – rather than historical “facts.”
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: This course focuses on the importance of seeing the world from a global perspective with emphasis on the relationships among nations and cultures.
JOURNALISM & MASS MEDIA: This course will introduce students to the forms of mass communication that permeate our culture. Emphasis will be placed on media networks and their interactions with today’s society.
MODES OF MATHEMATICAL THINKING: This course explores some of the more exciting, less traditional mathematics, rather than focusing on the acquisition of new or specific skills. It emphasizes interrelationships of mathematical ideas and creative problem-solving and applications.
MUSICAL THEORY & PERFORMANCE: This course explores various aspects of creative expression through both practice and theoretical study of music. Students may be exposed to various components of the art form including history, performance, and theory.
PHILOSOPHY: This course emphasizes the history of ideas, the process of logic, and the influence of ethics and aesthetics on the individual and society.
PHYSICAL SCIENCE (Chemistry, Geology, Physics): This course emphasizes the interrelatedness of such traditional areas as physics and chemistry to one another and to wider intellectual and social concerns.
POLITICAL & LEGAL ISSUES: Students in this course study various political and legal systems and forces that impact societies, individuals, and bring about change.
PSYCHOLOGY & BEHAVIORAL STUDIES: This course stresses the psychological processes individuals share that lead to difference and conflict between peoples.
SPANISH LANGUAGE & CULTURE: This course offers intensive exposure to Spanish as a foreign language and to the Hispanic culture. Students should have studied the language for at least one school year.
VISUAL ARTS: This course explores various aspects of creative expression through both practice and theoretical study of the visual arts. Students are exposed to various mediums that may include but are not limited to painting, ceramics, glass, plaster, mosaics, photography, and drawing.
General Studies classes emphasize creative thinking, problem solving, service learning, and community service through civic engagement. Each scholar is assigned to a General Studies group, which meets about six to eight hours a week. In the past, these classes were assigned randomly with students whose major area in the sciences or mathematics being assigned a general studies group led by an instructor in the humanities or social sciences, and vice versa. More recently, the Governor's Scholars Program has begun to address through General Studies the part of its mission that calls for enhancing Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leadership.
In order to fully experience the living-learning environment of the Governor's Scholars Program, students are encouraged to try a General Studies class that has a different approach to learning than their focus area. Our philosophy is based on the idea that scientists should appreciate the humanities, and humanists should understand the importance of science and technology in our world.
Students will be encouraged and guided to develop leadership skills through the general studies classes.
As a natural outgrowth of a program that nurtures self-confidence and personal responsibility, an interest in community service emerges. Scholars will receive guidance at GSP in planning for their future school or community service involvement. Service Learning through community projects is part of the “General Studies” class. The service learning component will help students develop their leadership skills.
Governor's Scholars Seminar
Each student will participate in a discussion group concerned with issues and problems of interest to the group and the lives of students in contemporary society. These groups meet twice weekly for a total of three hours. Topics such as interpersonal communication, family and peer relationships, college choice and the responsibilities of academically talented students to society will be among issues to be considered for discussion.
The academic curriculum will be supplemented by a rich, diverse range of recreational opportunities, cultural and artistic events, outstanding field experiences, and distinguished convocation speakers and classroom guests. Sufficient free time is available for reading, socializing, and independent creative endeavors. Faculty members and resident advisors participate in co-curricular enrichment activities with students.
The program offers a unique opportunity for outstanding students to work with each other and with an exceptional faculty to build a community of Scholars and to experience the internal rewards of learning in an atmosphere that encourages intellectual growth, free from concerns about grades or credits.